Dale Edwin Newton, cellist, passed away unexpectedly from sudden cardiac death on Saturday, September 22, 2018. He was in Evanston, Illinois, for the occasion of his 50th high school reunion. He was 68 years old. Throughout his long and productive career in music, Dale performed professionally as an orchestral cellist. He also composed, conducted, and taught music. His musical talent and contributions touched the lives of hundreds of students and colleagues. He will be dearly missed by many.
Dale was born the third of four brothers on March 27, 1950, at University of Chicago Hospital. He grew up in Wilmette, on the North Shore of Chicago, and was exposed to music from birth. His father, Harold Newton, was a professional violist who performed with the Chicago Symphony, the Grant Park Orchestra, the Kansas City Orchestra and the NBC Orchestra as conducted by Arturo Toscanini. Around age ten, the story goes, Dale found a cello in a closet at home and begged his dad to learn how to play it. Thus began his lifelong passion for the cello.
Dale showed prodigious musical talent from an early age. While in 6th grade Dale worked up a performance of a Beethoven sonata along with his best friend, Chris Byrne. During high school he became the principal cellist of the Chicago Youth Orchestra. Upon graduating, he followed in the footsteps of his oldest brother, Lynn, and attended the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign where he received his bachelor and masters degrees in cello performance and music literature.
Dale began his professional career as principal cellist with the Memphis Symphony while he was still an undergraduate. After graduating Dale won a tenured position with Grant Park Orchestra, initially playing alongside his father, Harold. Dale continued performing in Chicago with Grant Park nearly every summer thereafter through 2018. In August, he was recognized for his 45 years of service at the season-ending performance. In recent years, Dale enjoyed concurrent employment by Grant Park Orchestra, MN Opera, and Hawaii Symphony Orchestra. Since 2008, Dale faithfully served as a delegate to the International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) for the Grant Park Orchestra. ICSOM is an advocacy organization that supports professional orchestra musicians.
As a Twin Cities freelance musician, Dale enjoyed a long and storied history as principal cellist with VocalEssence (formerly known as Plymouth Music Series), and MN Opera, of which he was a charter member. He also played cello with many of the Broadway shows that came through town. He was part of the team of performers who worked to premiere “The Lion King” in the Twin Cities and appears on the original cast recording. In 2000, Dale toured for one year with the cast and orchestra of “Miss Saigon.”
Dale’s work ethic and passion for music were equally matched by his inherently positive outlook and demeanor, his gentle spirit, and his affable nature and love of family. Dale’s graceful likeability made a lasting impression on everyone he met.
Dale was preceded in death by his parents, Naomi and Harold Newton and is survived by his wife and partner of 20 years, Jane Gates; son Jonathan Een Newton and his mother Andrea; and three brothers, Lynn, Dean, and Dwight.
Dale was an active participant in American Composers Forum since its early years. Gifts directed to ACF will honor Dale through its programs that support the creation of new music.