"A Life In The Ministry of Music"

NOTES DA CAPO - By John Puffenbarger
February , 1996

The rose window above the main entrance shown brightly that day. Enormous cylindrical pillars and arcade walls displayed the typical features of the great Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame of Paris, which is also noted for its beautiful facade. Nearly twenty years ago West Virginia University's Dr. Clyde English positioned himself at the mighty Notre Dame organ and presented a recital to an audience of more than ten thousand persons. The beautiful chords filled the nave and reached all comers of the ribbed vaulting. This performance was one of the many highlights in English's career.

Dr. English has performed recitals at St. Lawrence Jewry in London, England and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. He has played in France, Great Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands. His has been a life in the ministry of music and as an artist on the king of instruments, the pipe organ.

On 29 October 1995, English was honored at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Morgantown for his many years of service. He had become choir director and organist at the church in 1951, and later he had supervised the rebuilding of the church's pipe organ. Now the church was recognizing his ministry of music in the life of the church at a special worship service honoring his life and work. The celebration was held in the year of his 80th birthday.

English himself coordinated and performed the service music for the worship celebration. Guest organist Beverly Collins Clark (a native of Parkersburg who had studied organ with former WVMEA secretary Dr. Marie Boette and later with English) provided the organ prelude music.

English holds degrees in music from Carnegie-Mellon University and the School of Sacred Music at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. While in New York he was organist at Hitchcock Memorial Church in Scarsdale. He joined the faculty of West Virginia University in 1945. During his long tenure on the faculty he oversaw the design and construction of the moveable pipe organ in the Creative Arts Center Concert Theater.

Throughout his distinguished career as a professor of organ he not only served Wesley Methodist Church, but also Eastminster and East Liberty Presbyterian churches in Pittsburgh. English is well known throughout West Virginia and adjacent states as a guest organist, recitalist, and teacher. His wife, Mary Jane, was a former student of his and a former organist for the early morning service at Wesley.