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St. Paul, Minn. — Why this focus? One: the Dale Warland Singers are America's finest mixed-voice a capella choir. Two: they're Minnesota born and bred. Three: they're going out of business.
Conductor Dale Warland is making a bittersweet, classy move: later this year, the choir that bears his name will cease to exist. Warland, now in his early 70s, wants to re-invent himself and spend more time as a composer, teacher, and grandfather—and less time managing the all-consuming music directorship of a world-famous choir.
He's leaving at the top of his game. In 31 seasons, he and his group have made nearly 30 recordings, commissioned and premiered some 270 new scores, and touched millions of radio listeners with the power of song. He was granted the 2001 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, and this winter the DWS were nominated for a Grammy.
This choir—and these May broadcasts I'll produce—are a personal passion. I used to sing in the DWS, lucky enough to have made it in one year when they were thin on baritones. For several seasons I toured and recorded with the choir—until little children at home came along and needed Dad telling them bedtime stories, rather than being away at twice-weekly three-hour rehearsals. The DWS sound is lodged in my head and heart. Frankly, I cannot imagine Minnesota's musical landscape without this choir—how would Paris look without the Eiffel Tower?—but for those of us who love choral music, that'll be our little job, to get used to it.
But not quite yet! We've got May on MPR!
Wednesday, May 5, 7-9 pm—Dale Warland Singers' 30th Aniversary Concert (rebroadcast)
Wednesday, May 12, 7-8 pm—2003 Cathedral Classics with the Dale Warland Singers (rebroadcast)
Wednesday, May 19, 7-8 pm—2004 Cathedral Classics with the Dale Warland Singers
Sunday, May 23, 9 am—A special edition of Saint Paul Sunday, with guests The Dale Warland Singers
Tuesday, May 25, 8-9 pm—A special edition of Saint Paul Sunday, with guests The Dale Warland Singers
Wednesday, May 26, 7-8 pm—"A River Journey" featuring the Dale Warland Singers
Sunday, May 30, 3 pm—Live from Orchestra Hall: Dale Warland Singers Final Concert