| A musical tribute in memory of Guido Della Vecchia will be held Sunday, April 28 at 4 p.m. in the Clare & Josef Meier Recital Hall.
Black Hills State University will hold a musical tribute in memory of Guido Della Vecchia,
prominent Spearfish and Black Hills figure who devoted his life to promoting music and the arts.
Della Vecchia died last month at age 82 from complications from pneumonia. The celebration of his life through music is Sunday, April 28 at 4 p.m. in the Clare & Josef Meier Recital Hall and will feature the BHSU choirs, Black Hills singers and music by international artists.
A native New Yorker, Della Vecchia spent nearly 30 years in Spearfish creating a life with his wife Johanna Meier and becoming an integral part of the Black Hills State University and the local arts community. Della Vecchia and Meier moved to Spearfish permanently in 1984, and in 1991, the couple took over the Black Hills Play, the internationally famous production brought from Germany by Johanna’s parents Clare and Josef Meier.
Well known for his beautiful tenor voice, Della Vecchia began vocal studies at the age of 18. In 1951, during the Korean War, he was inducted into the army where he was trained as a radio technician. He was then selected as one of six to go to Germany where he sang as an entertainer in special services throughout the country for the remainder of his tour of duty. Upon his discharge, he lived in Italy where he refined his musical art by studying with several of Italy’s foremost maestri at the Cherubini Conservatory in Florence. He also attended the University of Perugia, and taught English through the Berlitz schools. Returning to the United States in 1958, he met his wife Johanna, and they continued their vocal careers both jointly and individually. During this time he performed at both Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York, and sang a number of leading Italian opera roles and concerts throughout the United States. His last professional appearances were in 1980, singing with the Seattle Opera Company.
In 2003, BHSU awarded Della Vecchia and Johanna with honorary doctorates of humane letters. BHSU has awarded only 11 honorary degrees in its history. Johanna’s father received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from BHSU in 1972.
Last fall, the couple was honored with BHSU Special Service Award during the annual Swarm Day festivities in recognition of their long-term service and exceptional efforts to the University.