Alfred Jacob Dahl
February 21, 1928 – October 8, 2019
Psalms 96 vs. 1 and 2
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
It is with heavy hearts we announce the passing of Alfred Dahl. He will be greatly missed by Bertha (nee Schlichting), his wife of 68 years, daughters Arlene (Bob), Karen, Elizabeth, son Jonathan and his siblings Agnes Epp, John (Louise) and Rudy (Edna). He was predeceased by his parents Jacob and Helen Dahl and sons-in-law James Doran and Uwe Hofmann. He also leaves to mourn sisters and brothers-in-law as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Born in Winnipeg, he spent his early years working on the family farm near La Salle. In 1950 he married Bertha and continued farming, but also began oboe lessons. As early as 1958, he was playing 2nd Oboe and English Horn in the Winnipeg Symphony. Soon his passion for music compelled him to leave Manitoba to pursue a career in music. He began by conducting the RJC Chorale in Rosthern, Saskatchewan. Three years later, the family moved to Saskatoon where Dad continued conducting bands in the school system as well as the Third Avenue United Church Choir. During this time, he formed the Alfred Dahl Chorale which was featured in CBC radio broadcasts.
In 1967, Dad took up a teaching position in India at Woodstock School, an international world school located in Mussoorie, in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains. There he conducted bands, choirs, the school orchestra and gave private lessons.
Due to a lack of central heating, the boarding school shut down for three months every winter, and during this hiatus, Dad taught music in the Calcutta School of Music and was the Principal Oboe of the Calcutta Symphony. It was during his time in India that Dad also began his studies of the viola – two of his daughters studied the violin, another daughter the cello, therefore, in order to complete a string quartet, he eagerly took up up the viola. His passion for the repertoire written for the string quartet lasted his lifetime.
Upon returning to Saskatoon, Dad not only taught private music lessons, conducted bands in elementary and high schools, played Principal Oboe of the Saskatoon Symphony, he also completed his first two degrees in Arts as well as Music Education at the University of Saskatchewan. He was a talented, versatile musician who both taught and played many instruments besides the oboe. Dad was also appointed the conductor of the Saskatoon Chamber Orchestra, the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra as well as the Saskatchewan Youth Orchestra. It goes without saying that his daughters were strongly encouraged to participate in these ensembles. He was an enthusiastic and inspiring conductor to the young musicians who made up these orchestras. No matter how unrhythmic or out-of-tune we may have sounded in the beginning, he always found something positive and encouraging to say, then, and only then, with a touch of humour, would he begin working on any deficiencies in the ensemble,. His love of music-making was infectious and through his many years of teaching, he instilled that same love and appreciation of classical music into thousands of students.
As if his musical life was not busy enough, he led the Nutana Park Mennonite Church choir, often choosing difficult repertoire like Bach Motets and Cantatas, Oratorios by Handel and Mendelssohn and Requiems by Mozart and Brahms to challenge his singers. Over the course of several summer terms, Dad received his Master’s degree from the University of Oregon, in Eugene, while performing in the Bach Festival Orchestra, led by Helmut Rilling.
The family moved back to Manitoba briefly, where Dad taught one year at MCI in Gretna, followed by two years in the Steinbach Regional Secondary School. During the time spent in Steinbach, Dad again joined the Winnipeg Symphony in the oboe/English horn section. Then it was half-way around the world again, this time to teach in the Febias Bible College in Manila in the Philippines. He ended his teaching career at the Briercrest Bible College in Caronport, Saskatchewan.
In 1986, Mom and Dad moved back to Manitoba, the province in which they both grew up. Although officially ‘retired’, Dad was busier than ever, playing piano wherever he was needed: at Donwood Manor, Kingsford House, Concordia Village, and for more than 30 years, was the steadfast pianist in the Bethania Personal Care Home. He also looked forward to Saturday mornings when he would meet with the other members of his string quartet, first with the late Frances Watson, and later, John Page, Brian Wurch and Theodore Wiens. The reading sessions always began with a few selections from J.S. Bach’s ‘The Art of the Fugue’, and over the years, they slowly made their way through the volumes of quartets by Mozart, Haydn, Schubert and Beethoven. Dad was also a regular member of John Enns’ String Ensemble. He practiced the viola for hours every day.
Throughout his life and travels, Dad’s belief and faith in God was unwavering. Dad’s legacy is his gift of music and we will miss his sense of humour and love of laughter. Dad was blessed with a long and healthy life and made friends wherever he went. His passing leaves a great void in our hearts.
The family wishes to thank Henry and Adina for their companionship and the care they provided in the last year of his life. Dad was also very grateful for all the women who made platz, zwieback, and other Mennonite goodies for him after Bertha moved into Bethania Personal Care Home.
“Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything “
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Alfred Jacob Dahl Tuesday October 8th 2019..
Death notice for the town of: Winnipeg, Province: Manitoba