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Old 22-02-21, 12:11 AM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Remembering Lucian A. Nethsingha (1936 - 2021) - By Yohesan Casie Chetty

Remembering Lucian A. Nethsingha (1936 - 2021) - By Yohesan Casie Chetty

REMEMBERING LUCIAN A. NETHSINGHA (1936 - 2021) - Newsroom - S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia, Old Boys' Association


REMEMBERING LUCIAN A. NETHSINGHA (1936 - 2021)
Posted on 21st Feb, 2021

(This tribute was written by Mr Yohesan Casie Chetty)

Lucian left Sri Lanka, the land of his birth, to return to his home in Cambridge, England on 12 February 2020, having spent his final annual holiday. By a remarkable co-incidence it was exactly a year later to the very day, that in the wee hours of 12 February 2021 he breathed his last at the Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge, which rendered excellent palliative care to him in the last fortnight of his earthly sojourn. He 'moved on' peacefully in his sleep with his daughter Alison beside him.

His remarkable story commenced during the era of the legendary Warden of S.Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia, the late Rev. Canon Reginald Steward de Saram, with the Chaplain of the College being Rev. Canon Roy Bowyer-Yin of beloved memory. It was the Chaplain, who was also the Choirmaster, who was struck by young Lucian's exceptional musicality and talent. It was he who encouraged Lucian to pursue a career in music by hand-picking him and then persuading the student's parents, Mr. and Mrs. L.A. Nethsingha of Dehiwela, that their son was gifted with outstanding ability and talent, and that he could realize his potential studying organ at the Royal College of Music, London. His parents were convinced by Canon Roy Bowyer-Yin and at the tender age of 18 whilst still a student at S.Thomas's College, Lucian left for England in 1954. His celebrated mentor at the Royal College of Music was Herbert Howells, the English composer who in Lucian's end of year report had presciently noted 'he is one of my most musical pupils'. From there he moved on to King's College, Cambridge, where he read Music and came directly under the influence of Boris Ord whose popular Carol 'Adam Lay Ybounden' is regularly sung by the Thomian Choir at its annual Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols.

His first appointment was at a Choir School - St. Michael's College, Tenbury, where he was the Organist and also trained the school choir for 13 years from 1959 to 1973. Thereafter, from 1973 to 1999 for over a quarter century he served in the twin capacities of Organist and Master of Choristers of Exeter Cathedral in Devon, which is widely regarded as one of the principal organ posts in England.

Over the years Lucian participated regularly in radio broadcasts and in television programmes together with performing several organ recitals in various parts of Britain. There are many commercial recordings of works performed by him and the choirs he has conducted. It was whilst he was at Exeter Cathedral that he had the rare honour of conducting its choir in the presence of the Royal Family including The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

Reflecting on his distinguished career in his chosen field of Cathedral Choral Music in the second half of the 20th Century, it would certainly be impossible to ignore the significance of his contribution considering the irrefutable factor of an Asian having made such an impact in the exclusive, conservative and 'establishment' world of Cathedral music. He was a trail blazer and pioneer in this hitherto 'non- coloured' world.

Though Lucian can justifiably lay claim to fame and recognition, he never forgot his roots in the country of his birth and his love for S.Thomas' College where it all began for him in the post World War II years of the late 1940's into the early 1950's. It would be apposite to mention at this juncture, that he visited Sri Lanka to give an organ recital in The College Chapel on its Allen Digital Computer Organ on Thursday 18 February 1993 to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of his alma mater's transplant from Mutwal to Mt. Lavinia 1918-1993.

He remained an unassuming, down-to-earth, simple and sincere individual who remained unswervingly devoted to his family, friends, the Anglican Church, S.Thomas' College etc. He was also an avid follower of cricket.

He looked forward to his brief annual visits to Sri Lanka in the recent past. He chose to reside at The Mount Lavinia Hotel where on each of his visits he would occupy Room 111 overlooking the Indian Ocean and more particularly the Hotel's picturesque Bay. He found it convenient to meet and host his relations and friends at the Hotel. On each Sunday morning of his stay he would invariably be seen walking briskly and purposefully at around 7.00 am to attend the Service of Holy Communion scheduled for 7.30 am in the Chapel of the Transfiguration of the College.

He loved and cherished the College Chapel with all his heart. It was in July/August 2016 that Lucian with his son Andrew and wife Lucy and their three children Emily, Peter and Helena, together with his daughter Alison visited Sri Lanka following the demise of Lucian's beloved wife Jane whom he married in England in 1965. Lucian was particularly pleased, when with the kind permission of The Warden Rev. Marc Billimoria, he accompanied his immediate family members whilst visiting the College Chapel and the College campus on Saturday 30th July.

It could truly be said that Lucian Nethsingha spent himself in the service of God, and his life's contribution to the cause of choral music he was passionately committed and wedded to would be remembered forever by the many he touched and influenced. The heartfelt tributes keep pouring in with the news of his passing reaching the wider public .

Lucian was a trail blazing Thomian pioneer who truly struck a chord with all those who knew him intimately and who cherished his sincerity, simplicity and humility that he exuded and radiated in ample measure in his social interaction. His life would find ready encapsulation in the touching words of Dr. John Baillie, a former Professor of Divinity of the University of Edinburgh who in 'A Diary of Private Prayer (1936) articulated:-

'let my obedience be unto death. In leaning upon his Cross, let me not

refuse my own; yet in bearing mine, let me bear it by the strength of His.'

Yohesan Casie Chetty

February 2021
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Last edited by sriyanj; 22-02-21 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 22-02-21, 12:30 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Lucien Nethsinghe, found chemistry in music

Lucien Nethsinghe, found chemistry in music
Monday, February 22, 2021 - 01:00
Print Edition http://dailynews.lk/2021/02/22/local...hemistry-music


The Council and members of the Institute of Chemistry received the news of the demise of Mr. Lucien Nethsinghe with profound sadness. He was born in Sri Lanka and received his early education at S.Thomas? College, Mount Lavinia. He then joined the Royal College of Music and studied with Ralph Downes and Herbert Howells. He completed his studies at King?s College,Cambridge, with Boris Ord and David Willcocks.

He was associated with our Institute through his beloved sister Clodagh who was a past president of the Institute and an awardee of the Distinguished Services Award from the Institute.He was an Organist and Master of Choristers of Exeter Cathedral from 1973-1999 and fostered generations of choristers, to take the daily worship of Exeter Cathedral to new musical heights.

We remember him and Clodagh for being philanthropists who donated then their residence at Station Road, Dehiwala to the Institute to expand our educational activities.We are very grateful for this venture and will never be forgotten.We wish to express our deepest condolences to members of Mr. Nethsinghe?s family.

May he rest in peace.

-The Institute of Chemistry
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