On 15 October 2017 Mansfield College Oxford and the Caird family joined forces to present a centenary celebration for my father, former Principal of Mansfield and distinguished theologian, G.B. Caird. The wish to do something to celebrate this centenary coincided with Mansfield’s fundraising campaign to restore the beautiful Vowles organ in the chapel and so the idea of my performing Bach’s Cantata 82, Ich habe genug, with my son and G.B. Caird’s grandson Edmund Caird came into being. The concert quickly gathered momentum and in the end the Vivaldi Double Concerto in D minor for two oboes saw me joined by Oxford oboist Thomas Edmiston and the Mansfield College Choir was augmented by a large choir of friends and relatives to sing Cantata 140, Wachet auf. Here Edmund was joined by soprano Cecilia Osmond and tenor Harry O’Neill with an instrumental ensemble conducted by Alex Laing, lead by Simon Blendis and with organ and harpsichord continuo by Music Director, John Oxlade and Paul Burke.

My siblings, James Caird, John Caird and Meg Laing, the GB Caird Fellow, Jennifer Strawbridge, and Chaplain John Ovenden all made presentations on our father and, in addition, granddaughter Eliza Caird sang the first performance of To GBC, a song setting of a poem by her grandmother, Mollie Caird.  It was a great evening and Mansfield College Chapel was packed out.

The fundraising campaign for the new organ was given a boost by the evening, but there is more to do!  Anyone who is interested in making a donation to the Organ Appeal should contact Helen Jones, Development Director, Mansfield College, Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3TF (development@mansfield.ox.ac.uk).

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George and Mollie Caird talking to Robert Graves, Oxford Encaenia, 1960’s

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