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.


Blogger Mari Beth said...

I sent the link to this post to my Dad. They live about 2 blocks from the Dalzells and see them frequently. They read it, immediately called them, Sue answered and asked him to read it over the phone and then print it and bring it over. Thanks for taking the time to honor a life well lived.

Tue Jan 27, 10:00:00 AM PST  
Blogger Mike said...

The greatest gift a teacher can receive is to be honored by his student. But more meaningful than the written words, is the honor he receives from watching his student blossom.

Tue Jan 27, 06:41:00 PM PST  
Blogger Allan White said...

Wow, great post, moving tribute.

Thu Jan 29, 12:07:00 PM PST  
Blogger Staci said...

I remember that performance Jason and it stands out in my mind also as an unequaled experience. I like to think now that maybe, just maybe, it was our tribute to Dick for all of the hard work and dedication he put in to loving us and his life's work in us. God Bless his family and friends today as they rememebr his life well lived.

Sat Feb 21, 04:16:00 AM PST  

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