First Presbyterian Church Cookstown.
(Founded 1646)
J.Bryan Dunlop B.E.M.,B.Sc. Bryan Dunlop taught for many years in Dungannon Technical College. At one time I taught for a few periods a week there ( but can’t quite remember why) in his physics lab and well remember the motto on the wall behind his teaching bench: “Tempus fugit” in large letters, and beneath this; “ Time passes. Will you? ’’. Bryan’s humour has been obvious for a long time.For both of us ‘’tempus’’ certainly has ‘’fugit’’. This was 35-40 years ago when we were a lot younger. Bryan retired as organist at First Presbyterian Church some months ago after 53 years service, a record not likely to be equalled. Education began for this son of Mid-Ulster in “Burn Road School”, at a time when schools were ruled, if not with a rod of iron, certainly with a cane of bamboo, and an occasional twist of an ear lobe! At the age of 11 Bryan moved to Rainey Endowed, the Headmaster was then T.S Fazackerley. While at the Rainey, acting in school plays, and a position as hooker on the 2 nd 15 rugby team were his additions to study. Football was first love however (he later played at Queen’s University, and for Enfield Town when working in London). School work wasn’t bad either! Bryan gained a State Exhibition (a top scholarship to University in those days) and difficult to get. An honours degree in Electrical Engineering at QUB was followed by work in London, with Siemens Edison followed by HIVAC (in the Plessey Group). In 1962 Bryan’s mother died. He returned to Moneymore to help his father in ‘The Manor House’ and a little later began his teaching career in Magherafelt Technical College. After six years, it was time for a move to Dungannon Technical College to teach physics, applied maths and strength of materials. In 1992 teaching retirement beckoned, after 23 years in Dungannon as a Senior Lecturer. Ability as a science teacher was one aspect of his talents, but Bryan was fortunate in possessing an exceptional musical ability (which seems to run in the Dunlop family). Throughout his teaching career and also during retirement, this talent was used to the full. So where and when did the music begin? The Dunlop brothers had their considerable musical ability nurtured from an early age and Bryan’s first lessons in music began at the age of eight. He passed five Trinity college exams with Nan McGuigan as teacher, before tuition with Sister Veronica of Magherafelt Convent. Sister Veronica was an excellent teacher and used her skill with a crochet needle to encourage pupils! She helped Bryan through Advanced Senior music. While at university, piano tuition was largely completed with Douglas Brown. His liking for organ music developed during lessons by George Sutton of Rainey Endowed and Canon R.C.C. O’Connor of St John’s, Moneymore, himself a gifted organist. Appointed organist in Maghera Parish Church in 1953, at the age of 14, Bryan followed with three years in Molesworth Presbyterian Church under the watchful eye of Gretta Alexander. While studying engineering in London, he helped at two churches as organist/choirmaster. On his return home, First Presbyterian Church, Cookstown approached him (a wise move) and he began as organist and choirmaster there in October 1963. A short time after moving to First, Bryan met Lorna Hamilton. Lorna was equally musical and they were married in 1966. As all the family were involved in the actual wedding, no one was free to play the organ for the ceremony. So Canon O’Connor came to the rescue and played! Lorna at the Keyboard In 1969 Brian became conductor of Dungannon Choral Society and then Tyrone Presbytery Choir. He continued to play on countless other occasions, including broadcast services from First Cookstown , The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, and numerous recitals at organ dedications throughout the wider district. All of this while teaching piano, organ and musical theory. Lorna was busy too-as organist at Derryloran Parish in 1964 and after a break to have a family, from October 1969, organist and choir leader in Dungannon Presbyterian Church, here she continued selflessly until her untimely death in 1999. How does a busy man relax? Well, golf is as good a way as any, and Brian has been a member of Killymoon G.C. for over 50 years. But does he relax? Not totally. He has been assistant honorary Secretary of Killymoon, was Club Captain in 1992 and Club President for four years. He is now an Honorary Member and Trustee. He is also a member of the Provincial Priories Golfing Society, founded in 1996, and has been closely involved with this group in raising large amounts of money from sponsorship. Many charities and hospital units have benefited from his efforts. BEM Commeration Plate Bryan retired as organist for First Cookstown in August 2016, after well over 50 years of service in that church. In the same year he was deservedly awarded a British Empire Medal. I wonder did he try to tell the Queen a joke ? Mind you, I wouldn’t put it past him. It is staggering to think that Bryan, daughter Gillian and his late wife Lorna between them have almost 140 years of service to church music. Bryan has contributed 67 of these years. It seemed obvious to ask Bryan about his favourite music and it was from the Baroque Period: Handel & Bach Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor. Handel’s Organ Concertos. Prelude & fugue in C-Major
Lorna,Gillian & Bryan.