Meet Our Faculty

Dave Overthrow

You can find this and other great articles in the most recent PALLIUM.

In his twenty plus years as a member of the Canterbury community, David Overthrow has touched the entire campus with the depth of his musical knowledge...quite literally! He has seen the Department move all over the hilltop, from Old Schoolhouse, to temporary trailers, and finally to its current location in Pigott Hall. While the Music Department has changed locations, it has never lost its core intention—guiding students towards a love of music—due to Dave’s careful stewardship of his students and their work. As Director of the program, Dave has not only been responsible for physically transporting this space (“We had to lug the drum set over to the trailers and back again!”) but also for transporting the hearts of generations of students through the joys of music. 

Dave’s drive to teach music comes from the ‘aha’ moment for students when they realize the full depths of what they are capable of achieving. Many of his students report simply being unaware of their abilities prior to their lessons and echo Dave’s sentiment of finding their own ‘aha’ moments during practices with him. “I didn’t think I was going to be playing music when I arrived at Canterbury,” says Nick Graham ’21, a current student in Dave’s Jazz/Rock/Pop Ensemble. “But my uncertainties went away through his gentle guidance to help me become better musician. He makes you trust him and then you go with it.” This sentiment is echoed across generations of alumni that Dave has worked with to encourage musical talent. Will Tully ’06, also a drummer, was intent on playing basketball during his years at Canterbury. Instead, he found himself in an introductory music class taught by Dave. He picked up the instrumental over the course of a semester, each day a ‘aha’ moment as he learned what he was capable of with a pair of drumsticks and Dave’s guidance. Nick currently serves as the lead drummer in Overthrow’s Rock and Contemporary Band while Will can be found touring, making music as a fulltime career. 

Dave attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music, MA, before immersing himself in the music word as an entertainer. In addition to his current role as an educator, he continues to play as an entertainer and considers himself a continual student of music. He can be found “jamming out” with many local and international musicians during the summer months and regularly plays in a band during the school year. While teaching began as a hobby and pastime for Dave, it quickly became a place for him to share the depths of his talent and inspire others to develop their own hobby and pastime through creating music. His experiences and continued performing makes him an ever-present example to his students of what they might be able to do. 

Dave’s desire to bring as many potential students as possible into the world of music does not end at Canterbury. He has published twelve books for the electric base, led three instructional DVDs, and  uses online platforms to help others find their talent. “To me, the love of teaching music comes from the confidence that builds and manifests in each student.” Overthrow beams with pride when he touches on the moments throughout the year that offer these opportunities for growth in confidence.The Italia Mia Concert is one of these cherished moments, an evening for Canterbury students to perform at a local restaurant. Throughout the course of the evening, a migration of restaurant patrons inevitably makes its way into the the room where his students share their talent. “Everyone is just blown away with the talent of our students,” he remarks.

Dave’s admiration and pride in both current and former students’ achievements is transparent. So much so that, two years ago, he created the Alumni Music Festival, a forum for alumni and current students to perform together for our students in a spectacular presentation of the music program. For the past two years, returning alumni included Willy Tully '06 on drums, Nick Cabrera '09 on guitar and vocals, Paul Deedon '09 on bass, and Cam Napier '17 on bass. The four performers joined together with current Canterbury music groups including Contemporary Music Band and Jazz-Rock-Pop Ensemble to deliver a program of old classics, pop favorites, and several self-written melodies during the two-hour show. “It’s incredible that these alumni take the time to come to campus, rehearse with our musicians in advance, and and then return again for the performance” remarked Dave. “They exemplify for our students that with dedication to one’s passion, you can make a successful and happy life out of doing what you love.” 

Dave speaks and behaves with such loyalty to his students, one that extends beyond the halls of Canterbury. The connection he shares with his students is both encouraging and inspiring—a tangible reminder of the lasting relationships our hilltop builds.