Organist and choral conductor Patrick Wedd has died

He was director of Montreal's Tudor Singers and a church musician of distinction.

He was director of Montreal's Tudor Singers and a church musician of distinction

Patrick Wedd, longtime director of music at Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal, died on May 19, 2019, at the age of 71. (Remon Wanas)

Montreal organist, choral conductor and church musician Patrick Wedd died on May 19, 2019, at the age of 71 following a brief illness.

Wedd was best known as director of music at Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Montreal, a position he held from 1996 to 2018. "He was always positive," recalls Carole Therrien, who sang under Wedd's direction throughout his tenure there. "He was good with both amateur and professional singers, and treated everyone equally, always greeting us with a 'bravo' following our performances."

Therrien also points out Wedd's skills as an organist: "He could sight-read anything," she says. His recordings include an album of organ concertos by Jongen, Coulthard and Poulenc with the Calgary Philharmonic and Mario Bernardi, released by CBC Records in 1992, as well as Strike up the Band!, a collection of showpieces played on the Grand Wurlitzer organ at Vancouver's Orpheum Theatre. In 2005, he released an album of organ works by Healey Willan on Naxos Records.

In addition to his responsibilities at Christ Church Cathedral, Wedd was the artistic director of Musica Orbium, a semi-professional choir he founded in 1992, whose concert in April was cancelled due to his declining health.

Wedd was born in Simcoe, Ont., and at 12 became an organist and choir conductor at a local church. He studied at the University of Toronto and U.B.C. before becoming music director at Vancouver's Christ Church Cathedral. Upon moving to Montreal in 1986, he took on the direction of the Tudor Singers, a professional chamber choir that was the city's premiere choral ensemble.

"I met Patrick when I was 11 years old," wrote tenor Benjamin Butterfield on Facebook. "He later engaged me for my first full-time job with the Tudor Singers of Montreal and most recently I was grateful to have had the opportunity to sing in his epic St. Matthew Passion with Musica Orbium for Easter 2018. Remembering Patrick today with deep respect and great thanks for many years of laughter and making music together."

Before his appointment to the music directorship of Montreal's Christ Church Cathedral, Wedd was in charge of the music ministry of the Church of Saint Andrew and Saint Paul (1986-92) and the Church of St. John the Evangelist (1992-96).

For many years, Wedd was a frequent guest host and commentator on various CBC Music shows, known for his infectious enthusiasm and ability to clearly explain complex musical concepts.

In 2015, he gave the following demonstration on the Karl Wilhelm organ at Montreal's Christ Church Cathedral.

When news of his death broke, numerous musicians and organizations took to social media to remember Wedd, including the Elmer Iseler Singers.

Wedd is survived by his husband, Rob Wells, and two sisters, Penny and Pam Wedd.

A funeral service is planned for Friday, May 31, at 2 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral in Montreal.

Tune in to CBC Music's Choral Concert on Sunday, May 26, when Katherine Duncan will pay tribute to Wedd's legacy.