Web Pages of the late Hector C Parr
6th December 1927 - 27th August 2018
Hector at the console of his self-built practice organ
These pages behind this index were created by Hector Parr to provide an outlet for his essays on an extremely diverse range of subjects. After his death at the age of 91, I made an archive copy of them against such time as the web hosting he had arranged came to an end. I am grateful to Hector's family for giving me permission to place them back on line. There are many hyperlinks that are old and need updating. I have repaired some but it is inevitable that some will not yet work. I will be working my way through the pages as time permits, repairing them and removing totally obsolete ones.
The reasons I am doing this are various but of prime importance is the role Hector had in shaping my life. I met him in 1965 when aged 11, I became a pupil at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School in Darlington. Hector had been a student there a generation earlier and as I started, he returned to join the staff as Head of Music. Although highly qualified as a musician and a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, at Cambridge he had read mathematics. That he titled his 2007 autobiography "Music, Maths and Machines" gives an idea of the breadth of his interests and skills.
My own interests in organs and in engineering meant it wasn't difficult to have reasons to maintain a connection with Hector, long after he'd retired from teaching and long after I had moved into my own later life. Around 2005 he was gracious enough to agree to accompany the choir I then directed and to tolerate my conducting when we came to sing in his home village of Romaldkirk. It was a curious reversal of our schoolday roles. I kept in touch with periodic emails and also called on him during my visits to the North East whenever I could. We would take tea together and when I did this in 2017 we enjoyed a lively conversation. When I next visited him in early March 2018 I felt strongly that our parting was a final one and it proved to be so.
I suspect I am not alone in having a teacher who did more than any other to fire up enthusiasms. For me, that teacher was Hector Parr. It was his inspiration that helped me realise that a career straddling the science of engineering and the art of music was not only possible, but desirable and it became the way I have led my own life. I'll for ever be grateful I had the privilege to know him.