Charles Piper, Abbey Organist and Choirmaster between 1957 and 1980, has died at the age of 90 years, writes Michael Rowland
The funeral service, held recently at Salisbury Crematorium, was attended by a number of former Abbey choirmen. The service included extracts of Charles Piper playing the Walker organ as well as items recorded by the Abbey choir when he was organist at Romsey Abbey.
Charles Piper, who was a former Tenor Lay Clerk at Salisbury Cathedral, studied the organ under Dr Harold Rhodes and received the Limpus prize in the Associate Examination of the Royal College of Organists. On the occasion of his retirement from Romsey Abbey he also received the Royal School of Church Music Medal for exemplary service and work in church music. Charles Piper continued to live in Salisbury and covered over an estimated quarter of a million miles during his twenty-hree years to fulfil his duties at Romsey Abbey!
During his period of office he played many times before the Queen and other members of the Royal Family, as well as at the marriages of Lady Pamela Hicks and Lord and Lady Romsey and, more poignantly, the Memorial Service when Lord Mountbatten was laid to rest in Romsey Abbey. He was succeeded as Organist and Choirmaster of Romsey Abbey by Anthony Burns-Cox in 1980.