A Homecoming of Sorts for Dale Duesing

Laura Streyle

A graduate from Lawrence University, world-renowned and locally beloved baritone Dale Duesing took the stage Saturday night in the Memorial Chapel as a part of the University’s 100th Artist Series season.
The day of Duesing’s performance, my shift working in the Box Office was quite possibly the most enjoyable shift I have had: patrons were voluntarily telling stories they knew about Duesing in exchange for their tickets. It was as though this famous performer had extended a personal invitation to each patron that approached the ticket window.
A smiling patron, sporting a polka-dotted tie, particularly stands out in my memory: he said, “I wonder if Dale will wear his coattails, tonight. He’ll look so sharp, boy, oh boy.” He then explained how he had worked with Duesing during past summer Bj”rklunden workshops.
Being a part of the Bj”rklunden environment is just one of the many examples of Duesing’s impressive dedication to the community. He has performed at numerous music festivals around the world, including the Salzburg Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, and the Glyndebourne Festival.
Duesing has developed his unique musical prowess through his contribution to a wide range of artistic projects. To name a few of these projects, he has performed in the Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, Chicago Opera and Lyric Opera, among others.
Duesing’s experience with orchestral repertoire is no less exquisite: He has been a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the BBC Symphony, and many more similarly brilliant ensembles.
Saturday night, Duesing came full circle as a soloist performer; it was at Lawrence that he gave his first recital. The concert included works by Brahms, Verdi, Wagner and Gershwin, along with a fun set of pieces composed by two former Lawrence professors, James Ming and Clyde Duncan. Their compositions were changed to suit a baritone voice, and were then given to Duesing as a gift.
With the talented pianist Todd Camburn, Duesing walked back onto the stage amidst the audience’s thunderous applause to perform his final solo encore, a traditional song that he sang for an encore at his first recital: “10,000 Miles.” When he finished the sweet song, he took a smiling, noble bow.