James S. Darling (1929-2021)

James S. Darling, longtime organist and choirmaster of Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg, has died at 91. His wife, Mary Lee Darling, had died earlier this month.

“Jock” Darling, as he was known, was a native of Hampton and an alumnus of Yale University and the University of Michigan. He joined Williasmsburg’s historic Episcopal church in 1961. He also taught at the College of William and Mary and was a music consultant for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He performed as a harpsichordist as well as an organist.

Darling inaugurated organ recital series at the church and in William and Mary’s Wren Chapel. In the latter series, he played an instrument brought from an English manor house to W&M in 1953, “an authentic 18th-century organ in an 18th-century setting,” as he liked to say. In 2003, he published “Let the Anthem Swell,” a study of Bruton Parish’s organ and music-making at the church.

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