Memorial concert will celebrate the life of popular music teacher

A memorial service is to be held for Micheal Dale, pictured here with singers (l-r) Rosemary Whiffen

A memorial service is to be held for Micheal Dale, pictured here with singers (l-r) Rosemary Whiffen, Linda Davies, Haleema Hawkins, Helen Dowzall, Stanley Whiffen, Gaye Vivian and Daphne Pitt - Credit: Archant

A music teacher from Huntingdon who died earlier this year is to be remembered by his former pupils at a special memorial concert next month.

Michael Dale died suddenly at his home in Hartford in March and organisers of a memorial are trying to get in touch with his former students to encourage them to come along to the concert.

A vocal coach, Mr Dale, 66, taught hundreds of singers - from international theatre stars to amateur singers from the area – and many will be gathering to pay tribute with music and song at a memorial concert.

The programme for the event will reflect Mr Dale’s 40-year teaching career which included coaching opera singers, West End actors and pop stars such as Tim Finn, lead vocalist for pop group Crowded House.

One of his former pupils, Rosemary Whiffen is helping organise the concert.

She said: “Michael always believed everybody can sing. He taught so many people who had believed they did not have a voice, and he brought out their talent. He inspired so many people, with his encouragement and his kindness and in teaching them to sing, brought so much happiness into their lives.”

Michael was born in Whitburn, County Durham, and, as a young boy, sang in the Durham Cathedral Choir before studying at London’s Guildhall School of Music.

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He was about to fulfil his ambition to become a professional opera singer when he suffered a cut from a glass that partially severed a vocal cord. The accident halted his professional career so he turned his attention to teaching.

He also worked as an advertising sales manager in Sydney, where he was appointed lecturer in voice at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, but also launched a private teaching practice which included providing a singing therapy programme for people in palliative care.

In 2009 he returned to the UK where be became a popular figure in the music community around Huntingdonshire.

Rosemary said: “He said the voice is an integral part of our human identity and his teaching allowed so many people to express themselves. He made a huge difference to all their lives and our concert will celebrate Michael and his inspiration.”

The concert will be held on August 19 at 4pm at the St Ives Free Church. To attend or to perform contact Rosemary on 01480 459964.