David Alexander Llewellyn Collins
David Collins, a singer, versatile musician, conductor, and teacher, has taught music at all levels for almost thirty years. He has sung numerous times as a soloist in oratorios, opera, and major choral works.
David was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, the younger of two children and the only son of Walter Reginald and Sylvia Alexander Morgan Collins. Music was an important part of life in the home since his mother was a singer who taught voice at Canadian Union College, later Canadian University College, for many years. Although he took piano lessons briefly at age ten, he did not study music seriously until his early twenties, when he took voice lessons from Merla Aikman at the University of Alberta and decided to pursue a career in music.
He attended Andrews University in 1978 and then returned in 1980 to attend CUC, teach voice as an adjunct faculty member, and complete a music degree in 1983. He was active in choral activities on campus, featured at times as a soloist, and was a member of a popular college male quartet that included Kelvin Hill, Steve Cassimy, and Jim Sharpe, which toured widely throughout Canada and made a record. During this time Cheryl Villegas was hired by CUC to teach piano in 1981, and she and David became acquainted since their studios were across the hall from each other.
Upon graduating, David accepted a position at Curtis-Horne Junior Academy in Regina, Saskatchewan, where he taught for the next three years. In 1986 he married Cheryl and they moved to Hawaii, where he taught music and English at Hawaiian Mission Academy, and she taught at Leeward Junior College for a year.
A highlight for them during that year was Dave Brubeck’s coming to Hawaii to conduct a performance of his Festival Mass to Hope with the Ecumenical Choir, in which David was a member. It was thrilling experience for him to sing as a soloist in that work and for them to visit with Brubeck and have him autograph a score.
In 1987 they returned to Canada to teach at Curtis-Horne Junior Academy for two years, he teaching junior high classes and music and she teaching piano lessons. During this time he continued his education and earned the first of several teaching endorsements that would eventually include English, history, and computer science. David is a member of the Alpha Beta Kappa honor society. In recent years he also has run a computer consulting business in his spare time.
Following three years at CHJA, the Collinses moved to Oregon, where he directed the band and choir and taught classroom music at Hoodview Junior Academy, and she taught piano at Linfield College and also assisted at HJA. During the next sixteen years, he was a frequent soloist in choral productions and was a member of the Portland Opera Chorus.
He also took voice lessons at LC from Gwen Leonard. In June 2004 he participated in the Richard Miller Voice Institute at Linfield College and was chosen to sing as a soloist in the final recital. In 2002 the HVJA yearbook was dedicated to both Collinses for their contributions in music at the school.
In 2005 the Collinses moved to Farmington, New Mexico, where he had accepted a position at Piñon Hills Christian School. She joined the faculty at San Juan College in January 2006 to teach piano and music theory and history, a position she presently holds. He left PHCS at the end of their first year there when he realized that his philosophy in education was at odds with that of the program at that school.
In January 2008 David began teaching voice lessons and classes at SJC, a position he still retains. He sings frequently in Adventist churches, has sung recently in presentations of the Messiah, and performs in recitals at the college.
The Collinses have two children, Ryan and Christopher, both of whom are presently taking lessons and are active in musical activities.
Sources: Information provided in an interview with David and Cheryl Collins, February 2013; Canadian Adventist Messenger, 1 April 1977, 16.