Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dick Dalzell

One of my favorite memories is the Northwest College and University Choir Festival held at Willamette University in the spring of 1993. We'd participated in this festival every year and this was to be our last as Columbia Christian College was closing at the end of the semester. In other years we compared quite well in size and sound to the other choirs from schools with 10 times our enrollment, but this year we stood out. I don't remember exactly how many members we had in choir that final year, but it wasn't many. I do remember that after we spaced ourselves evenly across the risers I couldn't touch my nearest neighbor without taking a full step. We were small. But that night, our sound filled the auditorium. The feeling I experienced during our most challenging selection has never been duplicated in me. The music that we made that night took me to another place. The audience of choirs met us with a standing ovation when we reached our destination—they were moved as well.

While that was a highlight during my choral career at Columbia, my memory is flooded with dozens of similar, musical moments. Moments where we didn't just sing songs—moments where we made music. My director for these moments was Dick Dalzell. Under his direction I was taught that music is more than notes to be sung. It is a message, an emotion, an expression.

I took Choral Conducting, Choral Arranging, Music History, 4 semesters of Joyful Noise, 8 semesters of choir, and 8 semesters of private voice lessons from Mr. Dalzell. It would be accurate to say that he shaped me. I am indebted to him for the person that I am today. For while Mr. D. was teaching lessons on music, I was learning about life. Under his tutelage I learned about the commitment it takes to build a program that will touch lives for generations. About the love that is required to sustain a marriage. About the patience that is needed to shepherd a church. And about the familiarity with God that makes His name Father.

My teacher is nearing the end of his journey on earth. In this place his presence will be missed, but his lessons will continue. I am thankful for the time I spent with him.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Change in Venue

Yesterday was a turning point in my life. I have been an active member at the Metro Church of Christ since 1989. At the conclusion of yesterday's service I read the following through blurred vision:

Dearest Family,

It is with mixed emotions that I announce that Christa and I have completed our time at Metro. We have felt the urging of the Spirit to embark upon a new journey; and while we are excited about what God has in store for us, we are sad that we will no longer be serving at Metro.

After 19 years of membership, this is not an easy thing to do. You are our family and we have been shaped through our time with you.

Please know that we are not leaving because of any falling out, or disagreement with anyone. We hold the Metro leadership in the highest regard and look forward to seeing where they will lead you.

For us, this is like a graduation. Metro has loved us, fed us, and inspired us--and now we must commence the next chapter.

We take comfort during our transition from stories in the Bible where God moved people from one place of service to another. Heroes like Abraham, Ruth, and the disciples were all asked to leave the places where they were and take a new journey.

Our new station has not been revealed to us, so the first step of our journey will include reflection and listening. During this period we covet your prayers for our direction.

We love you very much and will seek to continue the relationships we have formed with you despite our departure.

We pray that God will:
cover you with His wing when you need protection,
strengthen you with His joy,
surround you with his people so you have a sense of belonging,
turn His face toward you and give you peace.

When it was over Christa and I were met with an overwhelming outpouring of love. I can't tell you how much I will miss that church. They will always be my family. I will never take for granted the time I was allowed to serve there.

Regarding the future, I have never felt so in love with my wife. We are embarking on this journey together and can't help but be excited to see where God leads us.
Older Posts Newer Posts