In an elegant evening full of music and wildlife photography, Dr. Carl Seale - former UTPA music professor and Valley Symphony Orchestra conductor - was honored Tuesday, Nov. 6 for his lifetime devotion to conducting, composing and wildlife preservation.
The evening - a collaboration among the UTPA Foundation, Valley Land Fund and the Valley Symphony Orchestra - began with dinner in the University Ballroom, followed by the Orchestra's performance in the University Fine Arts Auditorium.
Among the Valley Symphony Orchestra pieces was Seale's original composition, "Jewels of a Land Alive," featuring a digital presentation of more than 200 award-winning photographs from the Valley Land Fund's Wildlife Photo Contest that were arranged by Seale's son, Ansen, a digital production artist.
In recognition of Seale's 30 years as a faculty member with the Department of Music, UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez presented Seale with a University Lifetime Achievement Award.
"He has truly given his life to his beloved (Rio Grande) Valley and to UT Pan American," Nevárez said. "Dr. Seale, you have a blank page on which you will compose your future, and no matter what the future holds, I will always consider you the leader of the band."
Seale, who had conducted the Valley Symphony Orchestra from 1971 until his recent retirement, said the award was a wonderful surprise.
"I am honored greatly for this tribute, and I appreciate the thought that goes into the recognition," Seale said. "My focus tonight is for the wildlife that surrounds us here in the Valley."
Valley Land Fund Board Member Kirk Clark, master of ceremonies for the event, thanked Seale for his devotion to the preservation of Valley wildlife and presented father and son with framed photographs of Valley animals.
"Tonight we come together to celebrate both our natural and cultural heritage," Clark said. "This is a work of love and a work of a lifetime commitment."
Yvonne Anderson, South Texas Symphony Association board member, also presented a baton to Seale as a symbol of his new status as "Conductor Emeritus."
"Thank you for your many years of loyal service to the University and the entire community," Anderson said.
Honored earlier this year at the UTPA Alumni Association's annual Master Professor Banquet, Seale's musical compositions include two operas and two ballets, and his works have been featured in San Antonio, Fort Worth and several Mexican cities.