Carolina Baroque honors Dale Higbee

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 10, 2012

By Toni Austin
For The Salisbury Post
Carolina Baroque’s concert honoring its founder and retired director, Dr. Dale Higbee, took place at St. John’s Lutheran Church Chapel last Sunday afternoon. The richly varied program of baroque music included voice, violins, viola, viola da gamba, harpsichord, and organ and the large enthusiastic audience was amply rewarded. While Dr. Higbee did not perform, he had a front-row seat and clearly enjoyed the performances of his former colleagues. Mayor Paul Woodson was on hand to proclaim Aug. 5 Dale Higbee Day.
The concert was organized by soprano Teresa Radomski, who said: “If it weren’t for Dale Higbee, I would not have become acquainted with rarely-performed, exquisite baroque music (especially by Handel) and certainly would never have had the opportunity to perform it.”
This sentiment was echoed by the other singers. Radomski went on to say: “I’m so grateful to Dale for his musical knowledge, passion and dedication that continue to inspire those of us who have been fortunate to perform with him in Carolina Baroque.”
Founded by Dr. Higbee in 1998, Carolina Baroque was in existence for 23 years, until his retirement last year. Teresa Radomski (soprano), John Pruett (baroque violin), and Holly Maurer (viola da gamba) who performed on Sunday, were original members of the group. Other performers at this concert were: Mary Mendenhall (soprano), Lee Morgan (contralto), Susan Perkins (baroque violin), Marian Wilson (viola), and Susan Bates (organ and harpsichord).
Some of Higbee’s colleagues said that his dedication to the arts, musical erudition, and generous heart made Carolina Baroque an amazing experience for performers and audiences alike. Higbee said he programmed music he wanted to hear, often transcribing a piece written for another instrument so he could play it on his recorder. He always put so much thought and care into choosing appropriate music and musicians for Carolina Baroque programs.
He often said, “When you play Bach, you should be humble, and when you play Handel, you should be proud!”