David and Beverley Parsons
David and Beverley were both born and raised in the Sydney suburbs.
David, by his own admission, has led a charmed life. Being the only son in a family of seven children, there was great excitement when he was born fifth in line on the 31st, May 1935 in the rectory of All Souls Anglican Church, Leichhardt where his father, Leland, was the minister. It was a lovely old two storey house built in 1887, where the balustrade could be slid down; marbles could be played on the lino on the stairs and the basement under the house made an ideal cubby house.
His father was kind, but rather strict. For every Sunday service, David remembers having to sit with his six sisters in the front pew and behave himself or else. The church had a very large choir (some fifty people where his father was also the choirmaster) and a very large pipe organ. He grew up taking more than passing interest in the church music. With a Licentiate Degree in Music, David’s father decided to have him taught the piano when he was eight, continuing through the grades for the next seven years.
It was the church organ that attracted David the most, so at the age of twelve, his father taught him the fundamentals of playing the church organ. If David were not at home, his mother would usually find him belting out all kinds of music on the church organ. David is convinced that it was God’s plan he become a church musician, and at the age of 14, he was appointed organist in his church. From then on, the training and experience gained over the following sixteen years until his father’s retirement (with David as the organist and his father as choirmaster) the foundations of a very successful career in church music were laid.
While David was growing up at Leichhardt, a little girl named Beverley was doing the same in Epping. She was born into a church-going family with strong ties to St Alban’s Anglican Church, Epping. Beverley’s father, Stacy Atkin held the roles of Rector’s Warden and Superintendent of the Sunday School, and her mother, Edna took leadership positions in the women’s and social activities.
Beverley grew up loving music, particularly organ music. Music lessons began from the age of six, and she developed a strong love of singing and at the age of 12 was asked to join the senior choir at church.
So it seemed only destiny that these two should meet and this occurred in March 1956 when they were both on holidays at Bundanoon. Romance ensued, they married and settled down to raising a family.
In 1965 David became organist and choirmaster at St Philip’s Church of England, Eastwood for 13 years, and in 1978 his next appointment was to St Matthew’s, West Pennant Hills where he is currently organist.
Loving all kinds of music, David soon developed a love of the theatre organ, and remembers first playing a Wurlitzer organ in the Plaza Theatre in George Street, Sydney, where Reubert Hayes was the organist. After the evening session one Saturday in 1952, Reubert allowed him to bring the organ up on the hoist and play a few tunes. What an exciting time that was; and from then on, he has developed a style of his own, playing popular music on all of the remaining theatre organs in Sydney and beyond. This has led him to some notable appointments such as Assistant City Organist (Theatre) in Sydney, playing the Sydney Town Hall Grand Organ for many concerts; playing the opening concert on the restored Wurlitzer Organ in Willoughby Town Hall and an inaugural recitalist at the Sydney Opera House Grand Organ, always playing to record crowds.
Since 1970, David and Beverley have been entertaining tens of thousands of people in fundraising efforts in their own home.
As a result, in 1985 David was awarded The Order of Australia Medal (O.A.M.) and in 1992 the Paul Harris Fellow Medal (Rotary International’s highest award) for services to the community. He is also the Concert Performing Artist for the Pipeless Pipe Organ Company, demonstrating the Ahlborn Galanti.
During his career David has recorded a total of seven LP’s, CD’s and cassettes, three of which are currently available at his concerts.
Now David and Beverley are busier than ever, giving lunchtime organ concerts to retirement villages and social groups. It is not uncommon for groups of people to visit their Sydney home from as far a field as Wollongong, Bowral and Port Stephens. David’s extensive career takes both of them all over the east coast of Australia, to Tasmania and Norfolk Island with his concert tours bringing pleasure to thousands of people.
This is a brief account of one of Sydney’s most well-known and talented musicians.