A very special celebration took place at the end of the Choral Eucharist in Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork on Sunday 16th February when presentations and speeches of thanks were made to former choir members and members of the Select Vestry Mr Edwin Vincent and Mr Bill Cavanagh.
Bill Cavanagh joined the choir in 1961 upon his arrival in Cork from Limerick (where he had been a chorister in St Mary’s Cathedral). Edwin Vincent joined the choir in 1963 upon what was supposed to be a temporary arrival to Cork from Dublin (where he had been a chorister in Christ Church Cathedral). Both were recruited by the then Organist and Master of the Choristers, Jock Horne, and went on to serve under Andrew Padmore, Colin Nichols and the present Director of Music, Malcolm Wisener.
Both Edwin and Bill served on the Select Vestry, Edwin since 1967 and Bill since during the time when Maurice Carey was Dean. Edwin went on to serve as Honorary Secretary for some 34 years and did much to assist in the administration of the Cathedral. Speaking at the presentation, the Dean of Cork, the Very Rev’d Nigel Dunne, said:
Edwin did more than many will ever know to ensure this holy place kept functioning and developing. It became clear to me from the first day of my arrival here that if I needed to know anything about this place, it was Edwin who would most likely know. From where a particular key might be hidden to the complexities of how the decision to restore the bells had been reached and what was going to be done, the catchphrase of my first few days and months here was always, ‘I don’t know, ask Edwin.’
Speaking of Bill Cavanagh’s contribution to the Vestry in various roles, including his role as assistant to the Treasurer, of his work as Stewardship Recorder, as Secretary of the Friends’ Committee and as a dedicated reader and intercessor at the daily Eucharist, all done with dedication and good humour, the Dean said:
Bill’s good humour is something I greatly treasure around here – from my first week here, I remember Bill coming up to me, introducing himself, and saying ‘ah sure you might find us a bit peculiar here, but don’t worry, you’ll get used it!’
Speaking on behalf of the choir, Mr Michael Sealy (Bass) paid tribute to both men. He spoke of Edwin Vincent’s famous ‘one-liners’ and Bill Cavanagh’s sense of wit and ability to tell stories. He described Edwin Vincent as ‘a highly trained musician with a huge knowledge of the church music repertoire who did tremendous work behind the scenes in assisting the Master of the Choristers as Librarian’ and Bill Cavanagh as ‘always giving a blessing to the Basses as they processed by him into the stalls. When the sermon was under way there would be a discreet cough from the adjacent aisle and a tube of fruit pastilles would be wafted under the twitch of a surplice to the waiting Bass line and the remainder would be returned via the Peace!’
The Director of Music, Malcolm Wisener paid tribute to both men, describing them as ‘professionals in the true sense of the word; in their reliability and punctuality, without which the choir could not function efficiently.’
Cathedral parishioners, choir, family and friends joined the two men for a celebratory lunch held in the Cathedral Centre on Dean Street after the Service.