Music with Minnesotans: David Benson

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
May 23, 2012

Duluth, Minn. — A few weeks back I headed up to the Boundary Waters for a short three-day paddle. On my way, I stopped at our station in Duluth and visited with David Benson.

We had plenty to talk about since we both love the outdoors and I am a (very) fledgling birder. David has worked as a naturalist at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, Gooseberry Falls State Park, Jay Cooke State Park, and Pattison State Park in Wisconsin. He's published a book on owls that he gave to me at our interview and I packed in my Duluth Pack — though I only looked at the gorgeous pictures and sadly saw no owls of my own this time out.

David currently works as the Executive Director of the Duluth's Damiano Center, a human services agency that operates a soup kitchen serving over 100,000 meals a year.

He has also become an Eastern Orthodox Christian and his musical interests have led him to learn Byzantine chant at Twelve Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church. Singing in choir is ingrained in David's DNA — in fact he met his wife Pamela in the Gustavus Choir. After college, he kept up singing with various groups including The Minnesota Chorale with the highlight being the very first to sing "Messiah" at Orchestra Hall.

You will notice David has a lovely, clear, articulate voice and he describes music beautifully. That surely comes from his own love of music, but also from a stint as a classical music announcer on KUOM radio.

Both of David's kids studied strings in Duluth's superb Suzuki program, so he learned the instruments along with the kids. He tells me he loves the classics, but this playlist is a combination of some very special and unusual music we seldom play on our airwaves.

David Benson's playlist:

Richard Strauss, Zueignung - Thomas Quasthoff

Morten Lauridsen, Epilogue: Voici Le Soir - The Singers. Matthew Culloton

Einojuhani Rautavaara, Cantus Arcticus: Swans Migrating - Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Vanska

Arvo Part, Silouan's Song - Tallin Chamber Orchestra

Kassiani, Using the Apostate Tyrant as a Tool - Kronos Quartet

Moondog, Synchony #2 - Kronos Quartet

Next week William Roos joins me. He is an income tax resource specialist and tells me he is jealous of my job because Congress does not constantly change the rules about music.

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