Editor's note: At 3 p.m. Sunday, March 13, YourClassical MPR aired a live broadcast of the Singers’ Dale Warland Tribute Concert, hosted by Steve Staruch, to celebrate the 90th birthday of the choral legend. The Singers honored Warland's legacy through the presentation of works near and dear to his heart, curated by his protégé Matthew Culloton. A new work by Timothy C. Takach, with poetry by Brian Newhouse, had its world premiere performance, and the program included a Dale Warland Singers Alumni Choir. Before the concert, Newhouse, a former member of the Dale Warland Singers and a broadcast host/producer for many of their concerts, shared his memories of working with Warland. Listen to the concert now.
Dale Warland once mentioned to me, “Nothing is stronger than beauty.” When I think of the force of war, greed or fear, I wonder if those words are true. And yet humans will move heaven and earth to protect the things we love most, those things (usually people) dearest to us — what we hold as beautiful. Dale is right. Nothing is stronger.
As Dale’s 90th birthday (April 14, 2022) approached, I wanted somehow to celebrate this artist who has created so much beauty for this world. Could I capture this idea in a new text that a composer could set to music?
I brought the idea to Timothy C. Takach, whose music I admire for its beauty. Tim immediately saw one piece as not big enough for someone of Dale’s national and global impact. Tim had a lovely idea for three movements, and he gave each a working concept of Inspiration, Work and Legacy.
So I set to writing three texts instead of one, and together they form the piece, Changed by Beauty, which will be premiered on the March 13 concert given by the Singers.
My hope in creating this piece was to tell the story of surprising beginnings; then the fierce dedication to the work, even to the point of madness; and finally the gift for future generations that might come of all this — everything focused on the creation of beauty. As a writer, I have never worked with greater joy.
I was thrilled when the Singers’ artistic director, Matt Culloton, programmed it for this special concert honoring Dale’s 90th.
My hope is that this piece outlives us all and speaks not just for one beloved artist, but for the necessity of art-making in a world thirsting for beauty.
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