James Govenlock (1918-1984)

He was brought up in Adelaide as a Methodist and his first musical post, as a teenager, was organist of Wesley Church, Norwood. Later he became an Anglican and played at Christ Church, North Adelaide. He obtained a degree in music at the University of Adelaide, did war service with the army in Melbourne, where he was received into the Catholic Church, and after the war, with a scholarship, studied at the Royal College of Music in London. He won the prestigious Limpus Prize from the Royal College of Organists. In 1949 he succeeded his mentor Harold Wylde as organist and choirmaster of the cathedral and maintained an excellent choral standard. In 1968 he was appointed to a lectureship in music at the University of Adelaide.

For over thirty years Govenlock was a significant figure in the musical life of Adelaide as a teacher and examiner. In 1963 he founded the Corinthian Singers. In 1977, for services to church music, he was made a papal Knight of St Gregory the Great. Sadly he died soon after his retirement from the university. He was remembered with affection by many as a superb organist, as a conductor, composer and teacher, and as a lively companion.

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