R.I.P David Clark Isele

Well-known composer David Clark Isele passed away. He was 70. He earned degrees from Oberlin Conservator and the Eastman School of Music, and taught at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Tampa. He is known especially for the Lamb of God of his Holy Cross Mass, and his Psalms for the Church Year. May he rest in peace.


  1. Lux aeterna, luceat eis. I first met David when he was a student at Eastman, and I was in high school. 10 years later I attended the Liturgical Conference at Notre Dame, and went to an after concert party at David’s home. He made the most wonderful omelets. Always enjoy playing the wonderful music that he left us.

  2. A true gift to the community of believers who sing. Composers who worked within the Church in his time and had to stand on an undulating foundation and he did it well. God’s peace, David.

  3. A great pioneer, one of the members of Bob Blanchard’s CFCW (Composers’ Forum for Catholic Worship) — how many people remember that? — and a very sad loss.

  4. I had the pleasure of attending the same high school as David in Harrisburg, PA and of playing/singing in the same musical ensembles as David. Looking back now, I realize how gifted we both were with teachers/directors/conductors who encouraged David and offered him opportunities to perform his organ compositions. Only now am I looking for more videos and recordings of his compositions. As a retired Lutheran (ELCA) pastor, I so appreciate the gifts he has given to the worship life of the Church.

  5. It was my honor and pleasure to know David as a student at Notre Dame with the Notre Dame Glee Club and he as the director. I was in the club when he came to Notre Dame and I can still remember the first rehearsal with us that he was officially dubbed “Coach” and remained so throughout his tenure with us.

    Coach was witty and kind and sincere and a great musical talent who always treated each of us in the club with great respect and personal consideration. I feel his direction was always creative and professional and at the same time he “pushed the boundaries” of the Glee Club to have aspects which were much more multidimensional and expansive than traditions glee clubs of then and even today. I was never board at rehearsals and performances with him were exciting and yet always striving to be the best. I always wanted to sing my best for him,

    I was always glad to see him when I occasionally returned for reunions (as did he ) and I know he had a special place in his heart for “his” Glee Club. I feel so fortunate to have seen an talked to him at the last Glee Club reunion.

    To me , he will always be my “Coach” of the Glee Club and always will be. I mourn his passing greatly .

  6. I also sang with David in the Chapel Choir at Notre Dame – absolutely my best experience there. I wrote a tribute to him on my blog http://www.poetsinews.com, along with a photo of him as he was then – dapper – circa 1974. We had a great telephone conversation in April, during which he was in good humor and full of stories….I shall miss him.

  7. I met David when he was an Eastman grad student. He was a close friend of my teacher, Sue Seid-Martin and we attended many parties with them . My parish still sings the Lamb of God from his Holy Cross Mass. It’s in their musical memory!

  8. I just returned from Coach’s memorial party (as he requested in his will) in Tampa. It was wonderful to meet his sister Bronwyn and his son Curtis. Equally wonderful, performing a couple of Coach’s pieces (“The Water is Wide,” “Let Us Break Bread…” and “Benediction”) before the Tampa crowd, at a concert hall Coach had a significant hand in designing. A notch down on wonderfulness (because it happens with a little more regularity) reuniting with my Notre Dame Glee Club and Notre Dame Chorale brethren and sistren (?). Coach was a wonderful guy, and wonderful teacher, and an eternal composer. RIP.

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