All at St
Matthew’s are saddened to learn of the death of Ron
Gates, Assistant Organist here for over 20 years. Ron
will be sorely missed by the whole musical fraternity in
Ronald Gates was a chorister at All Saints’
Church in the centre of Northampton under Ralph
Richardson-Jones with one of his first experiences of
organ music being a recital at St Matthew’s Church given
by Charles King. Ron studied with Ralph
Richardson-Jones, Dr Ben Burrows and Robert Joyce, the
then organist of St Matthew’s Church, before heading to
Trinity College, Dublin, to take his BMus. Ron’s early
associations with St Matthew’s led him to become
Sub-Organist at the church for over 20 years, in which
time he worked with successive Directors of Music
including Michael Nicholas, Stephen Cleobury, Timothy
Day, David Ponsford, Derek Gillard and Andrew Shenton.
Ron was renowned in Northampton and further afield for
accompaniment and electrifying solo playing. Trips to
Cathedrals with Ron playing for the St Matthew’s choir
often resulted in invitations for him to return and give
Ron worked for many years for the Phipps Brewery (itself
having an association with St Matthew’s!) and was always
consulted as to the quality of the local ale in any
place the choir was to visit.
Following his departure from St Matthew’s in 1993 Ron
could be found playing at various churches in
Northampton, especially All Saints’ Church where he was
an Assistant Organist for some years.
Ron was instrumental in the planning for the rebuilding
of St Matthew’s organ by Harrison & Harrison of Durham,
with his many years’ experience of playing the
instrument proving invaluable in the drawing up of the
scheme for the contract.
always been encouraging of young organists that have
crossed his path, and Andrew Reid, Simon Johnson and
Richard Pinel all name him as being an important figure
in their professional development. Ron enjoyed a long
involvement with the Northampton and District Organists’
Association which included four terms as President — an
In 2014 the Vicar, Churchwardens, and Friends of St
Matthew’s Music took the decision to mark Ron’s
undoubted contribution to the music and life of St
Matthew’s Church by naming the annual St Matthew’s-tide
organ recital the Ronald Gates Recital. It is
fitting that the above named organists have been the
first to play this recital, Andrew Reid in 2014 and
Simon Johnson in 2015 with Richard Pinel to play on
Sunday 25 September 2016.
Moore Director of Music, St Matthew’s Church, Northampton.
Funeral arrangements at St Matthew's:
Ron's body will be received into church on Tuesday 16
February at 5.00pm. There will be a Requiem Mass on
Wednesday 17 February at 11.30am, followed by committal
(for family only) at the crematorium. A reception
following the Mass will be held in the Parish Centre.