David Rhoderick is a professional musician. He is also a mainframe evangelist for IBM. These may seem like two completely different skills, but to Mr. Rhoderick, both jobs are like chord progressions, they harmonize.
Mr. Rhoderick is the organist at the West Tisbury Congregational Church, a job he secured in April after acting as the church’s interim music director this past winter.
On Sunday June 2 at 4 p.m. the West Tisbury Congregational Church will host a concert featuring Mr. Rhoderick and the church choir.
Mr. Rhoderick will play Partita number 6 in E minor by J.S. Bach, and Sonata number 2 in B flat minor by F. Chopin. Additionally, the choir will join him and sing pieces from Bach’s Mass in B minor, as well as Sheep May Safely Graze, also by J.S. Bach, and John Rutter’s The Lord Bless You and Keep You.
Mr. Rhoderick’s music background started with piano lessons at the age of seven.
“My dad played the piano and my mum played the piano and violin. She’s still alive and she plays the violin in an orchestra in England,” said Mr. Rhoderick, who grew up in England.
After six years of piano lessons, Mr. Rhoderick began taking organ lessons at the age of 13. He plays a seven-foot Schimmel grand piano at his home in West Tisbury, and the Noack Organ at the West Tisbury Congregational Church, which celebrated its 50th birthday this past December.
“A lot of people say to me that they wish they hadn’t given up playing. It was no option for me. For one, I enjoyed it. But also because my parents were pretty keen on me doing it.”
His work ethic with regard to music also applies to his work in computers.
“When I was at university, computer science was a new field,” said Mr. Rhoderick, who graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1974. “When I graduated I joined IBM, and I still work for them today.”
As a mainframe evangelist at IBM, his chief responsibility is talking to IBM customers and potential customers about why a mainframe is so important. Primarily owned by government organizations and corporations, mainframe computers store and process critical data such as those used by airline computers and bank ATMs.
Mr. Rhoderick’s job at IBM “involves a fair amount of public speaking,” he said. “The performance aspect experience is useful. So in that way the two roles are linked.”
“There’s quite a link between music and mathematics,” he added. “There’s a close correlation between the two thought processes.”
“I think music helps you concentrate on things. Music is a great discipline. It can make you stay on task and stay with a thought process. I still enjoy my work. With IBM, everyday I still feel like it’s interesting. And the same can be said for music. I enjoy doing what I’m doing. And with playing in church that feeling is turned on just a bit more.”
And Mr. Rhoderick’s education isn’t finished. The mainframe evangelist has been studying for his Masters in Musicology through the United Kingdom’s Open University, as well as for a fellowship of the Royal Schools of Music.
For both his masters and fellowship there is one combined exam concert which will take place on June 11 in Boston. Mr. Rhoderick will play Partita number 6 in E minor by J.S. Bach, and Sonata number 2 in B flat minor by F. Chopin.
“I’ll be playing for them what I play for the church concert on June 2,” he said.
“Hopefully I will succeed in both of them.”
David Rhoderick plays on June 2 at 4 p.m. at the West Tisbury Congregational Church. Admission is $15.