Memorial concert to be a tribute to Peninsula’s music man

Dewey Ehling died Aug. 7 of pneumonia at the age of 87.

Dewey Ehling

Dewey Ehling

PORT ANGELES — Musicians and vocalists from across the Olympic Peninsula are gathering in Port Angeles on Sunday to perform one last time for the late Dewey Ehling.

Ehling — known as the “music man” for his 30 years of teaching and conducting on the Peninsula with the Port Townsend Community Orchestra, the Peninsula Singers and many other groups — died Aug. 7 of pneumonia at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle at the age of 87.

His wife, Lauretta, has said the best way to remember her husband is by performing his favorite music.

With that in mind, a variety of musicians have volunteered to perform during the Dewey Ehling Tribute Concert, taking place at 3 p.m. Sunday at Port Angeles High School’s Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave.

The concert is free to attend, although donations will be accepted at the door to help pay for the cost of renting the hall from the Port Angeles School District, said Hollie Kaufman, Dewey Ehling’s assistant with the Port Townsend Community Orchestra, on Wednesday.

“Anybody who wants to come is more than welcome,” Kaufman said.

The concert will be a moving experience, she added.

“A community-wide group of musicians” is slated to perform, she said.

“This is their chance to sing and play for Dewey one last time.”

Friends of Dewey

The performers are “all friends of Dewey that have played in his orchestra [and] sung in his choirs,” Kaufman said.

“It is people from both the Port Townsend Orchestra, the Port Angeles Orchestra [and] the Peninsula Singers. There are a lot of people that are going to be playing.”

Before the music begins at the tribute concert, there will be a presentation of the colors in honor of Ehling, who was always a proud Marine, Kaufman has said.

The first music performed will be “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Vocalists will perform several of Dewey’s favorite selections such as “The Green Cathedral” and “Heavenly Light,” Kaufman said, as well as arias by Puccini and Wagner.

An orchestral group will perform a selection from St. Paul’s Suite by English composer Gustav Holst.

Especially for the performance, Ira Langlois of Langlois Pianos International is providing a grand piano for the concert, transporting it all the way from Bremerton, Kaufman said.

“That was so generous of him to do that,” she said.

Ehling was active with Olympic Theatre Arts, the Port Angeles Symphony, The Ballet Workshop, Port Angeles Light Opera Association, Readers Theatre Plus, Port Angeles Community Players and Sequim Community Aid — the latter for whom he led Handel’s “Messiah” singalong as a Christmas-season fundraiser.

He enjoyed conducting major works by renowned artists such as Bach, Mozart and Brahms, his friends have said.

All rehearsals will be in the performing arts center.

Ehling, who moved to Port Angeles from Alaska in 1986, became musical director and conductor for the Peninsula Singers in 1990 and the Port Townsend Community Orchestra in 1995.

In 2010, he was named by the Washington Music Educators Association as one of the outstanding educators of the Pacific Northwest.

In 2011, Ehling received a Clallam County Community Service Award for his involvement with theatrical, cultural and community-aid groups.

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Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at cmcdaniel@peninsuladailynews.com.

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