David Raymond Dell, composer, publisher, archivist, historian and minister of religion, was born in 1959 in Wellington. He was educated at Fraser Crescent School, Maidstone Intermediate and Upper Hutt College. He was trained in singing, piano, guitar, violin and pipe organ. After working for Radio New Zealand for 5 years as a sound engineer, David trained for the Presbyterian ministry at the University of Otago, where he studied music, drama, playwriting and theology, graduating with a BTheol in 1986. He established a part-time business, Music Design, in 1984, where for 15 years he composed jingles for radio and TV commercials as well as NZ tourism songs.
David served for 5 years as a Presbyterian Minister in Napier and Hastings, where he edited and published New Zealand Praise (1988), a book containing 146 New Zealand written Christian songs and hymns. He then served for 8 years as Pastor of Rimutaka Baptist Church in Upper Hutt, where he published two updates to New Zealand Praise (30 songs and hymns in each). Over these years he also led worship and music workshops in around 100 churches throughout NZ. In 2000 he was the Worship, Music and Creative Ministries Pastor at Crossroads Salvation Army Church in Lower Hutt, followed by a one year position as the minister at the Upper Hutt Uniting Church. Since 2002 he has served as a Chaplain for the NZ Police in the Hutt Valley and also as the National Co-ordinating Chaplain for NZ Police. He is currently Police Chaplain at The Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua.
In 1985 David established an archive, the Sheet Music Archive of New Zealand, which is today known as the Musical Heritage New Zealand Trust. MHNZ is the largest Archive of New Zealand printed music in the world, holding over 10,000 examples of New Zealand music, some of which were written and published in New Zealand as early as the 1850s. The archive is also the largest collection of overseas printed music in New Zealand. David says “it is important to preserve these compositions, as they are important elements in the development of our musical and social history in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
In 2002 David founded his first Take Note Singers group, a choir focused on the joy of singing rather than competitive choral performance. There are currently 250 people involved with the Take Note Singers over six regional groups. David has written hundreds of songs and hymns and has arranged hundreds of pieces for his choirs. He has also used some of the archival material from Musical Heritage New Zealand with Take Note Singers, giving new life to compositions from New Zealand’s early history. He currently lives in Karori, Wellington with his wife Hana.
contemporary NZ Christian songs and hymns
for unison voices and keyboard
for SATB choir and piano, 2m