Guildhall 1953

Special Praise Service by
Strand Organist Mr Noel Miller c1967

Prize Winners
at Londonderry Feis

Choir 1998

Prize Winners
at Coleraine Musical Festival

Linday Kennedy - Organist 1998

MUSIC AND WORSHIP IN STRAND (at the time of the 1998 Exhibition)

The church choir to-day, under the leadership of the organist, Miss Linda Kennedy carries on a long tradition of dedicated choirs and organists who have inspired the congregations worshipping in Strand.

In 1908, the minutes of a meeting of the Kirk Session recorded the receipt of a Memorial signed by 227 members of the congregation asking the Session "to introduce a suitable instrument of music to be used in the praise service of the congregation. About 20 members of the congregation disagreed with the Memorial.

The Session approved the request without delay. 

A month later, in December 1908 a new pipe organ was purchased for £138. Subscriptions from the congregation towards the cost of the organ, totalled £147. 
The Session approved the introduction of The Church Hymnary at this time also. It was to be used in conjunction with the Psalter and not in any way to supercede the Psalter in the praise service.

The first organist and choirmaster was Mr A.J.Cunningham at a salary of £50 per annum. 

The next organist, Miss Gransden, was assisted by a choirmaster, Mr Stewart. 

The record of organists is incomplete, but in the Forties Mr Donald Baker was the organist succeeded by Mr Herbert Carruthers.

Three musicians who each, in their time contributed much to the musical life of the city as well as being dedicated organists and leaders of the choirs in Strand were Miss Winifred Thompson, Mr Reginald McCay and Mr Noel Miller.

After Mr Noel Miller resigned, Mr Jim McCarter was temporarily in charge of the music in Strand until Mr Ken Groves, a member of the congregation volunteered to take on the responsibility in an Honorary capacity. Over twenty years, Mr Groves continued in his voluntary service of the congregation with additional programmes of music for Harvest and Christmas services, carrying on the great tradition of music which has always been an inspiration to all who worship in Strand and much appreciated by the congregation.

After the retirement of Mr Groves, Miss Serena Creighton acted as organist while still a student. Two years later she left the city to study for a Music Degree.

In October 1993 the present organist, Miss Linda Kennedy was appointed.

Like her predecessors, Linda leads the choir in dedicated service to enrich the Sunday worship in Strand and provide special music for Harvest, Christmas and Remembrance Services.

A feature of the organist's church year now is the link with the Sunday School in planning the special services involving the Children's choirs. The re-location of the church members from the City adds difficulty to weekday practices, but with Sunday attendance relied upon, the high standard of the children's performance is a credit to the Sunday School superintendent and his teachers.

In June this year the Kirk Session Approved the purchase of copies of "Mission Praise" to be placed in the pews as supplementary to the Church Hymnary. Each Sunday the final hymn is now chosen from this new selection.