The Utah Best of Vocal Solo Category certificate in the 2006 annual International Composers Guild Composition Contest was recently awarded to Diane Bean Morley, who was born and raised in Price.
She has been very active in music all her life, but A Yielding Heart, her prize winning song, was her first serious religious composition. It was sung by Kara Barney, with Charlene Newell as accompanist, on the Composers Guild Spectacular Concert Jan. 30 at the Wasatch Presbyterian Church located in Salt Lake City.
The concert was a musical show featuring winning compositions in the 2006 Composers Guild competition.
As a young girl, Morley sang in a quartet that performed all over southeastern Utah and won many talent shows while she was in junior and senior high school. She was one of a few students to go to the All Western States Music Conference held in Berkley, Calif. She was called as chorister in church at 13 and led her first choir seminary at 15. She has continued directing children's, youth and adult choirs for 54 years.
Morley graduated from BYU with a bachelors of science in education and a minor in music. She taught school in Price and San Jose, Calif. before marrying her husband, Richard Morley, who was in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints church education system, teaching seminary and institute.
Morley taught pre-school in Pullman, Wash., and taught school in many places they lived, including Australia. The last 12 years of her teaching career were in Price, where she wrote and directed annual musicals involving 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in patriotic and Utah historical productions. Her roadshows won first place awards six years in a row.
She directed a two hour musical production commemorating the 75 years of the Price Utah Stake, involving over 500 people, on the history of the settling of Castle Valley and the influence of the LDS Church in the area. She was named Utah's rural teacher of the year in 1992, the year her husband was called as president of the Philadelphia Pa. mission. She taught piano and was a member and president of the eastern chapter of the Utah Music Teachers Association in the 1980's, and has sung and soloed in the Messiah.
Recent health problems (carpel tunnel, for one) made her decide to try some serious composition. The result was her first serious religious piece, A Yielding Heart, which was the one earning the Composers Guild Awards-2nd Prize as well as Utah, Best of Vocal Solo Category. Her efforts to help and encourage others over the years have certainly provided a great foundation on which to build a new career in composing.
Six of the eight Best of Category awards went to Utah Composers: Kay Hicks Ward (Salt Lake City) in arrangements; Sheree Fitzgerald (Salt Lake City) in children's. Raymond Cook (Bountiful) in choral, Dr. Thomas Root (Ogden), in Instrumental/Orchestra/Band, Sheree Fitzgerald in Jazz/New Age/Popular, Kay Hicks Ward in Keyboard, and Alexi and Natalee Falk (Farmington) in Young Composer. Out of state winners were Grand Prize winner Scott Robbins, of South Carolina, in Instrumental/Orchestra/Band, and Peter Blauvelt, of Florida, in Vocal Solo. Six of the eight Best of Category awards went to Utah Composers: Kay Hicks Ward (Salt Lake City) in Arrangements; Sheree Fitzgerald (Salt Lake City) in Children's, Raymond Cook (Bountiful) in Choral, Dr. Thomas Root (Ogden), in Instrumental/Orchestra/Band, Sheree Fitzgerald in Jazz/New Age/Popular, Kay Hicks Ward in Keyboard, and Alexi and Natalee Falk (Farmington) in Young Composer.
Anyone can enter the Annual International Composers Guild Composition Contest, which closes on August 31 each year. Anyone winning recognition in the contest is eligible for inclusion on the Composers Guild Spectacular Concert, subject to the limitation of reasonable program length, which is traditionally held the last Tuesday in January.
For information and contest rules, contact Composers Guild, Box 586, Farmington, UT 84025 or call Guild President Ruth Gatrell at 801-451-2275.