Alan Carlisle was a well-loved all-round musician and devoted family man.
Photo. Alan Carlislse Facebook page
Henry Wickens remembers his friend Alan Carlisle, the well-loved all-round musician who died at his home in Haller on 8 December 2020 at the age of 72.
Alan studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music, specialising in the French horn and singing, but after a time as a professional musician he decided to make his living with his other talents in the emerging area of IT, and got a job with the UK computing firm ICL in London in 1972.
The story of how he came to Luxembourg is typical of the way the two strands of his life intertwined. ICL was involved in the European Commission’s first automated translation project, SYSTRAN, and it was a colleague of his working in Luxembourg who first invited him here in 1981--not as a computer professional but to sing the role of Nanki-Poo in Pirate Productions’ staging of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado”.
After a couple more flying-visit guest appearances with Pirates, he eventually liked it so much he stayed, joining the IT team in the European Parliament in 1984, where he worked until his retirement in 2006.
He married Pam Rice in 1995 and in 2000 they bought a house in Haller, in the Mullerthal region, where they were our near neighbours.
Alan’s talents as a computer scientist were put to good use at the Parliament, where he helped design the in-house work distribution programme. However, it is for his other accomplishments that he will be best remembered.
I first met him in 1990, when he was conducting the choir of the Anglican Church in Luxembourg. As and when needed he also sang tenor and played the organ. He was a long-standing horn player in Luxembourg’s main amateur orchestra the Luxembourg Philharmonia. In the English-language musical theatre groups New World Theatre Company and Pirate Productions he filled many roles, whether as an actor/singer, music director, lighting techie, arranger of scores, or horn player in the orchestra. He was a member of the Musel Voices under Dafydd Bullock; he joined the medieval/renaissance vocal ensemble The Art of Music on the death of Jim Foulkes in 2006 and sang with them until not long before his own death.
He was always willing to help out with any musical project, and when he and Pam were living in Haller, we put together an ad hoc choir called Cantique, which performed several times in the local area in the early 2000s, reviving for a highly successful final Christmas concert in Waldbillig in 2019.
Alan was also a devoted family man. He and Pam had no children together, but he found his niche as a loving son-in-law, stepfather, step-uncle and de facto grandfather and great-grandfather to Pam’s extended family.