An appreciation of
Bruce Fraser 1947 – 2017
Bruce Fraser holds a special place in the hearts of current and former members and friends of Cupar Choral Society. His collaboration with the society began in season 2008 – 2009 with preparation for a performance of Haydn’s Creation and continued until his untimely death in February when busy rehearsing for the programme he had chosen for the society’s Spring concert in April.
Since his retirement, Bruce concentrated on many aspects of the musical scene locally, nationally and internationally. He retained his interest in education, working as an examiner for SQA and as an adjudicator at many brass and wind-band festivals and competitions at home and abroad. He was also a keen supporter of Fife Festival of Music, both when he was Head of Music at Buckhaven High School and latterly as a steward and announcer at the Festival’s competitive event each January/February.
Bruce’s interest in composition and conducting took him all over the country and further afield, most recently to Italy following commissions there. Locally he was musical director of Anstruther Philharmonic Society before joining Cupar Choral Sociey and was most recently working with Dysart Colliery Silver Band.
We were fortunate to have Bruce lead us in several collaborative events, most memorable of which are the performance of the Verdi Requiem in March 2003 with Helensburgh Oratorio Choir and the weekend trip to Cupar’s twinned town, Ste. Ménehoud in France. There we sang Ken Johnston’s arrangement of Scots songs I landed with Seven Men and Bruce’s arrangement of The Wee Cooper o’ Fife and joined with the local choir in a performance of the Faure Requiem – though it must be said that the star of the show was our piper who had come along originally as a ‘plus one’!
He also involved the children from St. Columba’s Primary School in a number of our Christmas concerts, as well as his Music Club pupils from Kettle Primary School in a summer concert in the village.
Bruce’s choice of music for our programmes was always as a result of thought and research involving consideration of choral forces, costs where an orchestra was called for and ensuring that pieces complemented each other in terms of forces needed and soloists. We enjoyed especially the occasions when we sang his own works: his Te Deum in March 2012 and the piece dedicated to the choir, The Queen’s Wake in 2013, as well as arrangements of more well-known songs. He persuaded us to try contemporary composers and widened our repertoire considerably over the years.
We shall miss him greatly and our thoughts are with Pat, Lynn and the family at this time.