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Home / About MPLS / Les Hale




Dr. Les Hale, UNI Professor, served as chairman of the music department and director of choral activities at Price Lab  School for 28 years. His vocal experience includes operas, oratorio, operetta, recital, musicals, jazz and barber-shop. He played several instruments in symphonies, concert and marching bands, opera and musical orchestras, jazz groups, show bands and strolling trios.

Dr. Hale set a standard for musical performance that his many students carried with them as they moved into careers as professional musicians or pursued other fields of study.  For over two decades he collaborated with Kenneth Butzier on many productions including Annie Get your Gun, South Pacific, Guys and Dolls and Fiddler on the Roof.  Hale and Butzier also collaborated on the Madrigal Dinners that featured the dramatic and musical performances of students from Price Laboratory School.  One former student put it this way.  "Every time I sit down at the keyboard, Les is sitting on my shoulder.  The musical conscience he instilled in his students is timeless and permanent.  He always pursued excellence and passed that along to his students who often excelled far beyond even their own expectations.

Another student reflected: "Les Hale was the master of vocal technique. He had a way of helping elementary, junior high and high school students develop sounds much beyond their years. He directed his choirs with an iron-clad commitment to performance excellence.  He really believed in people. He was a visionary who could see potential in students even when they couldn't see it themselves. He would settle for nothing short of excellence and in turn students rose to meet those standards to become the very best musicians they could."

While at UNI, Les Hale also founded and for 14 years directed the UNI Varsity Men's Glee Club. He also conducted the Metropolitan Chorale and other vocal groups.  Read more about Dr. Hale's work with the Varsity Men's Glee Club.

Les graduated from Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa. After attending Graceland College, The University of Southern California, Drake University and Indiana University, he completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Voice Performance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

Throughout his career, Les Hale has often served as guest conductor, visiting faculty member, and clinician in choral and vocal pedagogy, as well as an adjudicator for all levels of vocal performance, including the Metropolitan Opera auditions. He was guest conductor of 'Kingdom Choral Festival' in Saudi Arabia, and a judge for the World Finals of the U.S. Air Force 'Tops In Blue' competition. His emphases have been The Les Hale Studio of Voice, the Chorale, master classes in voice and musical theater, and computerized music composition. Dr. Hale was awarded the ICDA Distinguished Career Award in 1989, in addition to being recognized through a scholarship in his name at UNI.

Dr Hale retired in 1988 from his position at Price Laboratory School.  His influence left a lasting mark on the students he encountered over those 28 years. 



1960                          1980                          2000

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