Christopher Dowie was born in 1944 in Sutton and was educated at Sutton Grammar School and Hertford College, Oxford where he was Organ Scholar. He had previously studied the organ with Harold Darke at St. Michael’s, Cornhill in the City of London, and Harmony and Counterpoint with William Cole. After Oxford he spent a year at the Institute of Education at London University, followed by posts as Head of Music at De Burgh School, Tadworth and at the Royal Russell School in Croydon.
From there he moved to Wimborne in 1977, where he was Organist and Master of the Choristers at the Minster until his retirement in October 2005, when the very moving ‘Celebration’ service was held in the Minster. The exceptional attendance by clergy, musicians, singers and listeners alike gave just recognition to the tremendous contribution that Chris has made to the musical life of the local community. To our great delight, Chris has continued to direct Wimborne Choral Society, which he formed in 1978. Sadly, 2024 will see his final 3 concerts as our musical director.
Chris is also the composer of a number of orchestral and choral works, such as A Song for St Cecilia. This vibrant work has been performed a number of times in the Minster, and was commissioned by Wimborne Choral Society with funds made available from South West Arts. The work celebrates St Cecilia's status as the Patron Saint of Music. It is primarily sung by the Chorus to a setting of John Dryden’s "A Song for St. Cecilia’s Day", whilst being intriguingly interspersed with a number of other poems describing aspects of music, these being A Cry to Music by John Masefield, Mirth and Music by Dorset's own William Barnes, When Soft Voices Die by Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Drum by John Scott of Amwell, The Music Breathed... by Muser (the pen-name of Alex Matthews, a Christian mystic) and the most intense of all, The Dark Angel by Lionel Johnson.
Wimborne Choral Society are delighted to include this work in our Summer 2024 concert, which will celebrate Chris's 46 years as our director, conductor and friend. This special concert needs a larger orchestra than usual, so we are Crowd Funding to raise money to achieve this. (If you would like to consider making a contribution, please see our JustGiving page: Wimborne Choral Society Chris Dowie Retirement Concert after 46 Harmonious Years - JustGiving)