Mike Hurren (1934 – 2013)

Mike was a vice-president, a former conductor and a great supporter of the orchestra and all aspects of the musical life of our community. He was also a much loved teacher at Clacton County High. Please feel free to leave your  thoughts and memories about Mike.

Piano Soloist MichaelMichael Hurren performing Shostakovitch Piano Concerto no. 2

Update: Mike's funeral will be held on Friday 17th May, 2pm at Weeley Crematorium. This will be followed by a service at St James Church, Clacton-On-Sea, with tea and cake to follow.

As you can imagine Mike’s funeral was a mixture of sadness and laughs, much like the man himself!  The crematorium was full, Mike’s sister-in-law Veronica Hurren and nephew Tim represented the family.  The service at St James Church was amazing, Tina Rowland was the first to speak for Mike, she had the church rocking as she looked back over thirty year in the life of Mike, we may have heard the stories before, but not all of them, and they could be heard time and time again.  Next to speak for Mike was Greg West, again side splitting anecdotes.  Paul Sidall provided some beautiful music, St James’ choir sang and Jo Jellis held the service in order with good humour and love. There will be a musical tribute to Mike at St James Church on Saturday 14th September 2013, more information to follow…

(Brenda Ellis)

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P. I. Tchaikovski – Piano Concerto N.1, 1st movement. This was Mike’s last performance with the orchestra.

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“Oh that is sad news, I definitely remember him, and his flying board rubber.”

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“Aww, proper old school teacher…. We need more teachers around these days like him.”

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“I remember that too and his flying glasses, and I seem to remember him throwing a chair across the room once too!!!”

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“And the chalk!!! And he often set the bin alight!!”

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“Oh yes, and the pianos all had burn marks on them and he ate chalk.”

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“His tongue hanging out when he played the piano!”

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“We’d just had a Baroque Rehearsal at St. James’s and were discussing getting together for a drink or seven…
Mike’s parting words as we set off after the practice were a triple ‘Spoonerism’–
“OK, see you on Hank Moliday Bunday!” (Paul Siddall)

The music world has lost an amazing character,always full of enthusiasm and fun.Dearly loved by all who’s lives he touched,So very sad,he will be truely missed (Tracey Hauser was Riva)

Thanks for letting us know of this very sad news.
Mike was a lovely guy, who was brilliant with all the Rodwell children, helping them through exams, etc. he will be greatly missed. Please pass on our condolences to his family. (Karen Rodwell)

I just wanted to say a few words about Mike Hurren:

After studying GCSE music and then two years A level music in a class of just three people (state education could still offer such things in those days!), I feel I came to know Mike pretty well. He was a complex, emotional and often moody man but with a passion,love, knowledge and endless enthusiasm for music which he imparted to his students with incredible energy. Now, having had a wonderful career of more than than thirty years as a professional composer and musician, I often think back to those seemingly endless sunny afternoons in the music block at Clacton County High with Mike. Always urging me to listen more intently, think deeper, analyse more accurately, pushing my musical horizons, encouraging me as a composer and above all revealing to me the profound beauty of music.

Thanks for that gift Mike! (Andy Quin)

‘m very grateful to Mike Hurren.He always treated us like adults and friends. I loved to throw ideas around with him, up in the music department- with its fag buts lying around and nictone-stained Bluthner keyboard, or in the lounge bar of the Roaring Donkey a few years later. Mike was an inspiration ,as many have said, but it was the way in which he so loved music and that he could impart that love to so many that was so amazing. He wasn’t perfect as a teacher-I remember that he never really got round to analysing our set works for A level,or even play us a recording of one of them! But he was somehow so much bigger than those things which would have sunk a more insipid teacher. We all somehow loved the way he would storm off in assemblies- frightening the Headmaster, and I remember vividly his setting of the wastebin alight- resulting in an evacuation of the New Block. He and I also hatched up a plan to dress up as Arabs and contact the school, pretending to be Saudi Arabian princes wanting to invest in Essex education. Never got that one off the ground. I loved his conducting, and how he seemed to become one with the music- Wednesday nights with the Baroque choir opened my ears to music that probably would never have been heard in Clacton, be it the Allegri Miserere, Britten St Nicholas, Bach St Luke Passion, Byrd Masses, Sweelinck motets, Mathias cantatas, Tavener anthems, Haydn’s Creation, Rutter Requiem, Kodaly Missa Brevis, etc. Amazing really, and he taught us all to love it and bring it into our lives. I remember being absolutely terrified auditioning for him to be one of Noye’s kids in the Fludde, but being gleefully amazed as he openly hooted with laughter when one of the auditioned kids stuffed it up. He was fun! as an eleven year old, Noye’s Fludde was the first piece of serious music that I had ever really heard, never mind participate in! What a piece that was- singing it at St James and in the eerie old St Osyth parish church. It was in Britten’s piece that I first heard the sound of the pipe organ, and knew that it was the instrument for me. One of the many things I will be grateful for to Mike is when I had a sudden pang of doubt about studying music and pursuing it as a possible career. He stopped me after a while, closed the door of his office and, to my utter amazement, got down on his knees, and asked me to pray with him about my future. I did, extremely humbled by his faith and concern for me, and looking back on it, I think that moment was has been a key one in my life (I’m even welling up a bit writing this!). He gave me so many opportunities to play and to conduct and always sprang to my defence if I was maligned in some way. I first had access to a pipe organ through his intervention with the vicar, as the parish organist said that he didn’t want kids playing on his instrument- Mike neatly bypassed him! He likewise inspired my brother John to love music passionately and both of us have chosen music as our careers- in the main due to his inspiration and kindness. There was so much laughter and quirkiness in that music department, that there was always a group of us up there during lunchtimes, just so we could spend time with him, chatting about everything and everything, especially music and God. Thank you so much Mike- you were a brilliant teacher and man and inspired so many of us.

Looking forward to seeing you someday. God bless your rest mate.  (Ross Cobb)

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4 comments on “Mike Hurren (1934 – 2013)

  1. Pingback: Mike Hurren |

  2. The music world has lost an amazing character,always full of enthusiasm and fun.Dearly loved by all who’s lives he touched,So very sad,he will be truely missed

  3. I just wanted to say a few words about Mike Hurren:

    After studying GCSE music and then two years A level music in a class of just three people (state education could still offer such things in those days!), I feel I came to know Mike pretty well. He was a complex, emotional and often moody man but with a passion,love, knowledge and endless enthusiasm for music which he imparted to his students with incredible energy. Now, having had a wonderful career of more than than thirty years as a professional composer and musician, I often think back to those seemingly endless sunny afternoons in the music block at Clacton County High with Mike. Always urging me to listen more intently, think deeper, analyse more accurately, pushing my musical horizons, encouraging me as a composer and above all revealing to me the profound beauty of music.

    Thanks for that gift Mike!

  4. I’m very grateful to Mike Hurren.He always treated us like adults and friends. I loved to throw ideas around with him, up in the music department- with its fag buts lying around and nictone-stained Bluthner keyboard, or in the lounge bar of the Roaring Donkey a few years later. Mike was an inspiration ,as many have said, but it was the way in which he so loved music and that he could impart that love to so many that was so amazing. He wasn’t perfect as a teacher-I remember that he never really got round to analysing our set works for A level,or even play us a recording of one of them! But he was somehow so much bigger than those things which would have sunk a more insipid teacher. We all somehow loved the way he would storm off in assemblies- frightening the Headmaster, and I remember vividly his setting of the wastebin alight- resulting in an evacuation of the New Block. He and I also hatched up a plan to dress up as Arabs and contact the school, pretending to be Saudi Arabian princes wanting to invest in Essex education. Never got that one off the ground.
    I loved his conducting, and how he seemed to become one with the music- Wednesday nights with the Baroque choir opened my ears to music that probably would never have been heard in Clacton, be it the Allegri Miserere, Britten St Nicholas, Bach St Luke Passion, Byrd Masses, Sweelinck motets, Mathias cantatas, Tavener anthems, Haydn’s Creation, Rutter Requiem, Kodaly Missa Brevis, etc. Amazing really, and he taught us all to love it and bring it into our lives. I remember being absolutely terrified auditioning for him to be one of Noye’s kids in the Fludde, but being gleefully amazed as he openly hooted with laughter when one of the auditioned kids stuffed it up. He was fun! as an eleven year old, Noye’s Fludde was the first piece of serious music that I had ever really heard, never mind participate in! What a piece that was- singing it at St James and in the eerie old St Osyth parish church. It was in Britten’s piece that I first heard the sound of the pipe organ, and knew that it was the instrument for me.
    One of the many things I will be grateful for to Mike is when I had a sudden pang of doubt about studying music and pursuing it as a possible career. He stopped me after a while, closed the door of his office and, to my utter amazement, got down on his knees, and asked me to pray with him about my future. I did, extremely humbled by his faith and concern for me, and looking back on it, I think that moment was has been a key one in my life (I’m even welling up a bit writing this!). He gave me so many opportunities to play and to conduct and always sprang to my defence if I was maligned in some way. I first had access to a pipe organ through his intervention with the vicar, as the parish organist said that he didn’t want kids playing on his instrument- Mike neatly bypassed him! He likewise inspired my brother John to love music passionately and both of us have chosen music as our careers- in the main due to his inspiration and kindness. There was so much laughter and quirkiness in that music department, that there was always a group of us up there during lunchtimes, just so we could spend time with him, chatting about everything and everything, especially music and God.

    Thank you so much Mike- you were a brilliant teacher and man and inspired so many of us. Looking forward to seeing you someday.

    God bless your rest mate,
    Ross Cobb

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