Feast of Joseph Parry (February 19)   1 comment

Above:  Joseph Parry

Image in the Public Domain

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JOSEPH PARRY (MAY 21, 1841-FEBRUARY 17, 1903)

Welsh Congregationalist Organist and Composer

Joseph Parry comes to this, A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES:  AN ECUMENICAL CALENDAR OF SAINTS’ DAYS AND HOLY DAYS, via The Hymnal (1941), of the old Evangelical and Reformed Church, as well as his connection to David Evans (1874-1948).

Parry’s destiny, aided by others, was musical.  He, born in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, Wales, on May 21, 1841, was one of eight children of Daniel Parry and Elizabeth Richards Parry.  The family was Congregationalist.  Daniel worked in the iron industry.  Young Joseph joined his father in a puddling furnace while a child.  Daniel emigrated and settled in Danville, Pennsylvania, in 1853.  (Danville was home to a Welsh immigrant community.)  The following year, the rest of the family arrived.  They became involved in a local Congregationalist church.  Joseph went to work in a local puddling furnace.

However, Elizabeth nurtured her son’s musical interests.  With help from the family and community, our saint studied music during the 1860s.  Joseph also served as the organist and choirmaster at Mahoning Presbyterian Church, Danville.  In 1863, he entered a hymn tune into the Eisteddfod at Swansea, Wales.  For this tune he won a musical education fund.

While living in Danville, Parry married Jane Thomas (1844-1918), of Welsh extraction.  The couple had three sons and two daughters.  Two of the sons died in Wales, before their father did.

Parry, who had visited Wales while residing in Danville, returned to the British Isles, to live, in 1868.  He graduated from Cambridge with his Mus.B. degree three years later.  He, a fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, was Professor of Music at University College, Aberystwyth (1874-1881).  In 1878, he received his Mus.D. degree from Cambridge.  Parry left for Swansea in 1881.  There he founded a school of music.  Seven years later, our saint left Swansea to join the faculty of University College of South Wales, Cardiff.  He remained there until 1903.  While Parry lived in Wales, he visited the United States on musical business from time to time.

Parry was also an important composer.  He wrote three oratorios (including Saul of Tarsus, 1892), eight operas (including Blodwen, 1878, the first Welsh opera), eleven cantatas (including The Prodigal Son and Nebuchadnezzar), orchestral works, piano pieces, anthems, choruses, hundreds of songs, and hymn tunes.

Parry’s most famous hymn tune may be ABERYSTWYTH, for “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.”

Parry, aged 61 years, died in Cardiff, Penarth, Wales, on February 17, 1903.  David Evans (1874-1948) took our saint’s place on the faculty of University College, Wales.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 18, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILDA OF WHITBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBESS

THE FEAST OF ARTHUR TOZER RUSSELL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ISABEL ALICE HARTLEY CRAWFORD, BAPTIST MISSIONARY TO THE KIOWA NATION

THE FEAST OF JANE ELIZA(BETH) LEESON, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Joseph Parry and all those

who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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One response to “Feast of Joseph Parry (February 19)

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  1. Pingback: Feast of David Evans (February 6) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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