My World of Religion, Politics, Entertainment and Social Issues

If you are visiting my blog, expecting to see 'Toward a Progressive Catholic Church,' I have changed my title to reflect my wide assortment of interests. Having retired from my secular job, I hope to devote the rest of my life to my hobbies, ministries and perhaps a part-time job that makes good use of my communications skills. This blog will be designed to address my multi-faceted interests.

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Location: Rochester, New York, United States

I have an M.A. in Theology and an M.Div (Master of Divinity) from St. Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry. I am currently a media consultant and promoter of classical music. I am also certified as an officiant by the Federation of Christian Ministries for baptisms, weddings and funerals and minister independently of the Rochester Diocese. My life has encompassed many interesting paths: broadcasting, free-lance writing, video-production, music, ministry and a secular job in government. In addition to this blog, I have a YouTube site at www.youtube.com/priestray and I have a Facebook page.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Black History Month: Remembering Calvin O. Dash



Dear Blog Visitors:

As we celebrate Black History Month, I fondly recall a man who was a huge influence in my life. I am referring to the late Dr. Calvin O. Dash, who lived from 1924-2005.

Calvin Dash excelled at a time when it was often very difficult for African Americans to pursue their chosen fields. In his case, the chosen field was operatic music. Although the world could have been his stage, he chose teaching instead, and I was honored to be one of his students.

Calvin received his doctorate from the Juilliard School of Music. Although he had hoped to teach at the Eastman School of Music, he instead taught magnificently at Franklin High School in Rochester, New York and later ran his own music school for many years in the Washington, DC area.

I was very privileged indeed to have Dr. Dash as my high school choir director, in addition to taking private voice lessons from him and singing in his church choir while I was in college. Calvin had a very strict demeanor, because he wanted his students to perform to the best of their respective abilities. When a student excelled, he helped him or her to explore options, whether it was applying to a prestigious music school or exploring performance opportunities.

Calvin and his wife, Dorothy, had magnificent operatic voices and they often performed together in the Rochester community. Their son, Michael, became an acclaimed singer with the Metropolitan Opera and other opera companies. Sadly, Michael died in 1995 at the young age of 36. Here is a link for Michael's obituary that appeared in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/1995/03/16/obituaries/michael-dash-countertenor-and-baritone-36.html

Calvin and Dorothy's other son, Elliot, is doing well as a professional actor.

When Calvin Dash visited Rochester a few years ago, he called me and we had a wonderful nostalgic conversation. I am glad I had an opportunity late in life to remind him of the very large role in played in my early life.

Peace to all,
Ray

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