Dean E. Friedrich
1928 - 2007
Dean Friedrich, voice teacher and choral conductor, taught at two colleges and two academies in the Seventh-day Adventist school system in the 1950s and 1960s. Beginning in the 1960s he became known in California for his music school and his work with independent choral ensembles.
Dean was born in Billings, Montana, on May 24, 1928, and raised in California, the youngest of three sons of Thomas H. and Lou I. Friedrich. Following graduation from Lodi Academy in 1946, where he had conducted a choral group for a year and served as senior class president, he enrolled at PUC as a music major with voice as his performance area. He graduated in 1950 with a B.A. in music education and then taught at the preparatory school for a year.
In 1951, Friedrich accepted a position at Union College and enrolled for graduate study at Columbia University. While doing graduate work that summer, he sang in the Robert Shaw Collegiate Choral group.
He directed the men's chorus at UC for a year and then was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served until 1954. During his time in military service he directed the Camp Pickett Choraliers, a popular group that performed with vocal and violin soloists and toured extensively, playing only sacred music.
Upon his discharge from the army, Friedrich returned to CU to continue graduate study and that fall accepted a position at Cedar Lake Academy, now Great Lakes Academy, in Michigan. He was then asked to go to Brazil and chair the music program at Colégio Adventista Brasileiro, the Seventh-day Adventist college in São Paulo. They had just completed a new music building as he arrived in October 1955 and he proceeded to furnish and equip it with instruments and implement a music curriculum. He also directed the school's Carlos Gomes Choir, a well-known ensemble in the country, during the two years he was in Brazil.
In 1957, Friedrich accepted a position at Pacific Union College Preparatory School, where he taught until the early 1960s. After leaving PUCPS, he moved to Vallejo, California, founded the Vallejo Choral Society (1962-1994) and established the Dean Friedrich's Academy of Music, where he maintained a voice studio until 2005. Hailed as a master conductor, he also served as director of the Mini Singers Music in Motion Show Troupe and the Napa Choral Society.
Friedrich had earlier formed the Meistersingers, a highly disciplined group that sang extensively throughout California and was featured on Chapel Record LP 5053, Come, My People, which features two of his compositions. They were later featured on Chapel Record LP/ST-5083, O, Come Emmanuel, as an accompanying group for soprano soloist Betty Lawson.
Friedrich was living in Vallejo, California, at the time of his death on October 17, 2007, at age 79.
Sources: Pacific Union Recorder, 23 January 1946, 8; Central Union Recorder, 14 August 1951, 3; Dean E. Friedrich, "The Thrill of a Mission Call, The Review and Herald, 11 October 1956, 1, 23-25; The Youth's Instructor, 11 August 1953; 12, 13, 19; Chapel Records, Come, My People, #LP5053 liner; Obituary, Napa Valley Register, 23 October 2007. 1930 U.S. Federal Census; Social Security Death Index.