David Drinkell

Occupation: Cathedral Organist

Age: 51

Hometown: Colchester, Essex

Last book read: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (which he reads every year.)

Zodiac sign: Saggitarius

Words of wisdom: “Life’s too short to be serious… I think that’s important when you work for the church; you can take things too seriously. And when you play a noisy beast like a church organ you have to have a sense of humour!”

The story: If you’re a regular reader of The Scope’s listings, you’re probably familiar with Drinkell’s “Great Casavant organ recitals” at the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist here in town. They’ve been happening every Wednesday for almost four years now, and on June 13 he celebrated his 200th consecutive Wednesday concert.

David Drinkell got his first regular gig as a church organist at the Easthorpe Church in Colchester, Essex in 1968, when he was just 12 years old. Since that time he has worked at several churches across the world as an organist, recitalist, or choral director.

In 2003, he signed on as the organist and choir director at the cathedral.

At his previous jobs he had an assistant that did most of the playing while he conducted the choir, but here he conducts the choir and plays at the same time—keeping contact with the choir through a closed-circuit television.

“There are a couple of screens just above the choir stall. People think they’re watching the hockey, but they’re really watching me,” he says.

“If I have a spare limb I might wave at them occasionally, but if it’s a capella I can go out and stand in front of them.”

— Elling Lien


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