David Thomson

Thomson, David. Educator, choir conductor, b Portree, Isle of Skye, 27 Sep 1895, d Saint John, NB, 23 Feb 1979. His family settled in Saint John, NB, in 1914.

Thomson, David

Thomson, David. Educator, choir conductor, b Portree, Isle of Skye, 27 Sep 1895, d Saint John, NB, 23 Feb 1979. His family settled in Saint John, NB, in 1914. After army service in World War I, Thomson, a self-taught musician, formed the Brunswick Singers, a male quartet which was heard on national radio, and performed as the Lumberjacks Quartet with Don Messer. Thomson was choir director at Central Baptist Church in Saint John and also led the popular Capitol Theatre (Saint John) singsong broadcasts begun in 1937 on CHSJ. That same year he founded and was the only director of the 40-voice Carriden Choir, which sang throughout New Brunswick and on the CBC national network until 1967. Modelled on the Glasgow Orpheus Choir of Thomson's uncle Sir Hugh Roberton, the Carriden Choir specialized in unaccompanied part-songs, madrigals, and ballads. Its extensive library was presented in 1967 to the University of New Brunswick in Saint John.

For the Canadian Legion Thomson was district supervisor in charge of recreation for servicemen 1942-6, and for the Kiwanis Club he directed the project 'Let New Brunswick Sing,' 1946-9, which undertook to persuade the provincial government of the need for a school music program. When in 1949 such a program was begun, Thomson was appointed provincial supervisor, and thereafter until 1963 he organized school music teaching, festivals and workshops in New Brunswick. He also ran summer schools 1950-67 at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Active on the founding committee of the CMEA, he also assisted in the formation of the Music Education Council of the New Brunswick Teachers Association.

See also School music.


Further Reading

  • Sweet, Jean. 'He started the whole province singing,' Saint John Times-Globe, 12 Jul 1963

    McCullagh, Harold. The Man Who Made New Brunswick Sing (St Stephen, NB, 1978)