Charles Dodsley Walker, Founder

Charles Dodsley Walker, founder of Canterbury Choral Society, was born in New York City in 1920, and died in 2015. His memorial service was held on March 21, 2015.

The order of service is avaialable here and book of tributes here.

In 1947, after receiving both his Harvard Master of Arts degree and a certificate as Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, Charlie served for a year as Organist of St. Thomas Chapel in New York City and as Director of Music at his alma mater, Trinity School. After a year in New York, he accepted the post of organist/choirmaster of the American Cathedral in Paris, making his debut as an orchestral conductor in that city. As an organ recitalist, he toured extensively in Europe, and performed throughout West Germany under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. Mr. Walker returned from Europe to become organist/choirmaster of the Church of the Heavenly Rest.  During his 38 years in that post, he oversaw the fundraising, design, and installation of the church’s 8,000-pipe organ; founded the Canterbury Choral Society; and developed a boy choir which appeared many times on coast-to-coast television programs.

For over 25 years, Charlie was a member of the National Executive Committee of the American Guild of Organists, including four years as National President. He served on the faculties of the Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music, New York University, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Chapin School. Also known as an expert on Gilbert and Sullivan, he conducted all 13 of their operas during his 35 years as music director of the Blue Hill Troupe. He helped to launch the Berkshire Choral Festival (formerly the Berkshire Choral Institute) and served as its dean and music director for 10 years. From 1988-2007, he was organist/choir director at Trinity Church, Southport, CT. He retains the title of Organist/Choirmaster Emeritus of the Church of the Heavenly Rest, and is Artist-in-Residence at St. Luke's Parish, Darien, CT. Maestro Walker died on January 17, 2015.