Professor of Music Michael Dilthey’s work will be featured in an upcoming holiday-themed virtual show, “New Sounds of the Season,” produced by NextStage Theater Company.
“Each and Every Day in December,” with music by Dilthey and lyrics by his songwriting partner, Brian Leahy Doyle, was originally written and recorded in 2018, but “the words are so appropriate for this Christmas, during a pandemic,” he said. The singer reminisces on simple holiday joys—carols, stockings, and twinkling lights—and then sings “though far from you, I hope my dreams come true, and I’ll see you once again next year.”
NextStage’s production will pair professional singers and a choreographed ballet routine with the song; the virtual show will run on December 22 and 24.
Dilthey said he’ll be watching on Dec. 22 since he’s busy on Christmas Eve with a church organ gig, something he does every year (he’s an organist at St. Elizabeth’s of Hungary in North Adams and St. Patrick’s and Raphael Parish Church in Williamstown).
In the last several years, Dilthey realized he wanted to do more composing—his four sons had left home, offering him more time for his own creative practice. He had recently composed a new opera and met with MCLA Arts Management Professor Diane Scott, who encouraged him to produce it independently, and the Greylock Opera Collective was born. Dilthey and the GOC produced “The Weeping Woman” at MASS MoCA in 2019.
“I’m happy as a composer,” he said. “To have music I compose and I love sit on a shelf is no fun.”
“Each and Every Day in December” was born before the production of “The Weeping Woman”—Leahy Doyle had given Dilthey the lyrics years ago, and he ended up getting a creative spark in 2018, composing the music in one sitting. “I arrange a lot of Christmas music for my church jobs, but I don’t really compose a lot of holiday music,” Dilthey said. “But I set it in almost a day. When things work, I can compose really quickly.”
A few days before Christmas in 2018, he recorded a video for the song at MCLA’s Church Street Center, featuring Erin Casey, who teaches voice lessons at the College, Karen Schwartz on piano, and two of his sons, George and Harrison Dilthey, on cello and bass, respectively. His daughter-in-law, Kelley Bryant, shot the video, and the song was recorded and mastered by Joe Aidonidis. “I sent it to Brian that Christmas Eve,” Dilthey said. “Merry Christmas—here’s your song!”
Dilthey said he’s looking forward to seeing the NextStage production of the song—and says that the creative reward he feels from composing is felt throughout his many varied roles in music. “At the end of the day, I write music, I compose, I do my best to send a message of hope, or beauty, fulfillment, gratification…whatever people get out of music, I hope they can get out of something I compose,” he said. “That’s my spirituality, my religion—to offer it from the organ bench at church, my composing place, or from the classroom, with my students.”
Learn more about the Greylock Opera Collective at https://www.greylockoperacollective.org/.