The Payson Civic Chorale

Payson, Utah, founded in 1850 by devout Mormon settlers, has always had a rich tradition in the cultural arts harking back to its pioneer beginnings. One of the handful of opera houses in the western United States in the 19th century was located in Payson, Utah. One of the musical traditions from the 20th century was a biannual citywide performance of Handel’s MESSIAH. The Payson Civic Chorale began in 1981 as an outgrowth of that biannual performance when fellow performers felt like singing together only every other year did not satisfy their musical cravings, and so for the past thirty-seven years has been delighting audiences with a series of annual concerts, one of which, paying homage to its beginnings, is their sponsoring a Messiah Sing-Along for interested singers in Payson each holiday season. 

In the ensuing years since the Chorale sprang into being, from venues as prestigious as Carnegie Hall in New York City (where they performed under the direction of John Rutter), the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, and the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, to the not quite so famous as the local church or school just down the road in south Utah County, the aim of the Chorale has been to broaden the musical exposure, tastes, and experiences of both Chorale members and their audiences. 

This Dublin Festival marks a third collaboration of the Chorale with Music Celebrations International, having performed previously in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the 2011 and 2014 Memorial Day concerts in Washington, D.C. Last fall, they mounted a production of Mendelssohn’s oratorio ELIJAH with their neighboring Nebo Philharmonic Orchestra. 
The Chorale’s founder and musical director, David C. Dahlquist, retired in 2005 after a successful thirty-year career as the choral director at Payson High School where he worked with some 450 young choral musicians each year in five performing ensembles plus an Advanced Placement Music Theory class. To honor his legacy, Choir alumni have now established a scholarship fund in his name, which over the past fifteen years has awarded over $20,000 to deserving young musicians to help them further their education. Mr. Dahlquist is a graduate of the University of Utah in music education, and over the years has also worked extensively in musical theater with over fifty musical productions to his credit. He is also a talented composer with prizes having been awarded for original works. In addition to his musical work with the Chorale, he currently serves as the Justice Court Judge for the city of Payson, Utah.