Alan Carlisle (Tulley's 1966)

Alan Carlisle (Tulley's 1966)

I am writing to let you know that my husband, Alan Carlisle, passed away on 8 December 2020, after a short illness. After a month in hospital in November of last year, during which time he was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease, he returned home on 1 December and died in my arms a week later. He was 72.

Alan was born on 30 August 1948. He entered Alleyn's in 1959, was in Tulley's House and took his A Levels in 1967. During his time at Alleyn's he was encouraged to learn the French horn. Alan always told me it wasn't so much a question of his choosing that particular instrument, it was more a case of "Carlisle, you will learn the French horn."! Fortunately, he discovered an aptitude for it. Not only did he play in the School orchestra, he also represented the School in the London Schools’ Symphony Orchestra for several years. It was also at Alleyn's that he first sang in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and began a life-long love of the genre. Although his father, a Professor of Crystallography, had hoped that Alan would follow him into the scientific world, that was not Alan's wish. On leaving Alleyn's he studied French horn and voice (and organ during his first year) at the Royal Manchester College of Music for four years.

After college, and the occasional professional job as a horn player, Alan joined ICL and worked there until he was made redundant in 1982. During this time music was still very much an important part of his life - singing, playing and conducting.

He first came to Luxembourg in 1981, following an invitation to sing the part of Nanki-Poo in the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta The Mikado. He returned in October of the same year to sing the part of the defendant in Trial by Jury (also G&S), and in January 1982 was asked, at very short notice (10 days!) to be one of the Ugly Sisters in Cinderella - one of the original Ugly Sisters worked at the European Parliament and had to go on mission to Harare! All these shows were produced by Pirate Productions, an English-language musical society in Luxembourg. It seemed inevitable that, on being made redundant, Alan moved to Luxembourg! In 1984 he passed a competition for employment at the European Parliament where he worked in IT until taking early retirement in 2006.

Throughout his time in Luxembourg, music and theatre were an integral part of his life. He played in the Luxembourg Philharmonia, sang in various ensembles, was Director of Music for the Anglican Church of Luxembourg for many years as well as being involved, both on and off stage and in the orchestra pit, for many shows produced by Pirate Productions. During Luxembourg's "European Year of Culture" in 1995 he fulfilled a personal dream by musically directing Fiddler on the Roof. For many years he was responsible for Luxembourg's annual Burns Night entertainment.

Alan was a prolific composer: his compositions ranged from cabaret (including a cabaret taken one year to the Edinburgh Fringe) to a Mass commissioned for the Anglican Church's 50th anniversary. A major singing rôle as the Abbot in (to quote the composer) ane Kirk opera The Passioun o Sanct Andraa again took him to perform at the Edinburgh Festival, the first performance of this being in Dunfermline Abbey.

Whilst much of his music-making was within the British and wider expat community, he also became involved in the Luxembourgish musical scene, singing in local Chorales and playing in local bands.

Alan and I married in 1995. It was a second marriage for both of us. Whilst Alan had no children of his own, he was a wonderful stepfather, and later grandfather and great-grandfather, to my daughters and their growing families. One of our granddaughters is quite convinced that it was due to his patience and willingness to sit beside her as she was learning to drive that got her through her driving test! He was so fond of our great-grandchildren and I know was saddened to realise he would not be around as they grew up. His passing has left an enormous hole in our lives.

Pamela Carlisle