John Blaber's Family - The Scottish Years: 1988 - Present

Page last updated: 2 June 2015

Church and Organ

  • I took up the full-time appointment of resident organist and choirmaster at St Mary's Dalmahoy, Edinburgh on 16th July 2006 and retired from being a full-time organist on 25th May 2014.
    I was then appointed Organist Emeritus of St Mary's Dalmahoy.
  • I now deputise at various churches as and when required. This is very interesting as I get to play many different organs of all sizes and locations within buildings and attend a wide range of service types.

The Organ - St Mary's Dalmahoy, Edinburgh


Chester Cathedral

John at the console 4th October 2014


John at Dalmahoy

St Mary's, Dalmahoy

John at the pre-2009 console

  • The organ at St Mary's, Dalmahoy is by the famous Edinburgh organ builder, Hamilton. It was rebuilt and enlarged in 2009 by Henry Willis & Sons Ltd., and the opening concert was given by the late Carlo Curley 25 May 2009, the world-famous American Concert Organist. Carlo gave a return concert in 2011. Sadly, Carlo died just short of his 60th birthday on 11 August 2012.
  • Click here for full details of the organ.
  • Click here to go to St Mary's, Dalmahoy web site
  • In 2010 the Celebrity Organ Concert was given by Dr Gordon Stewart (
  • The 2013 the Celebrity Organ Concert was given by Dr Carol Williams of San Diego, California, USA. Carol is organist in residence at St Paul's Cathedral, San Diego, Civic Organist of the City of San Diego, and Organist and Artistic Director of the world's largest outdoor organ in Balbao Park, San Diego, USA.  ( Carol will be making a very welcome return visit to St Mary's, Dalmahoy in 2016.
  • In November 1988 we moved to Scotland as I took up the post of Manager of Scottish Operations for John Crane UK Ltd. I was appointed organist and choirmaster of Christ Church, Lanark. Here I was able to redesign the 2-manual pipe organ and had it rebuilt and remodelled, with additional stops, by Rushworth and Dreaper. I resigned from this post in 1994.
  • I still play occasionally at Christ Church for mid-week services and special occasions.
John at Lanark

Christ Church, Lanark

John at the console during the rebuild. Only three stops fitted at date of photograph. The church was full of organ pipes!!

John at Lanark 26 February 2006

Christ Church, Lanark

Note the very welcome heater in a cold church.

  • Sunday, 26 February 2006. John back in the organ loft at Christ Church, Lanark, playing the final voluntary.


  • In 1994 I transferred to St Paul & St John the Evangelist Church, Airdrie, Lanarkshire, as organist and choirmaster. Here we were lucky enough to have two organs. We received (June 1997) over £19,000 from the National Lottery Fund towards rebuilding the smaller 2-manual Chancel Organ of this church. The total cost of the work was £25,000. The contract was awarded to Rushworth and Dreaper of Liverpool, and the organ was re-dedicated by the Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway on Thursday, 30th April 1998. We also celebrated the centenary of the church on this date. I resigned from this church in April 2001.


  • Here is a video of me practising on the main organ in 2000. Lots of wrong notes, but it was perfect on the day of performance!!
  • Click here for video John Airdire 2000.wmv
Both organs at Airdrie

St Paul and St John the Evangelist, Airdrie

The Main Organ console is in the foreground (excuse the red candles - the photo was taken Christmas 2000). The small Chancel Organ can be seen in the background


A paper machine
  • Also during 1997 I travelled to Finland and Sweden to collect information to develop a training course for the Pulp & Paper Industry.

  • I returned to the Middle East in February 1999 to run three courses for the state owned Israel Electricity Corporation at their Training Centre. Another very enjoyable trip, and I managed to spend a day sight-seeing in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, it was very cold and rained all day. This was surprising as there was quite a severe drought at the time! The weather for the rest of my stay was hot and sunny.
  • (That's little me - sixth from the right - at the Electricity Corporation Training Centre, with some of the course delegates.)
Course in Israel

Al-Khobar Al-Khobar
Training Course for Saudi Aramco in Al-Khobar, May 2002

In left-hand picture, John is on back row, 4th from right.

  • In July 2005 I took early retirement from John Crane EAA. My final training trip to the Middle East for John Crane was to run some courses at Qatar Chemicals (Q-Chem) in January/February 2005
  •  (Photograph to the right taken on the plant at Q-Chem, Qatar - I'm in the blue shirt!)
On the Q-Chem Plant, Qatar


Jeddah Hilton
John taking a cool (non-alcoholic) drink on the balcony in the Jeddah Hilton, Saudi Arabia, after a hard day's lecturing!

For information: The background to this page is the Murray of Atholl tartan, our family clan.

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