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Russel Lang's (39-43) Merchiston Memories

"When I entered Merchiston in September 1939 the only way to achieve recognition was on the rugby field, but thanks to many childhood illnesses (and I almost died of whooping cough) I was simply a hopeless athlete. The highest I ever got was second row of the scrum!!

But I had a talent for piano and after a year or two the organ too when I became allowed to use it. I put in many hours of practice on it, which was wonderful.

I sometimes liked to make that organ sound like a cinema organ, which displeased the Headmaster of course. One time there was a music competition which was judged by Dr.W.Greenhouse Allt, the organist of St.Giles Cathedral. I heard afterwards when the Head complained about it to Dr.Allt expecting sympathy but Dr.Allt just said “…how very clever of him!’”

Toward the end of my last term I was allowed to play the evening service once, maybe twice.

I was a member of the post-WW2 brain-drain and migrated to America in 1952, then to stay here and qualify as board certified ENT surgeon, enabling me eventually to acquire my home organ. This enabled me to learn some of the major organ works, including Liszt’s Fantasia & Fugue on BACH, Pierne’s Prelude Toccata, and Gigout’s Grand Choeur Dialogue, Mendelssohn;s 1st Sonata, all of which I have played in recital in Bangor, by invitation."

Russel Lang (39-43)

Watch Russel's impressive Conn650 video which was recorded in February 2006.


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