Music written for hospital celebrations
Specially written music has featured in several important celebrations at both Salisbury General Infirmary and Salisbury District Hospital. Salisbury General Infirmary was opened in 1771 and in 1772 Joseph Corfe, organist at Salisbury Cathedral, composed a Canticle set to the words ‘I will magnify thee – O Lord’. This was to celebrate the first anniversary of the opening of the Infirmary in Fisherton Street, Salisbury.
Many years later, on the first of May 1993 a service of Thanksgiving and Dedication was held to commemorate the work of Salisbury General Infirmary and Newbridge Hospital, together with the opening of the new Salisbury District Hospital at Odstock. Richard Shepherd, Headmaster of York Minster School, composed an anthem set to the words from Psalm 26 ‘Lord I have loved the habitation of thy house’ (see images below). The service began with the ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’ composed by Aaron Copland and ended with the march ‘Crown Imperial’ composed by Sir William Walton. Both pieces being played by the local Woodfalls Brass band.
Fast forward to the year 2018, a significant milestone for both Salisbury District Hospital and the National Health Service (NHS). Salisbury District Hospital celebrated its 25th anniversary of opening and the 5th July 2018 marked the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the NHS. A special evensong was held on the 9th June 2018 at Salisbury Cathedral to celebrate both these events. Richard Shepherd again composed an anthem, this time to the words from Ecclesiasticus 38 and Isaiah 35, ‘The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth’. This was specially commissioned for the service by Salisbury Cathedral and supported by the Downing Music Fund in celebration of the work of Salisbury District Hospital.
The Reverend Dr Tom Clammer, Precenter, led the service and took the role of a patient. The Father Willis Organ, which had been played 25 years earlier in 1993, had been out of action for the 2 weeks before the service, but was just made playable two hours before the event began, the engineers having worked on it all day. A new hospital banner was also designed and carried alongside the original one from the Salisbury General Infirmary.