World Vision: Dave Bilbrough is An award-winning Songwriter, Worship leader, and Author ; His compositions Worldwide Sung by Christians of All Denominations
By Boaz Wadel
I first made a trip to Slovakia many years ago, before the fall of the Berlin wall, when the country was still under communist control, and part of Czechoslovakia. The end of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia in 1989, during the peaceful "Velvet Revolution," was followed by the country's dissolution, this time into two successor states.
In July 1992, Slovakia declared itself a sovereign state, meaning that its laws took precedence over those of the federal government. Throughout the autumn of 1992, the details for disbanding the federation took place and in November, the federal parliament voted to dissolve the country officially on December 31, 1992, meaning that there was now the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
It was very strange to find a music book in a home I visited that written by a man called Dave Bilbrough. I asked my hosts how come they had this book of Praise and Worship songs, and I was told that they did not know where they got it, but added that Dave was a "UK worship leader." I asked which other names they knew in the UK, and they said, "none," and then they asked me if there were "others."
Many years later, I finally met Dave Bilbrough in London. That was after I had seen adverts for a concert he was performing at in Sri Lanka on my first visit to that island country in the northern Indian Ocean, that was known, until 1972, as Ceylon. I thought to myself, "This guy gets around."
Recently, I caught up with Dave again -- we are now very good friends -- and asked him to update me on his travels.
Dave explained that his desire is to inspire and connect with people outside the "traditional church," and "ignite" a sense of worship among them with song. To that end he had developed not only his latest album but also a whole evening production that would touch both those who were familiar with worship music and those who are not. He calls it, "Tales of a Troubadour."
Poster for his tour
His first venture took him into The Jermyn Street Theatre, which, on the night that I attended, was sold out. The 70-seat theatre, is right in the heart of Piccadilly Circus, a small intimate location used by playwrights to put on a show with the hope of attracting the right people who will be their "Angels" for larger West End productions. Many hit shows and musicals have got their start here.
On that night, Dave's audience was very mixed, in that there were those who were obviously part of a "church" audience, and those who appeared to have never had any connection with attendance at a church meeting. Dave held everyone's attention by telling his own "musical" story, drawing on those who had influenced his own appreciation of music and song, and then performing songs by Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, and the like, that he skillfully wove into his narrative. The evening was fun, informative and challenging in regards to what are the real values in life.
Inside the The Jermyn Street Theatre
On my catch-up with Dave, I asked "where next?" and he told me, "I want to see worship outside 'the walls' and currently I am working with others in exploring multicultural expressions of worship music. Also I am working with World Vision [as an Artist Ambassador] by promoting what they are doing to various audiences, using music, and my tales to both draw people in and without apology to ask them to help with some of the great needs that the world has."
World Vision says, "Dave Bilbrough is an award-winning songwriter, worship leader, and author. With over three decades of experience, Dave's compositions have been sung worldwide by Christians of all denominations. Well known songs include 'All Hail The Lamb,' 'I Am A new Creation' and 'Abba Father.'"
He continued, "I also recently worked with Adrian Plass [a British author and speaker who writes primarily Christian humor, but also short stories, Bible commentaries and novels with a more serious tone] and the Sailors' Society, using music to draw the audience to the work being done by this society, as they care for sailors, many of whom, he told me, "spend up to nine months a year away from home and experience great loneliness and isolation".
Dave added, "Interestingly, a high proportion of these seafarers are Filipinos, sacrificing their time away from home in order to provide for their families back home."