New York Voices Return to School of Music for Memorial Concert

By David Maley, February 16, 2016

New York Voices Return to School of Music for Memorial Concert

ITHACA, NYMembers of the Grammy award–winning jazz vocal ensemble New York Voices will collaborate with Ithaca College School of Music students and faculty in a memorial concert for beloved faculty member Dave Riley on Tuesday, Feb. 23 — exactly one year to the day of his passing at the age of 83.

Free and open to the public, this 7 p.m. concert in Ford Hall will celebrate Riley’s lifelong commitment to music performance and education.

It will feature collaborative performances by New York Voices and the Ithaca College Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble and Choir. In standard jazz fashion, pieces will be introduced from the stage.

The founder of the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Riley served as an educator in the School of Music for two decades. Highly regarded as a vocal jazz specialist, guest conductor and freelance choral composer/arranger, Riley brought the ensemble international acclaim. His teaching provided training for many jazz educators and performers, including most notably New York Voices, originally brought together (and given their name) by him as an all-star alumni group to tour Europe.  

“We were blessed to have him attend our many concerts over the years,” said New York Voices members in a statement on their website. “Most notably, our 25th anniversary concert at the Jazz Standard in 2013, and later that year, our New York Voices Vocal Jazz Camp where we surprised him with the whole camp singing one of his vocal arrangements to him. There was not a dry eye in the house.”

Riley was a veteran of the U.S. Army who fought in the Korean War. He earned his undergraduate degree in music from Youngstown University and master’s degree in music education from Florida State University. After retiring from Ithaca College, he rejoiced in playing the piano, singing, traveling with his wife Nancy — also a former music educator at the college — golfing as much as possible, spending time with his children and celebrating the joy of life with friends.

New York Voices members will also host an open discussion about the role of jazz in the education of the 21st-century musician at noon on Feb. 23 in Hockett Family Recital Hall. School of Music alumni as well as the general public are encouraged to attend both the concert and discussion.