A good friend of ours, David A. Gell, died on March 2. We will be attending the memorial service tomorrow.
David, a Canadian by birth, was organist at Trinity Episcopal Church, Santa Barbara for many years. We first met in 1997, when the Cantori Domino choir (from here in LA) was doing its first workshop with Sir David Willcocks, at the Casa de Maria in Montecito (our services were at Trinity). I was doing some of the organ playing for this and subsequent workshops, so was in contact with David.
Quickly we became good personal friends as well, and he liked my playing enough to kindly invite me to perform on Trinity’s Advent organ concert series several times in subsequent years. He singlehandedly ran this series, one of the finest parts of the music scene in Santa Barbara, always followed by a festive dinner, hosted by his gracious wife Carolyn, at their home.
He also had me play an evening concert on Trinity’s excellent new console just last November, for which he kindly turned pages. Little did I know that would be our final collaboration.
I will remember him for his great enthusiasm and optimism for his profession, his breadth of repertoire, and sense of humor. There is a slogan: “Don’t let your music die.” David didn’t.
I know the memorial service, with Emma Lou Diemer at the organ and the excellent choir of Trinity directed by Grey Brothers, will be both appropriate and memorable.
Well done, David. We’ll miss you much. Ave atque vale!