Messages from David's Colleagues
Messages from Some of David's Colleagues
David Davidson was truly a saint in the word of handbells. He inspired so much admiration from everyone who worked with him, primarily those who rang under his direction. His work with Distinctly Bronze signifies the utmost in musicianship. The recordings of their concerts are truly treasures of our musical art and are the epitome of musical performance.
He will be sorely missed in the world of handbells. His leadership was of unquestioned height and dimension, both as a conductor and in his many creative years of leadership as president of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers, where he set forth new trends.
His example of life in general and music in particular, is superb and unmatchable.
Thank you, David, for your wonderful life. The rest of the world is better for your having been such an important part of it.
Donald E. Allured
David Davidson has been the object of my admiration for years and years—such a consummate musician and conductor! The first remembrance I have is of him directing my composition, “Medley of Patriotism” at the Grove City, PA festival. That was exciting (and so long ago)! Other memories include several festivals and conferences that involved us both. In Hawaii at the final concert, he stayed so cool and controlled when the rest of us were suffering from heat and were tired from standing. My favorite memory is when, at the national festival in Berkeley, David—with Judy, and others from the Board—came to our home for a little refreshment. We put on a funny tape that somehow affected David and he was almost rolling on the floor doubled up in laughter. It was good to see that side of him—great and terrific memories of a REAL person.
We have lost one of the finest directors and friends in the handbell world. David and I go back to our high school teaching days when he was in Lebanon, Ohio. He and I taught at the same school; he did instrumental and I did choral, but not concurrently (he followed me by a few years). We even served at the same church, Lebanon First United Methodist Church. When David left public education and went to a Presbyterian church in the Cincinnati area, he asked what he should do to improve his vocal/choral skills. I answered him with a question: what would you say if I were a voice person without an instrumental background and I asked you what I had to do to be an instrumental director? He obviously got the message and became one of the finest directors in both fields, choral and instrumental.
It was David who was the first to ask me to direct a handbell festival in the Cincinnati area back in the early 70's. This was the first invitation I had out of my home area, Columbus. He shall be remembered not only for what he achieved on the podium, but also for being a friend and colleague to so many of us.
I, like so many others, owe him so much. He shall be missed.
David was an inspiring conductor who raised the musical and artistic level of handbell ringing. I will miss him as a person and a leader in the handbell world. My prayers go out to his wife and family.
It seems that we've always known David Davidson. We first knew him as a young man, successfully handling huge AGEHR responsibilities, and we were privileged to know him through the years as he became a mature, consummate musician and conductor who took handbell ringing to new heights. Even when he was fighting his own battle with cancer, he was always concerned about the health and well-being of others, never failing to ask how they were. His vision, wisdom, leadership. and high musical standards will have a lasting effect on the Guild and on all who were privileged to know and work with him.
Martha Lynn and Felix Thompson
I had an opportunity to get to know David on a more personal level when he was our guest clinician on one of our cruises. We had so much fun as well as a wonderful learning and ringing time. Heaven will be a much more musical place with David there.
I don’t think that David Davidson’s prodigious musical talent was his greatest gift. Before David the musician ever gave a downbeat or played a note or taught a class there was David the person:
encouraging our efforts, laughing at our jokes, and seeking our opinions. We flocked to him unashamedly because David had the ability to make us feel somehow more important and perhaps better than we really were. That ability had to be his greatest gift, and he passed it on freely to countless people…
Rest easy, friend David – but know that you are already sorely missed. The words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” uttered millenniums ago, were spoken for people just like you
David and I first met in 1991, in Coventry, England, of all places. I knew his name and reputation, and that's all. We had many occasions to meet after that and I had the joy of not only sharing the podium with him twice since 2002, but taking his conducting classes and being under his baton at Distinctly Bronze a number of times. He was present at quite a few crossroads in my life and always had a simple bear hug, few words. What impressed me about David musically was his ability to convey and evoke the necessary response to the printed page, somehow buried within all the little ink blobs on that page. I was never able to write down a single concrete thing he said, but it was never necessary. He did it through pictures, analogies, history, personal experiences he had... more "word poems" than anything. He was "salt of the earth", yet somehow beyond earthly. My favorite times with him though, were those very earthy moments, sharing a meal, laughing at bad jokes, AND sharing pictures of our grandchildren, who he obviously adored beyond all things. We were contemporaries in that regard. For Judi and all your family, thank you for sharing this larger-than-life man with us all. We can't possibly fully share your loss. He left his "touch" on so many and we shall honor his memory forever.
I’ve known David for over 25 years, and he’s become as close as a brother – which is what years, and history, can do in a friendship. I don’t think any of us can say we’ve lost a friend today, because I believe anyone who’s met or worked with David has only gained from him. It’s true for all of us who love this man, that if you met David Davidson, you met a friend. He looked people warmly in the eye. With a genuine smile, a one-of-a-kind laugh and a quest for anything with integrity, David lived life fully. The world of handbells was only a portion of David’s musical journey, but his influence impacted the handbell community like few others, and will continue to make an impact for years to come. He was the consummate conductor and communicator in our field. My wife, Jane, and I had the opportunity to spend a few days with the Davidson’s over the holidays this past January. We were reminded of David’s keen integrity for all things good.….art galleries, shopping, dining, reading (we both read “The Shack” and had continual discussions about it), plus introducing Judi and him to Phase 10, and to the music of Eva Cassidy – what could be better? While there, we soon learned David didn’t simply take his morning walk to the grocery store and back, either; he did it while listening to a Brahm’s symphony. The fireplace was kept blazing all day long, by David, between score study of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” (which he conducted this past spring) and keeping up with all of his Facebook friends! Those days were filled with the best memories. David loved talking about his children, too, – he was so proud of Chris and Jenna for the life choices they’ve made. He and Judi also shared the joy of grandparenting with us, and agreed that there couldn’t be anything better in life!
So, I can’t say ‘goodbye’ to my friend today. I’ll continue to thank God for him and know that David will remain a part of me. I’ll definitely be a better musician for the remainder of my life because of the many things I learned from this musical giant, and gentle friend.
Dance with Jesus, my friend, and live!