About Dale Warland and the Dale Warland Singers
Text by: Nilanjana Kundu and Mark Palkovic
Eminent American conductor and composer Dale Warland was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, April 14, 1932. He has made an indelible impression on the landscape of contemporary choral music throughout the world. According to him, his first musical inspiration came when listening to his church choir at a young age. During his school days he held a position as a church organist; his school music lessons also served to put him in close contact with the world of music. Following in the footsteps of his church choir director, he enrolled at St.Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, in the fall of 1950. Here he quickly settled into his life’s work—rehearsing and performing with choirs. After graduating from St. Olaf in 1954, Warland spent two years in the Air Force. While stationed at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois, he started a choir with fellow servicemen. The choir quickly became quite popular and was invited to perform at a banquet attended by then-Vice President Richard Nixon. After the Air Force, he pursued graduate work at the University of Minnesota, graduating with a Master of Arts in theory and composition in 1960. In 1965, he earned his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of Southern California. After serving as director of choral music at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California and at Keuka College in Keuka Park, New York, he took a position as professor of music and director of choral activities at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota (1967-1985). News of his exceptional choral conducting skills spread and, in 1972, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis asked him to assemble a group of singers to present a concert of new music. Though his Macalester students were good singers, he knew that it would be a challenge for the young singers to deliver a full concert of such music. So he gathered together a group of forty community singers to present a concert on June 11, 1972. Thus, the Dale Warland Singers, a professional mixed chorus, was born.