Mel Jones tributes

Choir and congregation tributes to Mel Jones, Organist and Choirmaster at All Saints', January 1989-December 2013, who died 13th February 2017.

Received 13/2/17 from Valerie Foster, who attended Mary Cleaver's funeral on 9/2/17, when Mel played the organ at All Saints' for the last time:  

As visitors to the church, we attended Mary's funeral service last week and sat on the left of the church near the organ.  

I was drawn to the peace and devotion of the organist who appeared to be beautifully sensitive and humble.  

Shocked to learn of his passing, but as the website stated that he passed away after a short illness, I am incredibly touched by a servant heart that would serve Mary and her family at the funeral, while knowing how soon his own journey may take place.

May God bless those he loved and who he has gone ahead of.

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Received 13/2/17 from Charles Beadle - Mel played at Charles's mother Mary Cleaver's funeral:

I found my Mum's funeral service a real comfort to all of us, and 

Mel played so gloriously it felt we were touching heaven.

He used his gifting in music so generously, and I will  remember

him always with heartfelt thankfulness. I heard so many comments

about how beautiful the service was.

Mel's life here is perfectly complete and I pray that Glenise and the family

will experience the same "King of Love" comfort that we have known with Mary's

departure.

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Received 14/2/17, from Des and Jean Round. Des was a longstanding choir member at All Saints' , and friend of Mel:

When Mel Jones came to All Saints' in 1989 the choir was in much the same state as it is now. We had men on Sundays with additional lady members to fill in for special events, Christmas, Easter etc.

Soon after Mel arrived he set about two things with a great deal of enthusiasm: 

1. to update the organ facility and

2. to form a choir of boys and men good enough to sing at cathedral level.

Both of these tasks he achieved after much hard work.

The new digital organ is still going today and the choir reached a very high standard, up to cathedral level.

It was for me a very great pleasure to sing in a choir like that and it's thanks to Mel for getting the best out of both boys and men who performed beautifully at all these great venues especially the last one we sang at, Worcester Cathedral.

I for one will be eternally grateful for his contribution to our church music over the years. We have his recorded accompaniments to be played when necessary, so his music will never be lost to us.

On a more personal note I feel as though I have lost a very good friend, as does Jean. Our thoughts and prayers are with Glenise at this sad time. 

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Received 14/2/17 from The Anderson Family:

We were one of the first families that Mel approached on his arrival at All Saints'.  I distinctly remember him turning up on our doorstep one day in early January 1989, presumably having been advised of a number of potential recruits in the family!  He explained that he was the new organist and choirmaster and he was hoping to recruit some boys to join the men in the church choir.  With a little persuasion James, then aged 9, and Peter, aged 8, agreed to give it a try.  Tim joined a year later, and then Simon in 1992. Sarah too, became a member once girls were allowed in! They all achieved their red medals under the expert tutelage of Mr Jones!

During May 1990 the choir went on their first ‘visit’, successfully singing Evensong at Southwell Minster.  Mel was a hard taskmaster and perfectionist but the boys flourished in the choir enjoying many more cathedral trips over the years.  It was a pleasure to accompany them on these visits – they sang Evensong at many venues including Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucester, Lichfield, Coventry, Worcester and Chester Cathedrals. Nor can I forget all the music we experienced at All Saints beyond the usual Sunday services – Easter, Christmas, choral Evensongs, occasional organ recitals, and at the weddings of Megan & Pete and Emily & Simon.  I joined the Chamber Choir in 2001 and have loved being involved.

Of course, I can’t forget to mention his sublime talent at playing the organ. His skills on the keyboard were incomparable, his ability to improvise never failed to impress, even occasional medleys including such tunes as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, bringing on a little smile to those of us that noticed!

We have lost a good and gifted friend but will treasure those wonderful memories – thank you Mel! 

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Received 15/2/17, from Revd Canon Stephen Buckley, former Team Rector of Gornal and Sedgley Team Ministry: 

I was greatly saddened to hear of Mel’s unexpected death. His high standards of musicianship, together with his guidance of the choir, contributed greatly over many years to worship at All Saints’.

We were sorry to lose Mel in 2013, but his move to St John’s, Halesowen after his marriage to Glenise was for the best of reasons, and I know that Mel’s work there has been much appreciated.

All Saints’ continues to benefit from his inspired decision to replace an ageing tracker organ with a state-of-the-art computerised instrument, built to his specifications, which has been admired by visiting organists. 

Mel will be missed by his friends at All Saints’ and St John’s, and I offer my condolences to Glenise at this sad time.

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Received 25/2/17, from Tim Anderson. 

I was one of the choir boys that Mel recruited many years ago. I never really knew the full story behind the recruitment until I read my mom’s tribute.

Having also read the interview that the church did with Mel I must admit to feeling a certain nostalgia for those days we were all together; the men, the boys, and the uncompromising choirmaster.

A mixture of meticulous training, energetic conducting, and the occasional flying hymn book turned our small church choir into one worthy of cathedrals. In the end we all grew up and drifted apart.

We do still meet occasionally, and when we do we almost certainly talk about those days with a sense of pride.

I live in Hong Kong now, and as such will not be able to attend the funeral. So here I would like to say thank you to Mel for giving me such a wonderful experience to look back on and for contributing to the man I am today. Rest in peace Mr Jones.

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