Tayside Organists' Society

News / Events

John Calderhead – an appreciation


John Calderhead, a long-standing and respected member of Tayside Organists’ Society, died on 1st April 2021.  He had moved to Tayside from Stirlingshire, having previously been principal teacher of music at Denny High School after living for a time in Hong Kong.  He joined the staff of Dundee College of Education as a senior lecturer when it began to issue qualifications in music to students aspiring to become music teachers in secondary schools.  He was subsequently appointed principal lecturer in charge of the music department.  He founded and conducted the college’s Choral Society, which gave public performances.  Their Christmas concerts in St Paul’s Nethergate were always well supported.  He, along with colleagues, also gave evening music appreciation lectures at the college.  He had a large number of music degrees, diplomas and qualifications including Fellowship of the Royal College of Organists and it is said that he much loved playing modern organ music.  At various times he was organist at the High Kirk of Dundee, St Aidan’s Church, Broughty Ferry, Brechin Cathedral and Barnhill St Margaret’s Church.  He held the office of President of the Scottish Federation of Organists in the late 1960s.  Along with the late Ron Turbyne, John also ran the Dundee Presbytery Organists’ Training Scheme.  He held the post of Dundee City Organist, presiding over the magnificent concert organ in the Caird Hall from 1970 to 1991.  A member of Tayside Organists’ Society for over 60 years and a past President of the Society, he contributed to meetings on a number of occasions and his “Name that Tune” quizzes of skilfully interwoven disguised melodies are legendary.  His presence at Society events will be much missed.
 Our member Jim McKellican knew John well and shares the following – “John Calderhead and I met in 1970 when we both lectured at the College of Education in Dundee.  That is the same year he was appointed Dundee City Organist in succession to James Hinchliffe the original holder of the post from 1927.  We remained friends since then, our children going to school together.  I used to do some deputy work for him when he was at St. Aidan’s Church in Broughty Ferry and it was also in the early 1970s that he took me to the Caird Hall to have a ‘shot’ at the organ.  John and Beryl were a delightful couple and a joy to know”.                                                 _______________________________________________

Due to Covid-19 restrictions we are at present unable to plan live events.  Our Annual General Meeting will be held online on Tuesday 18th May 2021 at 7 p.m.


Details of events elsewhere in the country can be found via these links.

Scottish Federation of Organists