It is with great sadness that I report the sudden passing of Dale Newton, long-time ICSOM Delegate for the Grant Park Orchestra, on September 22nd.
A member of Grant Park’s cello section since 1974, Dale truly loved classical music and the arts. Upon meeting him, he would be sure to tell you that playing in an orchestra was his destiny, as his father had been a violist in the Chicago Symphony, and that both of them had performed in the Grant Park Orchestra.
While musicians wear many hats, Dale had the market cornered. Perhaps first and foremost, he was a gifted musician, both as a cellist and a composer. American composer Libby Larsen makes mention of Dale’s skill and assistance in the creation of the cello part for her 2002 composition Bid Call (for alto saxophone and cello), stating, “I would like to thank Dale Newton for his creativity and guidance in developing new techniques for the violoncello.” Dale was also a long-time member and donor of the American Composers Forum. His musicianship was noted at the Minnesota Opera Orchestra, where he had been Assistant Principal Cello for 40 years. Dale’s kind and nurturing spirit would lend itself well to being a caring teacher, and he had taught at the University of Tampa early in his career. Those of us who knew Dale only through ICSOM recognized his leadership as the representative of his Grant Park Orchestra colleagues. However, Dale also was a businessman and served for 16 years as an Independent Associate at LegalShield (a provider of pre-paid legal services). Family was very important to Dale, and a visit to his social media page shows beautiful photos that no doubt will remain fond memories for his loved ones.
Dale had an important presence at ICSOM conferences. He did not speak often but when he did it was thoughtful and meaningful. I will never forget how Dale reported at the 2016 ICSOM conference in Washington DC about the great pride he had for his Grant Park colleagues as a result of their recent negotiation. After a brief strike, they managed to settle in time for the 2016 opening night concert. Fellow Grant Park cellist Peter Szczepanek said, “No one was more proud to be a member of the Grant Park Orchestra cello section, or believed more in the festival’s mission of bringing classical music to the public for free. Plus, he was unfailingly the most warm, witty, and approachable colleague you could ever hope for.”
Dale was also a cellist with the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra. Their Orchestra Committee Chair, Scott Janusch, shared that “My colleagues and I in the Hawai’i Symphony were saddened to learn of Dale Newton’s passing yesterday. He had been a member of the cello section here for many seasons. His fine musicianship, good nature, positive attitude, and approachability will be very greatly missed by all of us, and our deepest condolences go to Dale’s family and friends on the mainland.”
It is never easy to say goodbye to a colleague. Future ICSOM conferences will not be the same without Dale’s presence. He will be deeply missed.