Mearns probus club Sankey and Moodie

Sankey and Moodie - Two names that are synonymous with music and Hymns was the subject of Raymond Mack’s presentation at the clubs last meeting and instead of having visual back up on screen with images, a keyboard playing organ music was also used, ably played by local man Bill Manclark.

Bill retired to Laurencekirk after nearly 30 years as Head of Music at Turriff Academy and still enjoys playing his music to entertain others.

Raymond is a retired Chief Inspector from Grampian Police, having spent over 30 years in that force, and subsequently was their Welfare Officer for a number of years. He now gives a lot of his time to entertaining at concerts, nursing homes, sheltered housing and so on.

His talk took the two main characters through their lifetimes, starting with Ira David Sankey who was born in Edinburg Pennsylvania in August 1840. He was of Scots Irish ancestry. In 1857, the family moved to Newcastle Pennsylvania, where he attended High School and the local Church. His voice was a great attraction and crowds would gather to hear him singing at Sunday School.

He married in 1863 and he and his wife carried on singing wherever they were.

In 1873 they sailed to England landing at Liverpool, but then moved to Yorkshire after an invitation from the YMCA in York to appear there.

Success was to follow them wherever they went and they travelled by train to visit Scotland.

From Edinburgh up the East Coast to Aberdeen, where they held an open-air meeting on the Broad Hill near the beach. A record crowd of over 22,000 men women and children, came along to hear and join in with the singing. Later they were to visit Huntly, Keith, Elgin and Inverness.

Subsequent years saw them return to the USA and also re-visit the United Kingdom, staying for up to a year on one occasion.

David Sankey spent the last few years of his life in blindness. He died in Brooklyn New York in August 1908.

Dwight L Moody had died earlier in December 1899 at Northfield Massachusetts.

During the presentation, Raymond used some of their 1200 Hymns, accompanied by Bill on his keyboard to illustrate certain junctures in the lines of Sankey and Moody.

The mornings meeting was drawn to a close after Secretary Ian Bell thanked on behalf of the Club Members, Raymond and Bill for their services and music.