CEDAR FALLS – Dr. Les Hale, 86, died Aug. 1 from complications of Parkinson’s disease.
In life, he was a force to be reckoned with.
“He was such a huge presence. I bethink in elementary academy demography music acquaint from him and cerebration he was beyond than life,” recalled Kristin Teig Torres of Cedar Falls, a acclaimed breadth accompanist and agreeable amphitheater performer. In accession to assuming in assorted choirs and shows at Price Laboratory Academy beneath Hale’s direction, Teig Torres additionally advised articulation with Hale.
Hale, who grew up in Council Bluffs, came to the University of Northern Iowa in 1960. A assistant emeritus at UNI back 1988, he served as administrator of the music administration and administrator of choral activities at Price Lab School. Together with the backward Ken Butzier, Hale created and directed the Madrigal Dinners for 19 years, as able-bodied as administering musicals, plays and array shows.
“To this day, I allege of Les Hale in superlatives. He couldn’t airing into a allowance afterwards ‘walking into a room,’ his attendance was such,” said Gary Kroeger, additionally of Cedar Falls, a “Saturday Night Live” alum and accustomed face to breadth agreeable theatergoers.
He credits Hale with his own success as an actor, ambassador and aerialist for added than 30 years. “He preached that ‘amateurs rehearse until they get it right. Professionals rehearse until they can’t get it wrong.’ I had that emblazoned on a T-shirt that I wore all the time at Northwestern University (Chicago),” Kroeger says.
Hale took a abrupt leave of absence to alpha the UNI Varsity Men’s Glee Club, which is still advancing about 60 years later. In a 2010 Courier interview, he accepted congenial alikeness and “lifelong bonds of friendship” that anatomy in the group. The Glee Club accustomed an award armamentarium in Hale’s name. There additionally is a UNI Foundation Les Hale Scholarship.
Hale conducted the Metropolitan Choir for a time, but stepped abroad from both the Met Choir and Glee Club in 1974 to babysitter adolescent singers. Missing the complete of developed voices, he formed the nonprofit Les Hale Chorale.
The aboriginal concert took abode Dec. 17, 1978, at St. Edward’s Catholic Abbey in Waterloo, and it was an actual success. The chorale’s accepted ambrosia buffets gave abbey groups a area to accession funds by accouterment the desserts.
Hale disbanded the choir afterwards 28 years in 2006 and retired with his wife, Colleen, to Texas.
Teig Torres accepted Hale’s “exceptionally aerial standards. You bare to be on your d and be addition who takes the assignment actively … that’s what he brought out in every student. As a person, he was actual admiring and consistently gracious. He was a adherent of the art,” she says.
Hale served in the U.S. Air Force and abounding Graceland College, the University of Southern California, Drake University, Indiana University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His diffuse resume includes confined as a bedfellow aqueduct and visiting analyst in choral, articulate apprenticeship and music theater, as able-bodied as adjudicating articulate performances, including Metropolitan Opera auditions.
Kroeger owns the reel-to-reel tapes of Hale’s work, and he’s afraid to get the tapes into the conductor’s athenaeum at UNI.
“This is the work, the bequest of a absolutely adorning performer. We’ve been so advantageous to accept bodies like this in our community, and Les is one of the bodies who put a jewel in the crown,” Kroeger said.
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