Sunday 1 November 2020 was a very special day for St Chad’s Choir Chairman Philip Cotterill. It marked 50 years since he first sang in the choir at St Chad’s Cathedral.
To mark this special occasion Philip was presented with the diocesan award, Ubi Caritas, by Bishop David Evans at the end of the Thanksgiving Mass for Marriage.
Professor David Saint, Director of Music at St Chad’s Cathedral, paid tribute:
Philip, I’ve known you since before I moved to Birmingham. In fact, as you probably remember, I met you on Friday February 3rd, 1978 – the middle of the last century! – when you were a member of the panel which interviewed me for the job at St Chad’s. Whilst the details of your piercing and challenging questions have grown vague after all this time, I do have a vivid recollection of the conversation we had as you drove me back to New Street Station.
It’s a conversation which left me with the strongest impression of your passion for and commitment to the cathedral and its choir.
This impression was confirmed when I arrived in Birmingham and, over the years, you, Mary and your family provided great friendship, of course, but also the most tremendous support for me in my role here.
Today we’re marking 50 years of your singing in the cathedral choir. What an achievement! You’ve worked here even longer than I have – that’s saying something! But, Philip, you’ve contributed much, much more than that. You’re that rare thing: someone who not only has good ideas but who also sees them through. In management-speak, you’re both a plant and a completer/finisher!
I suppose the biggest projects we’ve worked on together have been choir trips to countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland and a particularly wonderful visit to Germany in 1984. You’ve also worked tirelessly at less high-profile tasks, too numerous to mention individually.
Nothing stands still and today’s cathedral choir and music department are very different entities from those you joined in 1970. Your role in their development – as a thinker, inspiration, mentor and man-of-action – has been pivotal.
Philip, for all this and much more, and both personally and on behalf of everyone here, I just want to offer our heartfelt and warmest thanks.