Dave Detwiler

This page gives us an opportunity to introduce one of our members “up close and personal”. Our featured player this month is Dave Detwiler, Tuba.

detwilerDave in his own words:

I grew up in a very musical family in southern California, with my Mom playing French horn and piano and my Dad playing trombone. Both also were, and continue to be, very active in their church choir. As a result, my three siblings and I all started singing early on, and each picked up an instrument, beginning in third grade: My older brother played the clarinet; my younger sister played the oboe, and my younger brother played the trombone.

As for me, my parents tell me that for as long as they can remember, I was determined to play the tuba. This might have been a result of our family living in Germany for about a year in 1965-66, when I was about 5 years old. So when third grade came along, I began playing a fiberglass sousaphone that was sitting in a special chair (so that I simply had to crawl into it), and even remember taking this horn, minus the bell, home from school to practice!

This continued through middle school, until I began playing a concert tuba in high school, which I quickly took to (although I still played the sousaphone in marching band). By the end of my high school years (1979), I had made it into the All Southern California Honor Band, and spent the last summer of my high school years at the National Music Camp in Interlochen, MI, where I played in the High School Symphonic Band, under some fantastic band conductors, including Frederick Fennell.

Following that summer, I entered the University of Southern California, where I began playing the sousaphone in the Trojan Marching Band, eventually serving as the tuba section leader my last couple of years. At the same time, I studied classical guitar privately, and even joined a barbershop chorus, just for fun! In 1982, I was part of the All American College Marching Band that played for the opening of the Epcot Center at Disneyworld, and in 1984 I played in the marching band that performed in the opening ceremonies of the XXIIIrd Olympiad in Los Angeles, as well as in the smaller band that played at the daily swimming and diving venue.

After graduating that year (1984), I returned to Michigan and joined the counseling staff at the Interlochen Arts Academy for two years (playing tuba occasionally). I then entered seminary back in southern California, after which I served for 11 years as a worship pastor at a church in that area (playing guitar and leading contemporary bands), and now 10 years as a teaching and worship pastor here at Branch Creek Community Church in Harleysville.

Last summer, my son announced that he wanted to play the tuba (without any encouragement from me, I might add), and that revived a long dormant love of mine. While he began playing at Lower Salford Elementary School last fall (and doing quite well – already in Honors Band), I formed a brass ensemble at our church, and shortly after that found out about the MCCB, officially joining in January 2010. And I’m having a blast!

Music is such an important part of my life, both vocationally, and personally. It is wonderful to be playing the tuba again after a 25 year hiatus – especially with the wonderful group that is the MCCB!

Don Kline, personnel manager of the MCCB, says this about Dave:

Dave is a wonderful example of the “arts triangle” using his music in every aspect of his life: spiritual, vocational, aesthetic, parental, and recreational. Using music as a means to practice and teach his faith is a wonderful way to involve a congregation. Many of the MCCB players are involved with music in their place of worship. It is a win-win situation.

Dave’s musical background is excellent. Interlochen is one of the most reputable places for music performance  in our country. I had the opportunity to work under the direction of Frederick Fennell on a European tour with an orchestra. He was director of the wind ensemble at Eastman and then at the University of Miami. Fennell was a master craftsman and an inspiring individual for many players.

Keep up the good work Dave!!!