Scott DavidIt didn’t take long for Susan Nothnagle, the accompanist for the Fluvanna Community Singers, to approach Scott David, the interim pastor at a local church, about joining the chorus after hearing him sing at a memorial service two years ago. His wife and daughter also joined as well.

Upon hearing the news that the beloved choral director, Horace Scruggs, was hanging up his baton for good, David was approached again, this time by Scruggs himself. Scruggs encouraged David to apply for the position. David had substituted as director for him multiple times with the choir. He was then contacted by the board and was asked to be interviewed.

“I was very pleased and blessed to be elected to serve the choir as director,” David said.

David is a product of the 60s and 70s, growing up during the era when singing families and groups such as the Jackson 5 and the Osmonds and TV shows like the Partridge Family were popular.

“My parents and three brothers traveled around Michigan for many years singing in churches. I continued to sing with my brothers in high school,” he said. He remained active in church with singing groups, choirs and bands. At age 20 he joined the Army, which eventually brought him to Virginia where he met his wife.

He attended Christopher Newport University (CNU) working on a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in vocal performance. While at CNU, he led musical programs at three churches in the Newport News area. After leaving CNU he continued to lead music programs full-time in churches for 20 years.

Some were disappointed when they heard Scruggs was leaving. Anyone taking his place might have some large shoes to fill. But those who have performed with David look forward to working with him.

“The Fluvanna Community Singers have a reputation for presenting great music with excellence. It also has a history of accomplished directors. I was blessed to sit under Horace’s leadership and learn from him,” said David. “Not only is Horace an excellent director, he is proficient on the piano and other instruments and he can write music. He is also a very kind and humble person. His shoes are too big for me to fill. I hope to build on the excellent foundation he has left with the singers.”

David said that choral music provides the platform to create a unique and powerful musical sound that can only result when many people combine their vocal gifts. “I love when a piece of choral music sweeps the listener away emotionally as they listen. I have enjoyed this experience over and over in all of the concerts I have been able to participate in as director and singer. And as most of my choral experience has been in the church, the message of the lyrics gives worship to God,” he said.
“I am inspired when the choir experiences the ‘wow’ moment during the choral rehearsals. It is thrilling to watch a singer stop during a song because they have encountered the moment when the song touches the heart. Those moments are priceless. If the choir member can experience these moments in rehearsal then we may be able to help the audience experience those moments in the concert,” he said. David hopes the singers see in him enthusiasm and joy for singing and his passion to direct and encourage them. He also wants them to know that they are essential to the choir and that singing is fun.

David said he believes his biggest challenge will be to keep the choir fresh and exciting for the singers and the audience year after year and to balance the difficulty level of the music with the choir’s ability, selecting music that is neither too easy nor too hard.

“I need to work hard to attract additional singers of all ages to join this choir. The majority of the singers are my age or older. I would like to encourage high school students, college students, young adults and others to come and join us,” he said.

When planning the upcoming holiday concert, David selected songs that have not been performed in the last four or five years.

“I introduced three new songs to the group this season. We have a nice selection of music, featuring Christmas classics and a few new tunes. The format that has been used each year including the community sing-a-long will remain in place. I may add a little extra drama to the concert experience,” he said.

Jeff Suling started the group 30 years ago. Prior to Scruggs, it was Kirk Dunklee and briefly Roger Sethmann who conducted the choir. All of them brought their own style to the group. David hopes that his signature style will be his energy, joy and enthusiasm for the music, the choir and the audience.

“I love a concert where the audience can ‘feel’ the music,” David said. “I enjoy songs that will make one cry or laugh. I hope that each concert is infused with many ‘goose bump’ moments. I hope the audience will see and hear the Fluvanna Community Singers’ love of the music and our desire to lead you into a moving musical experience.”