Brass band enthusiasts all over the world are aware of the name Handel Parker and, perhaps, his most famous hymn tune ‘Deep Harmony’. He was born in 1854 in Oxenhope and at the age of fourteen became the organist at Oxenhope Parish Church.
Although he was originally a flautist he became an accomplished professional musician and added the violin and trombone to his repertoire of instruments. He assisted many brass bands in the West Yorkshire area and was for over fifty years the conductor at Howarth Band.
Following his death in 1928 his family gave Joshua Duckworth, a local printer in Colne, a number of his manuscripts from which was published ‘The Deep Harmony Hymnary‘, a collection of some sixteen of his hymn tunes. ‘Deep Harmony’ was played regularly by the Black Dyke Mills Band and many more of the hymn tunes were recorded by a number of brass bands in the 1930s.
Having acquired a rare copy of the original hymnary we have recorded all of them recently with Geoffrey Proffitt as part of the celebration of the installation of the new organ at the beautiful Shore St Barnabas Church in Littleborough.