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David Allan Drinkwater dead at 92

January 22, 2022
David Allan Drinkwater
David Allan Drinkwater

David Allan Drinkwater, 92, died in New Brunswick, New Jersey, on October 14, 2021. He was born December 16, 1928, in Kokomo, Indiana, and earned his Bachelor of Music degree in 1952 from Indiana University, Bloomington, where he studied organ with Oswald Ragatz. Also in 1952 he took second prize in the American Guild of Organists National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance.

After service in the United States Air Force he attended the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary, New York City, where his teachers included Robert Baker, Seth Bingham, Margaret Hillis, and Ifor Jones, earning the Master of Sacred Music degree in 1957. While at Union he served as assistant organist/choirmaster to Searle Wright at St. Paul’s Chapel, Columbia University, and assistant organist/choirmaster at Temple Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue, holding the latter position until 1977.

From 1955 until 1998 he taught at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, conducting the Kirkpatrick Chapel Choir and serving as university organist. From 1965 until 1984 he was chief editor of choral and organ music for J. Fischer & Co. and, from 1970, for H. W. Gray Music. His Wedding Service Music was first published by J. Fischer & Co. in 1968. Drinkwater and William Strickland were general editors of H. W. Gray’s “Contemporary Organ Series” for which he designed the award-winning cover.

He was a member of the American Guild of Organists, the Organ Historical Society, Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and the St. Wilfrid Club in New York City. From 1980 to 1984 he served on the selection committee for Fulbright Grants in Music.

David Allan Drinkwater is survived by his husband, Jonathan Clarke Mills, generations of former students, and the members of his and his husband’s families. A celebration of his life will be held March 26, 2:00 p.m., in Kirkpatrick Chapel, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.


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