Fred Dennis

ORGANIST, choirmaster, music teacher, conductor, singer and instrumentalist, Fred Dennis – who has died aged 58 – played a part in the musical life of Ryedale and beyond which made his versatility and generous nature highly and widely valued.

Fred Dennis

A man who was always ready to help out at charity concerts and events, Mr Dennis possessed formidable talents as a singer and instrumentalist.

Organist and choirmaster
at All Saints Church, Kirkbymoorside, he founded a baroque orchestra and at least one singing group.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He taught music to pupils in three schools and their own homes, and he conducted and played in silver and brass bands, played in a folk group and, at various times, accompanied a number of choirs including Ryedale Choral Union.

Kenneth Frederick Dennis was born in Scarborough to Kenneth Dennis and his wife Margaret.

His early years were spent on the family farm at Crossgates, Seamer, from where he attended local schools.

His mother taught at Braeburn School, Eastfield, of which she eventually became headmistress.

As a young man he made a trip to Germany with his uncle Herbert, also a musician, and from this may have come his interest in all things German, including his fluency in the language and his admiration for Bach, Schubert and Schutz.

After graduating from Leeds University where he had studied music, he began his career in music, and from 1990 his teaching and encouraging of amateurs on a variety of instruments was based at Cropton to where the family had moved.

And there he also cared – until recently – for his elderly mother.

The extent of his reputation and the importance of his contribution to the musical life of the region was reflected in the capacity congregation which attended the service of celebration and thanksgiving held for him in All Saints Church, Kirkbymoorside, when some 40 singers augmented his home choir.