A special musical experience is coming up this summer for the community, family, friends, and all who loved Concordia University Portland and its musical program.
The Dale Fisk Memorial Concert is scheduled for Saturday, June 24, at 4 p.m. at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Northeast Portland. The concert will be open to the general public, along with gathered alumni attending the 2023 Concordia Reunion that same weekend. Local congregations are invited to attend.
Dale Fisk was the choral conductor and head of the music faculty at Concordia College from 1962-1990, where he conducted the Concordia Choir and the Christi Crux Chorale, traveling with the students, performing hundreds of concerts in congregations throughout the Northwest District and beyond. After 16 years in parish music in San Diego, Dale retired to the Midwest in 2006, where he continued to conduct choirs, handbells and serve congregations as organist. He died June 3, 2022, following a struggle with nerve damage which took away his ability to play the piano.
This concert is being held in remembrance of him, as well as part of the Concordia Portland Alumni Reunion experience. Dale’s widow, Lynette, is helping to organize the event. And she is hopeful that more Concordia Choir alumni will participate (sign up here).
“The concert is being held the Reunion weekend to try to both help increase awareness of the annual reunions and make it possible for people to attend both if they want to,” she said. “I want the concert to be a place for choir alumni to gather and sing and remember Dale. Due to our retirement in the Midwest, it wasn’t possible to have both a family funeral and something accessible to our many Northwest friends.”
She added: “Our hope for this memorial concert is to gather as many choir alumni as possible to sing together once more, remembering why we sing – to make a joyful noise unto the Lord and share the message of the Gospel.” She said they are planning a selection of choir anthems and have nearly 40 singers already signed up. Former Concordia Choir and Christi Crux Chorale members, as well as others who want to sing, will be accompanied by some of Dale’s organ students. Julie (Schwarz) Bedard of Pilgrim Lutheran in Beaverton, Oregon, and Roger Howard of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran in San Antonio, Texas, are working with Lynette to plan the event.
Dale’s son, Rev. Jonathan Fisk, has selected Bible readings for the lessons; his daughter, Laura Roose, will join in the choir. Music copies are being loaned by Concordia Chicago and Concordia St. Paul choral music departments. They hope to livestream the event.
Parts of the concert will even be translated for the deaf by Deaconess Grace Jewett (and possibly another person). Having students sign concert anthems was something the Concordia Choir did for many years. Lynette said it began when one of the choir members had deaf parents and wanted them to enjoy the concert; it became a traditional thing, where a number of students would learn to sign songs in teams. She said it added a “visual beauty to the concert which everyone enjoyed.”
The Concordia Alumni annual “remembrance of the saints” for those who joined the Heavenly choirs in the past year will also be part of the concert. This year, the list includes Dale Fisk, John Scheck, Don Lorenz, Eunice Kramer. If you have others to include, please contact Lynette.
Everyone is welcome to attend the concert in June.
“I want to remember Dale with music that proclaims the grace of God, since that was always his purpose for the choirs. Although it will be viewed as a memorial for him, I want the focus to be thanksgiving and praise to the Lord who saves us,” she said.