(Robert Henry) Charles Palmer. Organist-choirmaster, composer, teacher, b Ringwood, Hampshire, England, 24 Jun 1916; BA music (Oxford) 1937, ARCO 1938, MA music (Oxford) 1945, B MUS (Oxford) 1956. He was brought to Canada as a child but was educated and pursued some of his career in England. He was a chorister 1927-30 at St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle under Walford Davies, and studied music 1930-4 at Clifton College with Douglas Fox. He studied at Oxford University's Wadham College 1934-7 under Hugh Allen and Thomas Armstrong and was organist-choirmaster 1938-9 at the Royal Chapel, Windsor Great Park, and master of music 1956-61 at Westminster Abbey Choir School. He served in the Royal Air Force 1939-45.
During Palmer's first professional period in Canada he was organist-choirmaster 1948-52 at Fairfield United Church and 1953-6 at Metropolitan United Church, Victoria, BC. After moving to England in 1956, he wrote an article on 'Music in Victoria, B.C.' (MT, Jul 1957). Returning to Victoria in 1961 he became the organist at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oak Bay (Victoria), served 1966-9 as conductor of the University of Victoria Choir, and in 1967 began teaching piano at the Victoria Cons. Several of his songs were sung by John Goss. His choral work 'Fancies' Knell' (1948) and the chamber-orchestral Little Piece for the Pops have been performed on CBC radio; Music for Strings and Brass (1962) and Arabesques for Solo Oboe (1968) have also been performed. His major work, a Te Deum for chorus and orchestra (1938), was performed by the University of Victoria Choir in 1987. A String Quartet (1956) remains to be heard. A modest man, Palmer has never pressed the cause of his music, and his considerable abilities as a pianist and accompanist have not been widely recognized.