Saturday, February 27, 2016

Dr Ralph Morton RIP

A brief note on the web page of the Royal School of Church Music Australia announces the death of Dr Ralph Morton

His brother, Graeme, reports that he passed away very peacefully on February 20, surrounded by his family, just as his favourite anthem, Like as the Hart by Herbert Howells, was being played in the ICU.
Among the tributes, a message has been received from Andrew Reid, Director of the RSCM, who says:
“I am sad for your loss, and ours, but like you I rejoice in Ralph’s faith and in the Resurrection, and I am grateful to have known a man with no apparent ego who served others, the Church, the RSCM and his Lord so faithfully. Rarely has a person been so open to the good in so many different traditions within the Church, and that has been a great blessing to RSCM Australia.”
The funeral is to be held at 2pm on Wednesday 2 March at St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane

Ralph was also the Director of Music at the Cathedral of St Stephen here in Brisbane. The photo featured in this post was taken with Ralph at the keyboard of the Jubilee Organ in the Cathedral for the World Youth Day Diocesan gathering in 2008.It is the only photo I ever took of this remarkable organist and choir director.

I only knew Ralph by sight and we would exchange  smiles at major events when I carried my camera and he carried the music. Ralph's Anglican preference began to emerge as he settled into the Catholic culture of our Cathedral.I was amused and delighted when  he finally replaced the standard final hymn with an organ postlude.No one was sure whether to keep standing when the ministers left the Cathedral and hardly anyone knew when the piece would finish. 

Ralph  has left us with a great tradition of choral music fir for the Cathedral space. He has also left  a generation of young singers whom he guided, inspired and directed.In January 2016 he was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal School of Church Music. in recognition of his  tireless work in training generations of musicians and encouraging excellent standards of choral singing all over Australia over many years.

Cathedral of St Stephen Newsletter 28 February 2016: Dr Ralph Morton Following a very private battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, our Director of Music, sadly died last weekend. Ralph is remembered today at all the Masses. You are invited to join the choir for morning tea following the 10am Mass where we can share our memories of Ralph. Ralph’s funeral service will be held at St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Ann Street, Brisbane on Wednesday 2 March at 2.00pm. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Mark Coleridge at St Stephen’s on Friday 4 March @ 5.30pm. Refreshments will also be offered after this Mass. The Cathedral car park will be available on Friday. All are welcome. Please keep Ralph, his wife Cheryl and his family in your prayers

May the angels sing you home to paradise and my  the choirs of heaven welcome you with a jolly good SATB setting. 

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