Much-loved organist and choirmaster in Harborough set to retire at the weekend after chalking up a staggering 40 years

David Johnson will play the organ for the last time at the historic Anglican church on the town’s High Street at the 6pm service on Sunday evening (January 16)

Monday, 10th January 2022, 11:42 am
Updated Monday, 10th January 2022, 11:44 am
Much-loved organist and choirmaster David Johnson is poised to retire at the weekend after chalking up a staggering 40 years.

The much-loved organist and choirmaster at St Dionysius Church in Market Harborough is poised to retire at the weekend after chalking up a staggering 40 years.

Inspirational David Johnson will play the organ for the last time at the historic Anglican church on the town’s High Street at the 6pm service on Sunday evening (January 16).

The longest-serving organist in the medieval church’s proud 800-year history, David has played an “astonishing” starring role in over 20,000 pieces of music since he started out way back in 1981.

The Rev Barry Hill, the church’s team rector in Market Harborough, told the Harborough Mail today: "This Sunday we give thanks for David’s ministry for over 40 years as choirmaster and organist at St Di’s.

“As the longest-serving organist in St Di’s history, David has played for, practised and led others in worship in over 20,000 pieces of music - at services, weddings, funerals, baptisms, concerts, civic occasions and much more.

“This is an astonishing feat.

“But even more it is an act of faithful service, spurred on by God’s faithfulness to us.”

Barry added: “All are welcome at 6pm this Sunday evening as we are joined by the choir, clergy and Dean of Leicester Cathedral to give thanks for such faithfulness and pray for God’s blessing on David’s well-earned retirement and for Barbara (his wife) in all her support of David alongside much service in her own right."

David’s wife Barbara, who’s also a devoted churchgoer and Harborough district councillor, told the Mail: “We are hoping that those who haven’t already heard about this event will come along to show their support and thanks to David for his many years of commitment and dedicated service to the life of the parish church in Market Harborough.”

David has served six vicars, several curates and worked alongside countless choir members and parishioners – playing millions of notes and chords across over four decades.

Choir member Gordon Birch shared some heartfelt memories of his years spent with David as he offered thanks on behalf of the choir at a special event at St Dionysius to mark his 40th anniversary last September.

A picture montage was shown and letters from the Bishop of Leicester and cards from the church and choir as well as gifts were given to thrilled David and proud Barbara.

The Rev James Pickersgill, who was then the vicar at St Dionysius Church, said at the time: “We join in giving thanks to God for David for his many excellent years of dedicated service to both the church and our community here in Market Harborough.”