Meet Musical Director
David Acres joined the choir of Exeter Cathedral, England in September 1960 as a probationer, where he was instructed in music theory, piano and voice by Lionel Dakers, Director of Music at Exeter Cathedral and, then after, Director of the Royal School of Church Music at Addington Palace, Greater London. David was appointed Head Chorister of the Cathedral choir in 1965, and during his tenure became the primary soloist, taking part in multiple recordings and broadcasts (one of which, “Christmas Music”, is still available today!). He sat and gained his musical theory examinations up to grade 4 and piano up to grade 5.
From Exeter, David went on to Bethany in Kent and began acting as well as singing: he formed Kent Consort, a quartet of singers performing Renaissance and Early Music in chapels and churches in the region. In 1970, David began singing in London and the Home Counties for several different ensembles:
St Clement Dane's in London, St Mark's and St Mary's in Reigate and St Paul's in Dorking. He became a member of the Brockham Ensemble, appearing around the UK and EU as both a standalone ensemble and as the featured guests of several orchestras and collegiate choirs.
In the 1970s David also began studying with Robin Gritton and he eventually returned to the Exeter area and joined the Loosemore Singers based out of Buckfastleigh in Devon, also singing as a deputy lay clerk at Exeter Cathedral and with The Torbay Singers - whom he directed for a short time. The Loosemore Singers was a Devon-based ensemble, giving concerts in St John's, Smith Square, London, Exeter Cathedral, Buckfast Abbey and Northern Brittany. During this time David also sang at The Royal Albert Hall.
In the 1980s David became involved with the Imperial Singers in Exeter, an a cappella choir of mixed voices, and ultimately founded his own choir, Counterpoint, the unique identity of which lay in its programming of concerts that would illuminate periods of history not only through music, but also by illustrating these periods through extensive use of program notes, illustrations, instrumentation and dialogue. Counterpoint has, since its inception, performed these multi-faceted programs in many parts of the UK and France. During this time he also founded and sang with The Kent's Consort and The Grandisson Consort, small ensembles of singers who performed in local churches, halls, venues and also at Buckfast Abbey.
Counterpoint rapidly gained recognition and swiftly became the premier choir in the South West of England. Over the ensuing years, the ensemble has recorded seven albums of sacred music, made multiple television and radio appearances, and took part in the televised sections of the BBC's Sainsbury's Choir of the Year in 1994. Counterpoint continued to flourish into the new century, and was employed by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to appear in Devon, Somerset or Cornwall. Additional recordings and appearances on radio and television were to follow, with Counterpoint often headlining events and concerts in Exeter Cathedral and Buckfast Abbey, Winchester Cathedral and Truro Cathedral. Their latest CD was released in November, 2012, and is a collection of Christmas carols spanning multiple centuries: David transcribed several of the works that were recorded, as well as having directed the ensemble and co-produced the disc.
David continued to perform as a professional singer during this period, as well, becoming a regular countertenor in Exeter Cathedral Choir and a Lay Clerk at Buckfast Abbey. He sang at the cathedrals of Wells, Winchester, Chichester and Gloucester and has also appeared extensively in the UK, Northern Ireland, France and Norway, performing with several ensembles and with Buckfast Abbey's Schola Choir. He appears on four Exeter Cathedral Choir recordings, including “Ascribe unto The Lord" on Herald Records and “The Psalms of David, Vol. 1" on Priory Records, and has recorded on the Alpha, Priory, Signum and Herald record labels.
In early 2011, David formed the new a cappella ensemble Antiphon based at Buckfast Abbey with Michael Vian Clark (Musical Director at Buckfast Abbey) and Matthew Cann (Decani Bass Lay Clerk at Exeter Cathedral). Members were drawn from professional ensembles and cathedral and chapel choirs throughout England, including singers from Wells Cathedral, Gloucester Cathedral, Winchester Cathedral and Exeter Cathedral. In addition to founding the ensemble, David also sang first alto and was involved with the preparation of music, funding, finances and publicity, including the design and content of the programs.
In 2012, David joined the choir of Trinity Cathedral, Cleveland, as a guest vocalist, singing the daily services with them on their visit to Wells Cathedral, Somerset, England. He swiftly became great friends with many members of the choir, including their director, Todd Wilson, which resulted in numerous requests to visit the US and sing with them in Cleveland.
David moved to Cleveland in the Fall of 2013 and became a member of the Trinity Cathedral Choir and the Trinity Cathedral Singers. He sang in a season of Christmas concerts with Quire Cleveland in 2013, and performed with several ensembles and choirs over the following nine months. Before moving to Charleston in May, 2014, David sang to a large audience in Cleveland Cathedral in a concert entitled 'The Three Countertenors' with John McElliott and Joe Schlesinger, to great critical acclaim.
David co-founded the ensembles Contrapunctus Early Music (Cleveland, Ohio, US), The King's Counterpoint and Cantores Charleston (Charleston, South Carolina, US) with his wife, Dr. Judith Overcash Acres, and the choirs have very quickly established themselves on the music scene in their respective cities. Contrapunctus has to date performed multiple critically-acclaimed concerts at Trinity Cathedral and the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist in Cleveland, while The King's Counterpoint premiered to overwhelmingly positive responses at Christmas, 2014, and has been appearing regularly since that time - including making forays every two years to the UK for Choral Residencies at Wells Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral, and Westminster Abbey. Cantores Charleston is the newest of David's ensembles, having premiered in January, 2019.
David is currently the Director of Music at Old St. Andrew's Parish Church in Charleston, SC, where Judith also serves as Director of Handbell Choirs and Section Leader for the Parish Choir. Old St. Andrew's was one of 10 Anglican churches established in South Carolina by the Church Act of 1706, which named the Church of England as the official Church of the State. To find out more about Old St. Andrew's, the country's oldest active church structure south of Virginia, the only remaining cruciform church int he Carolinas, and the 27th oldest church in the United States, please visit their website, www.oldstandrews.org.
Judith & David on Folly Beach in Charleston, SC