David Burridge, 'A Musical Life'

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How a young lad aged 15 left secondary school and proceeded to make his way successfully through a world of music was described to Dover Rotarians at their most recent lunchtime meeting. Following school David Burridge joined the Royal Marines School of Music for three years playing in the Staff Band having learned to play the Euphonium and the Cello.

Moving on to obtain a Music Degree he went into teaching and stayed at the second school in which he taught, Chatham House Grammar School, for 24 years following which he became an Advanced Skills Teacher before becoming the Secondary Schools Advisor for Music in Kent with oversight of some 50 schools.

He became the conductor of the County Wind Orchestra at the annual Benenden Summer School before training to be and becoming an Ofsted Inspector but just one sortie as an Inspector was more than enough and he undertook no further visits to schools in that role.

David joined the Deal Festival in 2011-2012 as Education Director and collaborated with award-winning librettist Martin Riley in two productions The Burning of the Boats, set on the night in 1784 when William Pitt ordered the burning of the boats on Deal beach to suppress the lucrative local smuggling trade, and The Weight, which related to the Kent Coalfields where he was to have a connection as conductor of both the Betteshanger and Snowdon Brass Bands.

After Deal Festival, he was involved with The Big Reveal in 2013, a beginners and intermediate string orchestra project designed to celebrate the progress of fledgling string players, young and old, and to inspire and motivate them to continue their exciting learning journey and from which emerged “Dancing on Armistice Day”.

Currently he is associated with Revelation Strings at St Mary’s in Ashford. In answer to questions he was full of praise of music teaching in many local schools and the dedication of staff within them to encourage young people to pursue their musical talents on various instruments. His current hope is to establish an Annual Rosemary Dunn Concert for which he has applied for funding. Rosemary Dunn was the former Head of Music at Dover Girls’ Grammar School and a prime mover of the Deal Festival.

His early influence in music came from his father who played in a works brass band and his own involvement in Haslemere Church Choir which he said gave him a tremendous grounding for his subsequent journey, which continues, through a world of music. Introduced by Past President Stephen Yarrow, Founder and Conductor of the local Pharos Choir, David finished his talk, which he had illustrated in a Powerpoint presentation, with the finale to The Burning of the Boats performed in the Nye Hall of the Duke of York’s School.