He began his return to the organ, filling in occasionally at his parish church, St. Ann’s in Ancaster. A few years later, a formal position of Organist and Music Coordinator was created for him. Soon thereafter, a full three manual concert organ was installed, and Philip was able to pick up his organ performance from where he left off some twenty years earlier. He has become known throughout the Hamilton area as an organist of great ability and distinction. Philip has received the highest professional certification available for organists in Canada, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Canadian College of Organists (FRCCO).
Philip’s distinguished career as a Conductor began with a return to his love of singing, becoming involved with the McMaster University Choir. Two years later, he was named the Choir’s Conductor and Music Director. In the sixteen years that followed, the Choir became an organization of great artistic distinction, singing a vast array of repertoire, with an ongoing relationship with Hamilton’s professional orchestra, the Hamilton Philharmonic. Accolades from music critics, professional musicians, and the general public constantly grew with the Choir’s artistic development under Philip’s direction, becoming known as the Choir that could “do it all”, and do it on a professional-quality level.
During his tenure with the McMaster Choir, Philip began to expand his conducting interest in the orchestral field. He has conducted a number of Canadian orchestras, including the Hamilton Philharmonic, Orchestra London, Saskatoon Symphony, and the Canada Pops Orchestra. Soloists or groups he has conducted orchestras for are a diverse group, such as operatic bass Robert Pomakov, soprano Monica Whicher, big-band Sinatra-style crooner Matt Dusk, piano virtuoso Stewart Goodyear, the Bare-Naked Ladies, and the Jeans ‘n Classics Band.
In 2008, Philip was named the Music Director and Conductor of the Brantford Symphony Orchestra. He was becoming part of an organization with a long history, but which had experienced some organizational and financial difficulty in recent times. He has helped stabilize the situation, and plans are well underway for an exciting and productive future for the BSO.
Philip’s interests and abilities aren’t restricted to musical areas. In 1974, while still living in Toronto, Philip’s family purchased a large apple orchard in Ancaster, and after several years they moved to the farm. Through all its twenty productive years thereafter, Philip spent most of his spare time working there, primarily responsible for the operation and maintenance of the various machines and vehicles. He could, if you wished, break down your tractor and do a complete engine overhaul. Or, he could just as easily talk about apple production or fresh market field tomato growing. His interests also include fine beer and scotch, camping, and the NHL.
Today, Philip lives beside the family farm. His wife Angeline founded and operates a small private school for children with communication and learning difficulties. They have two boys, Benedict and Peter Tobit (Toby).