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A good story is related of a young preacher (not in Wick) who, when telling his precentor how the congregation had increased, was confronted with the remark, "Yes sir ye see what guid singing can do."

These notes will refer to the precentors and organists of what was affectionately known as the Auld Kirk. These first precentor in the present church was Mr James Sutherland, from Ackergill. He was succeeded by a namesake who "came out" with Rev. Charles Thomson at the Disruption. He was the first precentor in the Free Church in Bridge Street. He finished his career as a precentor in the Martyrs' Church under the Rev. Finlay Harper. He sang from ear, but had a very fine tenor voice which rose sweetly above the congregation.

The next precentor in the Parish Church was a Mr Murray who, owing to the Disruption, had a much diminished number to lead in praise.

Rev. William Lillie. D.D.. a native of Aberdeenshire, succeeded Rev. C. Thomson, and brought to the church a precentor who was familiar with the old and new notations. This was Mr Shepherd, who was a weaver and long employed as Courthouse-keeper. He was the first to introduce a trained choir, which occupied the "latran."

Mr William Geddes succeeded Mr Shephered. He was the first to introduce solo singing, and his choir was considered the finest in the North.

Mr Ptolomey came after him. He was an exceptionally good singer and conducted services of song on Thanksgiving days and other special occasions. He was the last precentor, the praise since his day being led by the organist. It may be safely said that the choir was never more efficient than it is today.

The first organists were Miss Mary Leith and Miss Isa Geddes. Well-known male organists were Messrs Davies, Kirk, and Stirling. These ladies and gentlemen did much for the cause of church music in the community.

Mrs Gilbertson officiated for a time with great acceptance.
The organ is now under the capable hands of Mrs Semple.


The beadles were Messrs John Cormack. John Finlayson, William Clyne, Donald Shearer, Alexander Mathieson, and the present officer, Mr William Banks.