Minister’s retirement trepidation soothed by choral treat

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A musical blast from the past provided a special treat for Reverend Dr Roderick Campbell as he prepares for his retirement at the end of July.

The minister of Glenaray and Inveraray Parish Church for the past four years, Reverend Campbell welcomed a choir from one of his previous charges to mark the occasion and offer stunning musical entertainment to a sizeable audience.

Reverend Campbell was minister of St Andrew’s and St George’s in Edinburgh from 2003, and the church choir, led by director Brigitte Harris, travelled to the Royal Burgh to fill the parish church on Saturday June 29 with melody and passion.

Performing a programme entitled ‘Songs of Love and Longing’ the 16-strong choir sang everything from 16th century religious pieces to barbershop songs, spirituals and Scots folk songs.

Rev Roderick and Mrs Sue Campbell plan to stay in Argyll
Rev Roderick and Mrs Sue Campbell plan to stay in Argyll

Speaking afterwards, Reverend Campbell said: ‘Wasn’t that performance fantastic. So powerful and with some real intricacy.’

At the age of 75, he admits to looking ahead to retirement with a little apprehension.

‘I left home in Arbroath in 1961 when I was 17, and I have never been without work for a day in my life,’ he said.

‘Work imposes a certain discipline, and not to have that is going to be interesting.’

He has strong connections with the British Army, and explained: ‘I started with the army and moved to the Parachute Regiment TA. I moved on to the chaplain’s department and was with them for 30 years, so I’ve had this parallel career with the army.’

He added: ‘I’ve loved being involved with the army – it keeps your feet on the ground. You are speaking with men with no connection to the church, but they ask those little probing questions.’

Reverend Campbell and his wife Sue have appreciated their time in Inveraray, and such is their bond with the area that they plan to stay in Argyll.

‘We’ve loved it, and I am sorry that it’s coming to an end,’ he said.

‘Sometimes, though,’ he joked, ‘you are better to leave on a high than on a low.’