An Atlanta Legend has passed away. Dale Stone died on Saturday. He was 78 years old.
You may never have met him and wouldn't know his face, but if you were a Braves, Hawks, or even an Atlanta Flames fan you definitely have heard him play. Dale Stone was the organist for the three big Atlanta teams through the 80' & 90's. When you sang along to "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" at Fulton County Stadium, Dale was playing it. When you chanted "Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye", Dale was playing it. .
Dale was much more to me though. He was part of my family, my American Saddlebred Family.
My parents, Marvin and Audrey Ward are horse trainers and we traveled to horse shows in the Southeast almost every weekend of my childhood. Dale Stone was the official horse show organist at those shows. He always had a with a bright smile, loving personality and kept spirits up with peppy tunes. You could just tell by watching him play how much he loved it!
One of our friends said it best, "It's impossible to think about an American Saddlebred Horse Show without thinking of organ music, and it's impossible to think about the organ without thinking about Dale!"
Dale published a compilation of his "horse show songs" and my sister and I would play that CD on our boombox when we were kids and prance around our backyard pretending we were at a Horse Show.
He made a point to get to know the regular participants at the shows. He learned our names, our habits and our horses and if you were one of the lucky ones, he would give you and your horse your own "theme song" that he would play during your classes. He gave me and my horse "Roadie" the hymn "I'll Fly Away" because Dale said we were was so fast when we entered the show ring we looked like we were flying!
I know Dale is the one flying now. RIP my friend.
Thank You to 11Alive for the beautiful tribute to Dale Stone below.
Thank You to Richfield Video for the wonderful interview with Dale Stone below. .