Photo by Donna Rice

Gayle Byers

In 1986, upon the departure of Castlewood Singer’s original director, Matt Kauffman, one of our members recommended we contact Mr. Gayle Byers to offer him the position of Director. Gayle was already known to the members of Castlewood as, at the time, he also attended Mt. Auburn United Methodist Church. Gayle was the Director of the Indianapolis Maennerchor and the Kem Temple Shrine Chanters. He accepted the offer and became Castlewood Singer’s director for the next 27 years.

During Gayle’s tenure with Castlewood Singers, the group became incorporated as a not-for profit, with a 501c3 status, and designated a Board of Directors to supervise the activities of the organization.

For the next 13 years, Castlewood continued performing Madrigal Dinners, designed and scripted by Gayle and Castlewood members. After performing at Carnegie Hall, for the First National Madrigal Festival in 1999, the group chose to expand their repertoire, in order to grow omg and expand our concert attendance and venues. Gayle now selected songs in a wide variety of choral styles, including classical, contemporary, sacred, spirituals and Broadway tunes.

Under Gayle’s directorship, the group of singers toured Scotland and England (2000), Germany and Austria (2004), and went back to Carnegie Hall, performing with John Rutter (2009).

Gayle was a great communicator with Castlewood’s audiences. He chose music familiar with our audiences, based on the range of ages of those attending. No doubt, his proudest moments were when he raised his baton to conduct the group of which he was so proud. His passing, in 2013, left Castlewood with a great challenge to pursue his vision for the group.

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2024 Penrod Society Grant Award

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