(Daily Hampshire Gazette)
Compiled by Steve Pfarrer
Date published: 1/16/2004
Versatile might be the word that comes to mind when talking about David Kidwell — or perhaps multitalented, or, more specifically, multitalented musician. Kidwell, of Leeds, has worn many musical hats since moving to the Valley in the early 1990s from his native Virginia: music director, composer, accompanist and instructor.
Kidwell plays four instruments, including piano, and has been an organist for church services since he was 12. His current gigs include serving as music minister of Northampton's Edwards Church and conductor of the Holyoke Civic Symphony. In addition, he's a published composer who premiered his first big orchestral piece, Shenandoah: A Symphonic Portrait, in 2002 with the Holyoke Symphony. He'll be conducting the symphony in Virginia in March.
Over the years, Kidwell has also directed or conducted the music for dozens of performances by community and semiprofessional groups like the Valley Light Opera. But sometimes he has to unwind, he says: "I can't bear to listen to serious music when driving to and from rehearsals or performances. I prefer KISS-FM or sports/talk call-in shows."
Full name: Kenneth David Kidwell
Nickname: None, especially not Dave
Date and place of birth: June 22, 1968, Richmond, Va.
Marital status: Married to Jacqueline Haney Kidwell
Educational background: Caroline High School, Milford, Va., 1985; Mary Washington College, B.A. in music, 1989; Hartt School of Music, University of Hartford, M.A. in music composition, 1991
Pets: Two cats, Patches and Misha
What words come to mind when you look in the mirror? Can I get by without trimming my beard today?
Favorite book: The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
Favorite movie: Amadeus
Favorite television show: Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Favorite song: Not exactly a song, but Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland
Hobbies: Hiking, bicycling, chess, photography, model railroading, the Civil War
Formative experience: My father's disability, starting when I was 13
Funniest memory from school: Trying to write a Monopoly program in BASIC on my school's TRS-80 computer
What's the strangest job you ever held? Researching real estate titles for a lawyer — I had no idea what I was doing.
Favorite comfort food: Pizza
When you want to get away from it all, where do you go? To bed, or to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia
Favorite way to splurge: Buying books or electronic gadgets
Favorite item of clothing you own: Slippers from L.L. Bean
Best present you've ever received: It sounds corny, but the gift of music
One little-known fact about you: I graduated from high school in three years
What was your most irrational act? Moving 500 miles away from my family
Secret fantasy: To be the conductor of a major symphony orchestra
One product, trend or fashion you'd like to see return: Aside from the Red Sox winning trend between 1903 and 1918, I'd like to see the return of personal accountability
Achievement of which you are most proud: Making a living as a musician
Pet peeves: Bad grammar and bad drivers
Favorite way to blow off steam: Take a walk or score a baseball game
Most valuable lesson you've learned so far: Perfection is not only overrated, it's impossible to achieve
Person you'd give the most to meet: Leonard Bernstein
One thing you do better than anyone else: Get quality music out of amateur musicians
What gives you the creeps? Two movies - The Wizard of Oz and Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Worst advice your mother ever gave you: Get a minor in business administration so you'll have something to fall back on in case music doesn't work out
Most embarrassing moment: Starting the doxology on the organ, at full volume, at the wrong point in the worship service — and on Easter Sunday, no less!
One thing you would change about yourself: I wouldn't stress out as easily
People who knew you in high school thought you were: Shy and smart
Personal strengths: Imagination, dedication, people skills in rehearsal
Personal weaknesses: Passivity, temper, people skills outside of rehearsal
Whom do you most admire? My father, for his courage and perseverance in the face of a life-altering disability.