A last ode to an outstanding maestro

Organist and choir master, Lennox McCarthy.

Lennox McCarthy was introduced to the parish of Christ the King Anglican Church in Rocklands in the early 1990s – a quiet, reserved young man presenting himself in an upright manner.

It was not what Lennox said but what his fingers could perform on the church organ. Lennox was an outstanding musician and could make all the keys speak in any given piece of music.

His was a special and gifted talent which enriched many congregations across the Cape Flats with the classics. Church music was his genre. He was faithfully following his mentor’s guidance, his mother, and produced church melodies which no doubt reached the portals of the heavenlies. He hailed from the outstanding music school of the New Apostolic Church in Albertina and became an asset to the Anglican Church.

Lennox was an outstanding music director and inspired many to want to be involved in church music. He had the ability to teach every voice in soprano, alto, tenor, bass. He conducted huge choirs and discovered solo voices. He opened learning clinics for young people wanting to learn to play a musical instrument.

Lennox had a very sensitive side to his personality and music was the way he brought healing to himself and others.

I had the privilege of working with him in Rocklands and Lotus River, St Augustine of Hippo. He arranged a music afternoon in Lotus River and got us to turn all the pews facing north, invited the New Apostolic Church choirs and bands from the area and brought in other musical giants. What a memorable occasion! It still gives goose bumps.

Lennox also had a jocular side – he could laugh out load and meaningfully.

The sudden news of his passing came as a shock to all who was touched by his life and talent. As the shock settled, the sharing about the meaning of his life spread. We sympathise with all his family, close friends and colleagues.

Hamba kahle Lennox, our dear brother and sincere friend, our maestro! Rest eternal in the arms of God! Sing alleluias with the heavenly choirs of angels! Until we meet again – The Venerable Reverend Canon Rodney Whiteman, former rector of Christ the King, currently serving the parish of St George the Martyr, Kuils River.

I met Lennox while serving at Christ the King in 2001. He was passionate about music and would bring sounds out of the organ that we often did not know existed.

He loved adding his own variations onto hymns and would regularly, in the middle of a hymn, simply branch off into a whole different direction. Congregations learnt very soon to accommodate these musical interludes. Some would refer to these interludes as Lennox’s embroidery work – where he added extra colour and frills to the music.

Yet, it was also during these moments that we experienced his true genius. He would occasionally dash between organ and piano, to highlight the different feel of the various pieces of music, but also, I suspected, to show off his musical prowess. He was perfectly at home with both instruments and congregations loved him for it.

Lennox was a respectful young man with the reserved demeanour of a “plattelandse hartsmens”. He was decent, courteous, helpful, kind and punctual. He had a naughty smile and would regularly regale with the funniest stories.

He loved a good party and had moments of drama when he would throw a fit, but would soon recover. Yes, like most of us; he had his flaws.

He was a man of music, specifically choral music. He delighted in the rousing sounds of a good anthem and the gentle repetition of an uplifting spiritual. His music would be raised to the heavens as he led all in giving glory to God.

It has been a blessing to have him play the organ, or piano at Eucharistic services, weddings, funerals and especially on Easter morning. Who can forget how he would lift our spirits and transport us to blessed heights when he led the congregation as they sang the Easter hymn, The Day of Resurrection. He will indeed be missed.

We believe that he has gone to be part of that eternal resurrection community to live in the presence of Jesus and receive the blessing of eternal rest, healing and life with Christ. Thank you Lennox, for the music – The Venerable Reverend Richard Martin, former rector of Christ the King and archdeacon of Mountain Bay in the False Bay Diocese.