David Arthur Dennis (9 March 1948 - 17 January 2017)
By Persephone Dennis (daughter)
David Arthur Dennis was a child prodigy, giving recitals on the piano and organ from a very young age. At sixteen years old, he appeared on the BBC2 QED documentary in 1964 entitled The Exceptional Child. The photo above is from that documentary.
As a student, he studied at The Guildhall School of Music and Sorbonne in Paris. Some of his achievements include Licentiate of The Trinity College of Music (Musicianship), Licentiate of The Royal Academy of Music (Composition), and a Fellow of The Worshipful Company of Organists.
David was a great scholar of liturgical music and he held the post of Director of Music in the counties of Kent and Winchester, and until his untimely death in 2017, more locally in the Benefice of Mortimer in Berkshire. He also contributed greatly to liturgical and secular choral music through numerous performances of choirs under his direction within the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton as well as that of Canterbury. These included Monterverdi Vespers, Faure Requiem, a performance of his own Rock Opera Beckett cast with John Pertwee (the original Dr Who!), as well as countless Choral Evensongs and other choral Offices.
David was gifted composer, performer, a natural improviser and teacher. In addition, he had the rare intuitive ability to understand the mechanics of the mind and this allowed him to accurately assess the needs of individual students/clients and to tailor his teaching appropriately.
Rather than seek to use his musical genius to in any way exalt himself, he aimed to use them to serve humanity in any way possible. Apart from countless pupils and their parents who benefited from his expertise, David lectured at The University of Winchester on the Power of Music and through Music Therapy, to bring about measurable changes in children and adults with mental afflictions and who may have exhausted all other means of help. To this end, David worked successfully with children with autism and adults with other mental and physical disabilities (and their carers) at Labyrinths Home Centre or within the various Care Homes run by Basingstoke Borough Council.
Davids success within this context is testament to his unique ability to use his musical gifts and understanding of the mind to engage and manifest measurable results in all those who were fortunate enough to encounter his work.
By Chris Davies
David Dennis was an accomplished pianist when he arrived at Red Hill School and became a member of the band that was running at the time as a drummer. He played drums as we already had a pianist but he took over on piano in July 1962 when the other pianist (Mark Thewlis) left school. However his talent wasnt wasted as Canon Norwood gave him permission to use the organ at the local church and he sometimes played for the Sunday services when the regular organist was off. He didnt always stick to Hymns Ancient & Modern. I remember one day when were rehearsing in the church when the Canon walked in as David was knocking out a selection of Jerry Lee Lewis numbers on the organ for our delight (it sounded real good). The Canon was not amused. Also he was generally known as Jackie Dennis after the Scottish rock star at the time.
From Peter Still
Click on photo below for full size image: