An Appreciation – Malcolm Wisener

I have never encountered a time when Malcolm was not in control of things. From a quiet evensong to a Schubert mass, to shepherding the choir across Paris via the Metro from ‘digges’ to San Sulpice with ages ranging from 8 to 70 years. Tours were undertaken to several cathedrals across England and Wales as well as to cathedrals around Ireland. This year the choir sang a Choral evensong in Westminster Abbey.

He came to Saint Bartholomews, September 1986, at 24 years of age, after some years as Assistant Organist in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. Steadily, Malcolm built up our choir in quality and in numbers that few would have ever thought possible. He was endowed with an equal measure of a very talented organist, a superb choirmaster/teacher and had a full understanding and obvious love of the churches liturgy.

Over twenty one years he instilled in hundreds of boy choristers a love of church music and the discipline required for it’s performance that became part of their fuller education. Many parents would bear witness to the encouragement he will have given to some with a natural shyness or indeed with some minor behavioural problems.

In more recent years he embarked on the establishment of a girl’s choir. This in itself was a very brave move in what had been musically male dominated from the churches foundation. Malcolm of course achieved this and the success was exemplified when last year on Ascension Thursday the Girls Choir sang the Mozart in D Mass while three days later the Boys Choir sang the Schubert in G Mass at the respective Eucharists.

Saint Bartholomews loss is of course a fortunate gain for Saint Fin Barres Cathedral in Cork . On the retirement of another fine church musician and gentleman, Colin Nicholls, Malcolm takes over from October 1st. An extensive and glowing appreciation of Colin Nicholls appeared in the Irishman’s Diary in the ‘Irish Times’ some weeks ago.

We all in Saint Bartholomews thank Malcolm for his great achievements and countless kindnesses over the twenty-one years and wish him an equally fulfilling twenty-one years (and more) in St Fin Barres.

Bobby Barden