July 27, 2021

Scores of Scores

Murray Lennox Master Musician of Christchurch

He recently retired at age 80 years from long-service as Director of Music for All Souls Anglican Church (Merivale Christchurch), being the pinnacle appointment after a record of musical and leadership achievements and contributions since the age of 7 years. He continues now with a leadership role as deputy conductor of Lady Diana Isaac Retirement Village Choir.

Though 4 scores in age, he is still composing scores; for example, for a forthcoming choir concert (15 August 2021), he has composed the scores for two of the items.

He started as a solo treble at age 7 and has taken leading roles in major stage musicals in Gisborne and Christchurch, plus bass soloist in Bach’s St John Passion and Fauré’s “Requiem” and recorded solos with Radio New Zealand Concert Programme. He is still presenting solo programmes at age 80 in Lady Diana Isaac Retirement Village.

Murray has conducted massed Choirs for Youth For Christ Teen Conventions for three years, plus massed choirs for the Christchurch Community Choirs Festival for eight years, and the Christchurch Schools’ Music Festival for thirteen years.

He served as church organist and pianist at Te Hapara Baptist Church, Gisborne for ten years before moving to Christchurch.

After this he was Director of Music at Oxford Terrace Baptist Church for thirteen years, during which time he conducted several performances of “Amahl and the Night Visitors”, Handel’s “Messiah” and Fauré’s “Requiem”.

Subsequently he was appointed Director of Music at St Mary’s Anglican Church, Merivale (later renamed All Souls Anglican Church), where he served for eighteen years. During this time, he wrote “Requiem 9/11”, a full mass produced to honour the victims of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre, New York, and the London bombings shortly after. This has been performed both locally and nationally on a regular basis. He also wrote two major cantatas and one complete Choral Service setting of the Eucharist, which is usually sung on the second Sunday of the month at All Souls.

Murray has composed well over forty anthems and songs, both sacred and secular, some of which have been recorded internationally, and one which is currently in the curriculum of Trinity College, London.

He has been involved in at least ten Praise Be! recordings by TVNZ, six of which he conducted, including a recording of the 6000-strong schools’ event to raise funds for Child Cancer.

Recently he was especially blessed to present certificates to the first two choral scholars at All Souls. He was responsible for the establishment of a Choral Scholarship Fund, designed to support young singers who now augment what were hitherto the falling numbers in the Parish Choir.  The scholarships also gave them the opportunity to grow musically within a supportive environment. Kate and Emily Koller were the recipients.  They are also members of the Christchurch Girls’ High Choral as well as their involvement with All Souls Choir because they “liked the music”. The fund is open to any who wish to audition: He is sure his successor, Matthew Harris, would welcome any approaches from prospective candidates. Meantime for the Village choir which featured in Canterbury’s Music Sunday, he is called upon from time to time by the Village Manager to write words to be put to well-known melodies for special occasions – e.g. The Olympics, a song to acknowledge Village Carers, or the Gardening Team. He even did both words and music for the 2021 local Anzac Service.

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