Dr. David Lingle, 2002, Telluride

Dr. David Lingle, 2002, Telluride

Dr. David Lingle (9/27/1954-1/17/2013)

On Thursday, January 17, 6:30 p.m., Dr. David Lingle, former Artistic Director of the Telluride Choral Society, passed away peacefully in Sandwich, MA.

David was an unbelievably talented member of the Telluride community, who served as artistic director of the Telluride Choral Society for eight years. He discovered he had terminal bladder cancer just after assuming a new position as music director of  the First Parish church, Brewster, MA., where, in the very short time he was on the job, discovered he had found a home.

David Lingle made his transition surrounded by friends in Brewster. He leaves behind his two children, John and Haley, along with his ex-wife Jill of Tulsa, all of whom were able to visit him shortly before his passing. David also leaves two sisters, Beverly Psenicka and Audrey Howze.

David Lingle was a native of Northern Wisconsin. He received his Masters in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Tulsa and a Doctoral Degree in Conducting from the University of Oklahoma. He composed and conducted music for a national broadcast entitled “A Service of Light,” which aired on ABC TV. He worked with Broadway and television personalities and prepared choruses for the Tulsa Philharmonic, Oklahoma Sinfonia, and the Tulsa Ballet.

In addition to his love of choral music in nearly every style, David worked extensively in both musical theater and as the musical director of Telluride Christ Presbyterian Church, which gave him the opportunity to conduct everything from “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” to festival settings of the Bernstein “Chichester Psalms” and the Mozart “Solemne Vespers.” An unabashed admirer of John Rutter., the Telluride Choral Society took great pride in performing dozens of Rutter pieces, “Mass of the Children” being one of our favorites.

While in Telluride (2002 to 2009), David Lingle conducted all the different Choral Society groups. He expanded programming with the addition of “KidSing” and “MasterWorks” performances and served as music director for many Telluride Repertory Theater productions including “Guys and Dolls,” “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” “Chicago,” and “Sound of Music.” He also led youth theatre productions for director Jen Julia at the Sheridan Arts Foundation and at the Telluride Public Schools.

Jade Graham, a longtime Tulsa and Telluride friend, had this to say about the man:

David was professional and musically brilliant, who shared that with anyone willing to work with passion and trust the process. Personally, I loved how he could lead me as a performer to that indescribable place, where you can surprise yourself and experience the pure joy of being a piece of creation bigger than yourself or your talents. That is rare. I love him and miss him dearly.”

David left us with an understanding of the importance of music, humor and discovering your own voice. He valued performers, whatever their skill level, and he brought out the best in everyone, adults or children, with his gentle demeanor and supportive ways.

On a personal note, my life was changed by David Lingle. He took me from someone who could not even read music to a Chamber Singer, the Choral Society’s auditioned group, performing not only in Telluride, but also in Durango and other towns in Southwestern Colorado and New Mexico. Learning to sing in a group caused me to understand the dynamics of putting myself forward as a member of a team and the value of being a team performer.: each voice is important, but no one voice is more important than the unified sound of the entire group.

One of my favorite memories was helping David  to bring the San Juan Symphony Orchestra with Arthur Post and the Durango Choral Society with Linda Mack to town to perform on the Palm stage with the Telluride Choral Society. There were almost 200 musicians on the stage for an evening none of us will ever forget.

When David passed, he left behind a piece of himself for all of us who performed with him and knew him well.  Upon hearing of his passing, Eileen Burns, a close friend of David’s said this:

 “My hope is that when he departed, his skills passed quietly on to someone else who will be able to share them with the world.”

Ginny Fraser added quite simply:

“David was more than a great person, he was a dear friend. Whenever I sing, I will remember him.”  

Deb Stevens wrote:

“May your spirit soar and dance to unimaginable heights of music. May your soul rejoice and sing evermore.”

David Lingle’s impact on Telluride and the cultural arts community are now part of Telluride’s history.

1 Comment
  • Clint Viebrock
    Posted at 06:54h, 26 January

    I had the privilege of working with David on two shows, “Guys and Dolls” and “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”. Not only was he a fine director, he led the combos that made those musicals hum. He also opened “Whorehouse” with a great vocal solo as the “Narrator”. I know I miss him.