Frank Van Essen

Frank's Gear Page > Songwriter, musician Iona / 1990-1993, 1999-present
Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals Drums / Percussion / Violins / Vocals
Photos by Monica Duffels, Lutz Diehl, Joe del Tufo, Mike Anders & Janien Kommer
F rank was born in 1967 and was brought up with music, both his parents being professional musicians, and with a brother studying violin at the conservatoire of music.

Frank's first drums were his mum's pots & pans, and many buckets lost their bottoms, much of her dismay! Although clearly a rhythmic talent who could never sit still, Frank decided to pick up violin, probably brainwashed hearing his brother practicing scales for 6 hours a day! He was never a really good student (always too many other hobbies) but Frank turned out to be a very talented and natural violin player who developed his own style from very early on. He learned mainly from just copying what he heard his teachers play - and was caught years later when one of his teachers discovered he wasn't actually reading his music, but playing by ear!

His fascination with rhythm & drums was never gone. At age 15 he got the opportunity to take up the sticks, and started practicing like a madman - soon to be a better player than his first teacher!

From that time on he started playing in all kinds of bands (including his high school's big band whose favorite tune was the Muppet Show theme!) mainly playing worship and gospel music. His first band was called "Judah" - a Youth with a Mission band with Dave & Becky Durham, Fred & Mary Dallenbach and Celeste Yohai, together with Karen Lafferty.

From then on, Frank quickly became a number one choice for many sessions and live performances, including concerts with Margaret Becker, Rick Cua, Marcel McArthur, Jessy Dixon, Billy & Sarah Gaines, Susan Ashton, Julie & Buddy Miller, Nina Astroem, Adrian Snell, Chris Eaton, Ralph van Manen & many others.

He met Dave Bainbridge in 1989 while touring Adrian Snell's "The Passion" and was asked to join in 1990. The band played a few concerts at Flevo, Christian Artists, the Spoor 7 festival in Holland and a performance at the Leverkusen Jazz festival, and was featured in a 60-minute documentary by Dutch television which brought the band to and Mull.

It soon became evident that the logistics of having a Dutch drummer was a little too complicated for the band, so after one and a half years, their ways parted again. Frank had joined a well known Dutch worship band (the Ronduit -unpronounceable for the English, I know!- Praise Band) in the meantime as drummer, violin player and singer, and was soon asked to start writing songs and arranging for the band, something he really enjoyed and perfected in the years to follow. Some of Frank's songs became very well known and are sung regularly in Dutch churches. Frank rejoined in June 1998, soon after the departure of drummer Terl Bryant.

Over the years, Frank and his wife Marlou recorded many CD's in Dutch in their own studio, including a Christmas CD in Dutch titled "Immanuel", featuring Dave Bainbridge & Troy Donockley. At the moment of writing this (June 2011) they are working on their solo album which will be released towards the end of 2011. Frank and Marlou regularly lead worship in churches and conferences throughout the world, with their own band called "Dew" sometimes joined by members of (see ).

In 1997, Frank was asked to be music director for EO's Classic Festival which led him to writing and arranging for a small orchestra. From that moment on, he fell in love with writing for strings. Today he is regularly called upon as string arranger and performer for many well known Dutch artists (see ). His strings can be heard on several hit radio singles. At the moment, Frank is studying Orchestration with the Berklee School of Music in the USA to further develop his skills as arranger and orchestrator for full orchestra.

Frank's wide variety of musical activities include composition, arranging, producing, teaching, recording, mixing & mastering in his own studio.

Frank lives in Collendoorn with his wife Marlou and 5 cats.
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25th May 2016

IONA TRIVIA TIME!
So, what Iona song was connected to rowing, and what album was it on??
There's a clue in the video 😄

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23rd May 2016

AN IONA GIG! 😄
Czech Republic June 11 th.
It's been a year since our last gig. Time flies when you're busy! It's a rare sunny blue sky day here in Ireland so I've made a quick little video for you. Lots of bluebells in the background. They've finally appeared...... better late than never 😄 ( from Jo)

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26th April 2016

MAP project!!
Jo here at Lingfield Suite, Kingston upon Thames.

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18th April 2016

And here's an A5 leaflet for the forthcoming Dave & Sally 'Iona Music and More' gigs - please forward to anyone you think might like to come along. Hope some of you can make it too!

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18th May 2016

Here's an A5 leaflet for the September Celestial Fire gigs, featuring Dave and Frank from Iona. Please forward to anyone you think might like to come! We're still hoping to add a gig in the north-west if we can find a venue/promoter - anyone have any ideas?! We'll be including some rarely played Iona tracks in the set! (BTW thanks to Rowena K Davies, Craig Walker and Ray Tyler for you nice comments which we've used on the leaflet!

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8th April 2016

Just confirmed IONA will be doing their first gig for over a year, at a festival in Ostrava in the Czech Republic on 11th of June, 2016. The band will be onstage at 20:45 at Msgre Sramek Square, Ostrava town centre
- Info-Phone: + 420 776 116 440
- Web address promoter:
- Pre-Sale / Contact:

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8th April 2016

Great news - the download version of Dave's solo piano album 'The Remembering' is now available to purchase at

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5th April 2016

Tickets are now on sale for the Dave Bainbridge and Sally Minnear 'Iona Music and More' concert at the Megacentre, Rayleigh in Essex on 2nd July. This is a brilliant, small theatre venue and we're really looking forward to returning after last year's great concert there. Hope some of you can make it along.

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2nd April 2016

Dave here! Honoured to be part of such a great gig line up at Folk in the Barn - support live music and get along to some of these great gigs if you're in the Canterbury area!

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29th March 2016

Hi everyone - Dave here! Tickets are now on sale for the Dave Bainbridge and Sally Minnear 'An Evening of Iona Music and More' gig on 1st July in Barham, near Canterbury. See and follow the ticket link and please share with anyone you think might like to come along!

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27th March 2016

EASTER HOPE....
Matthew 12.21
"Jesus Christ.. He is the HOPE of the nations."
Romans 15.13
" may God of hope fill your hearts with joy and peace so that you may overflow with hope in the power of the Holy Spirit..."
RECEIVE IT! RELEASE IT!
Jo wishing you a hope filled Easter on behalf of Iona.

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15th March 2016

Hi Everyone,
Dave here! Please check out my new website! This is not intended to replace the other Iona / Dave Bainbridge sites, but to work in tandem, and be somewhere I can easily and quickly update things myself. This is also the place to find out more about the Celestial Fire band and the Dave & Sally duo. Have a look and please join the mailing list if you're not already receiving updates from us.

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14th March 2016

First review of Dave's solo piano album The Remembering has just been published! See

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13th March 2016

Exciting news: Dave's cds for his new solo piano album 'The Remembering' have arrived at the Open Sky Records office. Includes piano versions of two Iona tracks. Get your copy from Iona website.

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17th February 2016

Anyone who hasn't visited the Iona website recently and has missed any of our news items, we're happy to say that the News Feed which went down last June (thanks to Facebook changing how it worked), is now active again. All of the entries from now right back to then are there, so have a look in case you've missed any of the photos/videos/info we've been posting.

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8th February 2016

Dave here! I'll be in practice mode over the next 3 or 4 days, for the Dave and Sally 'Iona music and More' gig on Friday (hope some of you can make it along - details below!).

Meanwhile - the artwork for my solo piano album 'The Remembering' is almost finished and then the album will be going to the manufacturers - so the release is getting close! You can pre-order it at

Dave Bainbridge & Sally Minnear - 'An Evening of Iona music and more...'.
Friday 12th February, 2016
St John's Church
Farncombe, GU7 3EJ, UK
Doors: 19:00
Price: £14.00 adv, £17.00 on door
Tickets & further info from
01483 421520

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1st February 2016

Coming up very soon - Friday, February 12th in Farncombe near Guildford, UK, 'An Evening of Iona music and More', with Iona co-founder Dave Bainbridge and Sally Minnear. Tickets available now! Hope some of you can make it along.

Friday 12th February, 2016
St John's Church
Farncombe, GU7 3EJ, UK
Doors: 19:00
Price: £14.00 adv, £17.00 on door
Tickets & further info from
01483 421520


Here are some comments from previous Dave and Sally gigs:

"Thank you Dave and Sally for a brilliant gig in Rayleigh last night. Your guitar playing is a wonder to behold and the guitar tone sounds amazing. Sally sung beautifully and did the songs proud."

“We can't remember a more enjoyable concert - wow what two gifted musicians!!!"

“Thank you very much for a beautiful evening and your exquisite music rare cherished sounds of heaven on earth.”

“I'm not sure I have the words to say how much I enjoyed every moment - Sally (what a voice!) and Dave were a joy to work with and absolutely fantastic throughout. As for the gig one word - Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!”

“A real touch and taste of heaven – gorgeous sounds under blue skies in a stunning, friendly and intimate setting. All four of us found it a truly memorable and refreshing oasis in busy times. We're smiling just thinking about it!”

"Dave Bainbridge and Sally Minnear were amazing tonight, thank you for coming down and sharing your talent with us."

"A fantastic evening listening ( & dancing) to Dave Bainbridge & Sally Minnear at Llanelidan…"

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9th January 2016

Dave's new solo piano album 'The Remembering' has been mastered and long term Iona engineer/mixer Nigel Palmer has done a brilliant job, bringing real clarity to the sound and tying the mixes together to create an involving, engaging listening experience. Thanks Nigel!

Now we could really do with some more pre-sales to finish off the artwork and pay for the manufacturing so we can get it out there asap! If you're thinking of getting it, pre-ordering really helps as we have no record company backing - thanks! (btw there will also be a download version available when the cd is released).

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4th January 2016

Dave here! Just over a month before the next 'Iona Music and More...' Dave Bainbridge & Sally Minnear gig - hope some of you can make it along! (please share poster with anyone you think might like to come along!). We'll be playing some Iona favourites plus, er...more!

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3rd January 2016

Oops!!!!
Jo again!! How could I forget to add in Franks photo !!! Just not Iona without the fabulous Frank 😄 .... And then there was the cave session too !!

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4th January 2016

WISHING U A GREAT 2016!
Jo here just sharing a few musical highlights and memories from 2015. Iona in Germany and a house concert in Virginia for me ( duet with Katie Boyd !).

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2nd January 2016

Dave here. As well as wishing everyone a (slightly belated!) happy new year, here's a reminder that you can pre-order my new solo piano album "The Remembering' now at
The more pre-orders we get in the quicker we can get the album out! (btw it should say 2016 on there).
Check out the link to hear extracts from all the tracks.

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27th December 2015

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful Christmas!

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25th December 2015

IONA WEBSITE PROBLEM SOLVED NOW - SITE IS ONLINE AGAIN - thanks to our great webmaster Tim Ostendorf!

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21st December 2015

It appears the Iona website is down! - anyone wanting to pre-order the new Dave Bainbridge piano album on the Iona webstore please try again later when hopefully the problem will be fixed.

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21st February 2016

EMANUEL .... God with us
The CONSTANT IN MY CHAOS
So much turmoil and chaos in the global context, and truthfully, few of us escape a degree of personal chaos, some of it beyond our control....and some of it self-inflicted. Thankfully, We have Emanuel, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever..( Hebrews 13:8)......the constant in my chaos)
Here's a demo recording with Gwyneth Reid on cello of a new song. Maybe one for future band recording /performance.
This is Jo on behalf of Iona, Wishing you a peaceful and blessed Christmas.

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16th December 2015

Great news! Thanks to our brilliant webmaster Tim Ostendorf, my new solo piano album 'The Remembering' is now available to pre-order from the Iona webstore! Go to
where you can check out samples of all the tracks. Pre-ordering will help us to pay for the cd mastering/manufacturing and artwork completion. We hope to have it available early spring or sooner if we can! - Dave

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28th January 2016

Can you believe it's almost Christmas again! -

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6th December 2015

Come along and hear Iona music and more! Please forward to anyone you think might like to come along. It's a great venue - should be a great night! (Dave)

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5th December 2015

The special album offers still available at !!

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