The congregation of Christ Church Cathedral, Fredericton welcomed David Drinkell as director of music in July. He comes among us with his wife, Elspeth. The Cathedral has valued a high standard of music in the past and we are pleased that with David’s expertise and leadership it appears that will continue.
David comes with a long history of accomplishments and experience. He was born in Colchester, Essex in England and had his first paid job as a church organist at twelve years of age! He was paid five shillings per week! Since then, he has earned his BA, FRCO, ADCM, ARCM and has been organist and choir master at many Cathedrals in England, Ireland and for the last ten years, at St. John the Baptist Cathedral, St. John’s, Newfoundland.
A Cathedral is a Cathedral, and it must be a leader in the diocese.
However, that does not mean it must be too serious. He has been quoted to say, “Life is too short to be serious,” Indeed, choir rehearsals are peppered with anecdotes and funny stories about the composers and the music, keeping choristers amused.
“When you play a noisy beast like a church organ, you have to have a sense of humour.” He loves to bring to life all the various sounds the organ can produce.
David’s experience is extensive.
- Colchester Royal Grammar School
- Bristol University,
- Homerton College, Cambridge, England
Church posts have included:
- Easthorpe Church, Essex 1968-1970
- St. Leonard at the Hythe, Colchester 1970-1975, 1978-1979
- Henbury Parish Church, Bristol 1976-1978
- St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, Orkney 1979-1988
- St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, Northern Ireland 1988-2002
- St. John the Baptist Cathedral, Newfoundland 2003-2016
David is known for frequent organ recitals. In Ireland, he played a different program in all 31 Cathedrals, all within one week! In St. John’s, the locals were treated to weekly recitals, totaling 200 consecutive performances. Fredericton audiences will be pleased to learn that he is hoping to continue that custom at Christ Church Cathedral, beginning this year with an Advent series, and continuing each Friday thereafter. He is also hoping that there will be enough interest among youngsters, to form a children’s choir.
His interests are varied and include choral and organ music, food, wine and restaurants and architecture, especially of old churches. He is extremely knowledgeable about many church organs, and regularly posts comments on organ sites by way of the internet with details about church organs.
Accompanying him is his talented wife, Elspeth, who is from the Orkney Isles in Scotland. She has already shown her versatility as a singer, helping in the soprano, alto and tenor sections of the choir, as needed – but not all at the same time! She is looking for employment as an administrator or secretary in the Fredericton area.
Since the position at the Christ Church Cathedral is only part-time, David is also checking out the need for accompanist, adjudicator positions in the Fredericton area.
We are hope David and Elspeth will enjoy being part of our Cathedral church family for a long time.
Photos M. Lewell and G. Hall