Morton Dickson will be inducted into the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) Hall of Fame this month, and I could not be happier for the former Woodland Park educator who has spent a lifetime developing the talents of young vocalists and musicians.
I have heart for music teachers. My son, Garrison, graduated from Air Academy High School in 2012 and was a member of the marching band, symphonic band, jazz band and wind ensemble. I got no greater joy than watching his performances and helping out as a band dad.
I’ve been covering Woodland Park High School sports for nearly 20 years. I usually enter the school at the doors near the fine arts building/auditorium. As soon as you enter the building, you see Dickson Auditorium. It is named in honor of Morton and his late wife, Marta, who taught music at nearby Gateway Elementary School.
Morton taught music, mostly choir, at the high school and middle school from 1973 to 2007. One of his choirs performed at Carnegie Hall in 1995. He also started the ongoing tradition of the Madrigal Dinner that gets tons of support from the community and school district each year.
His programs were some of the most active and successful in the CHSAA Music Festivals. Rarely did his students receive any rating lower than “Superior.”
Morton was even the high school’s marching band director for six years.
He still judges competitions all over the state. Last weekend, he spent two days judging in Colorado Springs and two days at Rock Canyon High School in Highlands Ranch.
I had the chance to speak to Morton a few days ago about his Woodland Park experience and how he feels about being a part of CHSAA history.
“Woodland Park was a great place to be,” Morton told me. “I raised a son and daughter there, and loved my time with great teachers, many of whom are still great friends.”
Morton was first nominated for the CHSAA Hall of Fame 10 years ago by former Woodland Park High School athletic director and long-time friend Bob Graf. But as the years passed, Morton never got a call from the CHSAA committee, so he just sort of forget about the possibility of joining the elite club.
“I figured after I didn’t hear for a while, nothing was going to happen,” Morton said. “But last November, I got a call from (CHSAA assistant commissioner) Bert Borgmann telling me I had been voted in.
“I was absolutely speechless. I was stunned, I couldn’t believe it. I’m still in awe about the whole thing.”
The Hall of Fame is made up of mostly athletes and coaches. There are 204 inductees in all, which includes five teams. Morton is one of just 12 significant service contributors in the hall.
“I know some of the people that are members of the Hall of Fame, and they are wonderful,” Morton said. “They are people I look up to. Now I will be among them. What company — wow!”
Morton will be part of the 30th class. The ceremony is April 23 at the Marriott Hotel-Denver Tech Center, at I-25 and Orchard Road. Individual tickets are $60 and can be purchased through CHSAA. The festivities get underway at 6:30 p.m. Seating is limited.
Among those joining Morton at his table will be Graf.
“Bob and I are still good friends,” Morton said. “I am really looking forward to this evening.”
Danny Summers has covered sports at all levels in the Pikes Peak region since 2001. Send your story ideas and feedback to email@example.com.