Almost 50 years ago, an young, unknown choral director took a job in Macalester’s Music Department. The Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center had just been completed when the new professor first walked through its doors in 1967.

Last week that same musician, Dale Warland—now a world-famous choral conductor and composer—returned to the department for the first time since leaving his position at the college 30 years ago.

He was invited back by current director of choral activities Michael McGaghie, who asked him to lead workshops for both the Concert Choir and Highland Camerata. “It is my great, great privilege to introduce to you Dr. Dale Warland,” McGaghie began the first rehearsal.

After complimenting the Concert Choir’s musicality (“even during your vocal exercises!”), Warland encouraged them to project more (“don’t just sing to yourself,”), keep their phrases legato (“that means connected, not smooth”), and work on their balance (“the magic won’t be there without it”). The students, none of whom were born when Warland last taught at Mac, hung on his every word.

April 14 2015

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