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Oklahoman Kyle Dillingham & Horseshoe Road selected for 35-day world tour

American Voices administers the American Music Abroad program on behalf of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
BY BRYAN PAINTER Published: February 16, 2013

“For me playing is very sacred, and it's a very intimate thing,” he said. “And what happens, I think, is that people receive it that way and I think that a lot of people feel very close to me because of my music. I can play without showing you who I am, but it's no fun.”

Playing for the world

Guthrie master fiddler Byron Berline, a three-time national fiddle champion, has his own experience playing internationally. He was asked why Dillingham is a good fit for taking music to other nations.

“He's very entertaining and people love entertainment,” Berline said. “He's had experience doing it and he puts on a good show.”

As Dillingham alluded to in his American Music Abroad audition and interview, he wants to let his music speak languages even if he can't.

So far, Dillingham has traveled to more than 30 nations. He's been a featured performer for the king of Malaysia. In the United States, he has performed for the Japanese, Thai, Romanian, and Saudi Arabian ambassadors.

He is employed part-time at the University of Central Oklahoma as an ambassador-in-residence.

His primary involvement is in their Centre for Global Competency, a joint venture between the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of Academic Affairs.

Dillingham's role is in the area of musical diplomacy.

“I was hired by the university to do just that,” he said, “use my music to try to help students connect with the international communities within our community, but also to help develop overseas partnerships. These allow for exchange opportunities for the American students studying at UCO.”

In 2009, Dillingham traveled to Thailand where he performed in the musical, “Phra Lor.”

Desire to share

How does Dillingham explain his desire to share music wherever and with whomever he possibly can?

“Love your neighbor as yourself,” Dillingham said. “I think when you see somebody and you see them equal to yourself and as important as anybody you'll meet, then you have a chance to enter into something meaningful. This is my way to do that.”

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