Chautauqua Chorale Conductor Celebrates Final Performance

Posted on August 07, 2013

Craig Dieterich has dedicated the past 27 years to directing the Lakeside Chautauqua Chorale and the Chautauqua Choir. The Chorale’s performance on Tuesday, Aug. 13 will be Dieterich’s final performance as Conductor.

Dieterich began playing piano by ear at an early age, coming home from church every Sunday and trying to work out the hymns. He received his Master’s Degree in music education from the University of Michigan, served as Director of Choral Activities at Interlochen Arts Academy, and as Director of the Women’s Choir at Baldwin Wallace University.

Since moving back to Lakeside in 1986 to fix up his grandfather’s cottage, Dieterich has directed four local choirs.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Dieterich said, regarding his time spent as Conductor of the Chautauqua Chorale. “I cannot imagine how many people have been a part of the Chorale over the years, from a band director singing next to a teenager to a retired music teacher singing next to a summer intern. It has truly been a great mentoring opportunity for so many young voices.”

He also appreciates the local talent and range of ages of the Chorale. The show this year, like past Chorale performances, will include plenty of Lakeside humor. The theme of this year’s performance is “The Best of the Last 27 Years,” including ending the performance with “Java Jive,” the group’s signature finale when former members are invited on stage to join as the “Alumni Chorale.”

In the past, Dieterich has always made a grand entrance onto the stage, including entering on a bicycle, scooter, boat, tram and even a Segway.

This year, Dieterich will make one last surprise entrance.

At a Chautauqua Chorale performance in 2010, the electricity in Hoover Auditorium went out during the opening song. Without any microphones or accompaniment, a flashlight was brought out and shined on the performers that evening. That particular performance is one of Dieterich’s favorites, as it was reminiscent of the old “tent meetings” in the early years of Lakeside.

“You realized what things were like 100 years ago,” he said.

Throughout the years, he has worked with the Choral Festival and the Lakeside Symphony Orchestra on classics such as Handel’s “Messiah.”

Raising his daughters in Lakeside was important to Dieterich. He says that the intergenerational community provided richness to their lives. Both Kim and Megan are past members of the Chorale. Kim will join her father on stage Tuesday night.

Dieterich is an avid sailor and radio-controlled “Junior Birdsman.” He plans to spend more time sailing and “flying” over the coming months. Hewill also continue directing the Lakeside United Methodist Church choir and the St. John Lutheran Church choir in Port Clinton, Ohio.