Dianne Tittle de Laet is an author, harpist, poet, and Executive Director of The Arete Fund. As a writer, her theme is the hero. As a harpist and poet, she recreates the oral tradition of praise song at the harp by giving voice to women with recitation and song from the Greek, Biblical, Norse and Irish oral traditions. As a contemporary praise singer, her subjects are love and war and her original compositions include, whenever possible, surviving musical fragments. Dianne presented an annual lecture/performance on the Greek oral tradition at Stanford University for close to three decades.
In 1989, a memorable performance took place at Stanford Memorial Church. When she stood to take a bow, the Loma Prieta earthquake commenced, and her chair was struck by a piece of falling masonry. A performance highlight was her participation in the International Music Festival in Izmir, Turkey, in 2000, where she performed both in the Great Theatre of Ephesus as a guest artist, and her own story, “Mother Mary’s Secret Chest,” was presented on July 4 at Meryem Ana Evi, The House of Mary, in Ephesus, before an international audience of pilgrims. For this story and her recitation of verse from the poetry of Karol Jozef Wojtyla, she received a personal letter from the Vatican and a blessing from Pope John Paul.
Dianne is a published poet and author of ten books. She was a consultant for Scholastic Books on their Greek Myth Project for middle school children and gave programs of Greek myth, Sumerian verse and Irish poetry to elementary school children. She co-founded The Live Poets with poet, Ryland Kelley, and hosted a poetry hour on local TV for twelve years. In 1994, she initiated The Hero Project at the Redwood City Arts Center. In 2004, she participated in the cultural programming that attended the recreation of the Nemean Games in Nemea, Greece. Her presentation called: “Voices: A Praise Song for Peace” involved harp and drum and included ancient and contemporary verse. In 2005, she was invited to present her “Praise Song for Earth” in the ancient theatre of Argos, Greece. Again, in 2008, she performed in the ancient stadium in Nemea, Greece, under the auspices of the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games. In 2012 and 2016, she competed in the Nemean Games and was victorious in her class. (She also competed in five marathons, the Greek Marathon being her first race, and qualified for the USTA National Triathlon Championship - once upon a time).
In 1996, Steerforth Press published a memoir entitled Giants & Heroes: A Daughter’s Memories of Y.A. Tittle. With the proceeds from this nationally acclaimed memoir, she initiated The Arete Fund, an educational non-profit in 1996. The Arete Fund supports education locally and acts globally to encourage greater understanding by means of humanitarian, educational and artistic projects. Arete provides college tuition assistance for deserving high school seniors who exemplify Arete – an ancient Greek word for excellence and virtue – and in turn, seeks to rekindle its ancient meaning for the modern day as a means of fostering mutual respect and good will.
To date, Arete has engaged in humanitarian projects in Darfur, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Morocco, Bethlehem, Mongolia, Tibet, Guatemala and the Philippines. Educationally, the fund provides ongoing scholarships annually for deserving individuals who aspire to attend college or trade school at Menlo-Atherton High School, in Atherton, California. Arete annually supports 14-20 students who attend La Escuela de los Sordos (The School for the Deaf) in Quetalzenango, Guatemala. Arete also provided scholarships at Hopi High School in Polacca, Arizona, for eleven years. In 2016, Arete partnered with World Relief to provide transitional housing for refugees from war torn countries, namely Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. Ta Mike’s Friendship House was the work of many hands and generous hearts before it became a home to families fleeing the ravages of war and coming to America for the first time.