Husband and wife are a music teaching duo
Julia and Ben Dale share their love of music with their students at Rock Canyon High School (RCHS). Julia is the director of vocal music and her husband, Ben, is the orchestra director.
“We share some students, and they are constantly surprised that we are married based on how completely opposite our teaching styles are,” laughed Julia. “Philosophically, we always want what is best for our kids, but in terms of our own styles, we could not be more different.”
Julia describes herself as being louder and in students’ faces, while Ben is calm and introspective.
The couple first met in 1999 at Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts. Their paths crossed again a few years later when they attended the same college, Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. They got to know each other and eventually married. The couple lived and taught on the East Coast for 10 years before moving to Colorado.
“We had made some connections at the music festival in Aspen and fell in love with the mountains,” recalls Ben.
Julia and Ben have two children, Charlie (8) and Ellie (6). “We are trying not to push music more than anything else,” said Ben. “As parents, we strive to introduce different things to our kids.” He further explained that both children play mini cellos, take lessons with him and acknowledge that music is a part of family life.
Julia and Ben’s passion for music inspires their students to appreciate music and the joy in performing. Ben was recently awarded the first Arapahoe Philharmonic Music Educator of the Year.
“Mr. Dale is an awesome person and teacher all in one,” RCHS student Avery Bjorklund said in her nomination letter. “He cares about us as people, not just as students and always encourages us to do our best, both in orchestra and in other pursuits,” she added. “He creates a great environment for students, allows us to speak our opinions, and doesn’t judge us.”
Ben received 50,000 online votes to beat out four other music teachers who work in Arapahoe and Douglas counties.
“I have a lot of respect for the other people nominated,” said Ben. “In addition to my appreciation to the Arapahoe Philharmonic and the opportunity for our community to rally around music education, I was also appreciative and humbled by the way the Rock Canyon community went out of its way to show support for me.”
Aside from music, the Dales enjoy spending time with their kids and watching them participate in various activities and sporting events. The family also finds time to get up to the mountains and enjoy the Colorado outdoors, which is what attracted them to the area originally.
By Mindy Stone; photos courtesy of the Dale family