Trevor Alvin Beckford, OD. JP, DRSCM
Organist and Choir Master
“If we wish to know about a man, we ask ‘what is his story–his real, inmost story?’–for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, through, and in us–through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives–we are each of us unique.”
History will regard you as Faithful Christian, Devout Anglican, Musician par excellence, Loyal Friend, Patient Teacher, Sincere and Generous Human Being, Indomitable Spirit, a Dutiful and Honest Man. These combined, is your unique narrative.
Your very existence is guided by your mantra, “my word is my bond”, and all can attest that whatever you commit to doing, is exactly that which you deliver. You have been known time and again, to decline lucrative engagements or those of significant status, to honour a commitment made to play for the funeral service of a destitute parishioner. Such is the man that you are; principled and fair.
You love the Lord and have dedicated your life to Christian service and praise; and for 55 years, you did so unstintingly, seated at the 168 year-old great Cathedral Pipe Organ (built in 1849), the king of instruments, resulting in you being arguably among the longest serving Church Organists in the region. During which time, legend has it that you have never missed nor been late for any church service or occasion; having been away from the organ only during a period in 1975, when you travelled to England to refine your craft, and subsequently appointed as the Diocesan Representative to the Royal School of Church Music (DRSCM). We are very much aware that this milestone was achieved not “out of labour”, but as an all-encompassing “act of love.”
Notwithstanding the distinction and recognition associated with your various accomplishments, the Cathedral Church remained your priority, and the organ, your true love. One journalist titled a 1992 article written about you, “Music is his one and only love.” This is true only in part.
Your love for music is incontestable.
Your other love, the Cathedral Choir, under your baton retains the distinction of being the only choir in Jamaica to have performed an Oratorio each year, presenting major works by the great masters from Bach to Mendelssohn; and you, the only local organist to present an annual classical organ recital.
You established the first ecumenical choir in Spanish Town as a manifestation of your Christian belief; One Church, One Faith, One Lord. Under your leadership this creed was adopted and actualized within the motto of the Cathedral Choir, “Together we Build”; for you realized early on that it is through unity that the human condition is strengthened and can thrive.
It is in this spirit of togetherness that you shared your extraordinary talent with the wider community – at the Phillipo Baptist Church, the Spanish Town Methodist Church, and your beloved alma mater St. Jago High School.
A founding member of the Jamaica Guild of Organists and Choirmasters Association, you continue your service as President for 40 consecutive years, ensuring that the quality of church music is treasured as other works of art.
Your legacy is firmly entrenched through those whom you have influenced; those whom you have helped to hone their skills, and those who have been trained by you to become church organists and renown musicians worldwide.
The scope of our recognition and sincere expressions may not encompass all your accomplishments and cannot recount your many awards. We are however assured that none conferred in the past will surpass in personal significance, that which is intended by this afternoon’s honour; presented “in recognition and appreciation of your unwavering dedication, and faithful and loving ministry to the liturgy and worship through music, on behalf of a grateful congregation.”
Written by: Lissa Grant
The Cathedral of St. Jago de la Vega
Dated this 27th day of August, 2017
“Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matt.25:23