Since my time as a young priest in the Diocese, I have been aware of the wonderful tradition of worship at the Cathedral, and particularly the music which has been in Barry Smith’s most capable hands.  I have enjoyed it myself, and I know that it has brought enormous pleasure to many others.

Through the darkest days for our nation, when we looked to the Cathedral to spearhead the many protests which we organized, we always knew that its life was being sustained by a remarkable group of people. Among them, when the Cathedral’s story comes one day to be written, Barry will have a place of honour.  It is little know, and perhaps therefore too little appreciated, that he fashioned the first truly multiracial cathedral choir in our Province, that it was Barry who created some of the first opportunities for so many young singers and musicians from disadvantaged communities to showcase their talents at the heart of our city and nation, through the RSCM courses, through engaging them as soloists, and through his enthusiastic determination to make the language of music a means of unity and reconciliation for all.  His achievements as a musicologist, a conductor, organist, and choir trainer are all well known.  But his achievement perhaps lies in the unseen dedication and commitment he has shown to his calling to create, in the words of Mother Theresa of Calcutta, ‘something beautiful for God’.  I applaud 40 years of unstinting service to the life of our cathedral, diocese, city, province, and nation.

Archbishops, Deans, Canon Precentors, and others, they come and go, but Barry remains a fixed point around which so much that is valuable and life-changing turns.  Dear Barry, we thank you for all that you have done.

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane



Congratulations, Barry, on forty years of music making at St George’s Cathedral.  What a wonderful gift you have been and still are to us all!  The ministry of the Cathedral and the CPSA have been magnificently enriched through your talents.  You have been a spendthrift with yourself and a perfectionist in your craft; it is difficult to imagine the musical life of Cape Town without your presence.

For forty years you have been a quite remarkable evangelist and have brought thousands through the doors of the ‘People’s Cathedral’, testimony to your splendid gifts and commitments to Our Lord.  It is a joy to pay tribute to you today and to acknowledge the outstanding contribution you have made.

You have helped us to glimpse heaven and we are deeply, deeply grateful.

May you continue to make a joyful noise unto the Lord for many years to come.

Thank you for it all and God bless you.

Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus



I can hardly believe that it is forty years since you were appointed Organist and Master of the Choristers at St George’s Cathedral.

So much of importance has happened during those years: not least in South Africa where you have witnessed the most remarkable political change of the 20th Century.

Thanks to the great statesmanship of Nelson Mandela, always supported by Archbishop Tutu, the ugly repression of apartheid has been followed by Christian forgiveness and reconciliation.

The Church in South Africa has played no small part in this peaceful transformation, so you can feel proud that through your ministry in that Church you have had a share in creating the reformed South Africa.

Your many friends in the musical profession have greatly admired your distinguished work at St George’s Cathedral and your valuable contribution to secular musical activities in Cape Town.  You have moreover done much to support the work of the Royal School of Church Music in South Africa.

I cannot begin to imagine how, with your busy life as an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Music at the University; with your commitments at St George’s Cathedral and with the St George’s Singers; you ever found time to produce your splendid biography of Peter Warlock, the fruit of much scholarly research.

I shall think of you during Easter Week, when the Cathedral will be having a music festival in our honour.  I hope that you will derive great satisfaction from the knowledge that your dedicated work for St George’s has been truly appreciated!

David Willcocks       11 March 2004



Congratulations, Barry, on an outstanding achievement.  Not only have you dedicated 40 years of your life to the Cathedral, but also to the education and welfare of the generations of singers who have made music under your inspired leadership.  Let us not be sentimental about this: it cannot always have been easy.  But you have succeeded magnificently, and persevered when others might have faltered. Your very many friends around the world, of whom Emma and I are privileged to count ourselves, salute you especially as you mark this special anniversary.

Stephen Cleobury      King’s College Cambridge, March 2004