The youngest of two sons of Claude and Fannie Shields, Dale and his older brother, Gerald were raised in a house full of art, music, and liberal spiritual values.
Both of his parents sang gospel music, professionally. His mother was a member of the Turner Gospel Singers and his father led the Shields Brothers Jr. Gospel Quartet (The Jubilee Four).
The Shields Brothers Sr. Quartet
His Grandfather, Claude Shields Sr., led the Shields Brothers Sr Gospel Singers and owned a dry cleaning business under the same name in Cleveland, Ohio. Dale is also the cousin of the legendary fight promoter, Don King.
~ For my Grandfather and Father and Mother ~ Singing with the Angels!) The Shields Brothers, a mainstay of Cleveland’s gospel music scene for more than seventy years. The Shields Brothers began their singing career in 1928. The group members were Lee Crosby, Arthur Beasley, Arthur Turner, James Henderson, and Claude Shields Sr. (center). Together they paved the way for Black gospel quartet music in Ohio. Their most popular song was When the roll is called in heaven, I’ll be there. The Shields Brothers included radio personality and promoter, Arthur Turner (second from right) who joined the group in 1930. Arthur Turner was a respected Gospel music promoter who broadcasted on WABQ and WJMO radio stations, beginning a career in broadcasting in 1948. For 52 years, he managed the Elite Jewels and he was the last original member of the Shields Brothers. He was also one of the founding members of the Ohio Singers Movement and the Gospel Music Workshop of America (Cleveland Chapter). ~
Dale Ricardo Shields received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees (summa cum laude) from Ohio University. He attained additional graduate study at Wayne State University (The Hilberry Company) where he founded the Lloyd Richards’ Society at Wayne State University. He attained additional study at the Negro Ensemble Company, Henry Street Settlement (New Federal Theatre), and The National Improvisational Theatre. He attended John F. Kennedy High School (Cleveland, Ohio) where he received an Honor of Merit Award presented by John Glenn (Astronaut, and United States Senator), from the Exchange Club of Cleveland for service to his community. He also co-authored the John F. Kennedy High School Alma Mater and was the commencement class speaker at the 1970 graduation ceremony.
He was inducted into the George E. Mills Gallery of Excellence at his high school after graduation.