For he?s a jolly good Fellow
By LEIGH PRITCHARD
PEOPLE who have known Dr Jim Rae as a specialist anesthetist, or through his 40 years playing organ in the Christ Church Cathedral, think he's a great fellow. Now it is official.
On August 19, Dr Rae will be awarded the rare Honorary Fellowship of the Guild of Church Musicians, one of only six honorary fellows in Australia.
The award, bestowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, will be presented by his Australian representative, the Bishop of Bathurst and former Dean of Grafton, Richard Hurford, at Grafton's Christ Church Cathedral.
"It is an honour for the Cathedral which has a tradition of good church music," Dr Rae said.
"(The Guild) doesn't give it out very often."
Recognised for his association with church music for 60 years, Dr Rae said music was an integral part of his life. As a student he worked hard to gain his A Mus A in piano and later a Licentiate of the Trinity College London, in organ performance. Dr Rae said the organ was a very fine instrument which few people could play.
"You are playing with both hands, feet and mechanical aids," he said.
Bishop Hurford and Dr Rae arranged to buy the Christ Church Cathedral organ in 1990.
Dr Rae was often the only specialist anesthetist in the Clarence Valley and he said the organ provided him a break from the stress of his job: "It was completely different from anything else I was doing," he said.
Dr Rae's wife, Ruth, and daughters Helen, Janet and Caroline have organised a family concert on the night of the presentation, in aid of the Cathedral Organ Foundation. Dr Rae will present an organ recital during lunch on August 17.