Stanley Curtis - In Memoriam
1933 - 2020
"If anyone asks how I want to be remembered, please say the following about me:
1) He meant to make things better
2) What a voice!"
Obituary and Tribute Video: Stanley Curtis
Article in the Times Herald-Record: Music was his life---Stanley Curtis dies of Covid-19
Obituary in OperaWire: Conductor and professor Stanley Curtis dies aged 86
Tributes from our favorite composers:
From Henry Mollicone:
Dear members of the Warwick Valley Chorale,
I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Stanley Curtis.
It was a great pleasure for me to come to Warwick and meet Stanley, along with the members of this enthusiastic group. I’m glad I had the opportunity to sit with him and chat during dinner. I felt that he was a very special person, and we had a nice chat about Music, and about life.
I send my best wishes for the future of the choir. Hopefully at some point we shall cross paths again.
Warm wishes and condolences,
PS Please be well and take care of yourselves during this viral crisis. I send all of you my blessings and good wishes.
From Gwyneth Walker:
I am overcome with grief in reading your email. Words fail me at this moment.
Thank you for letting me know about Stanley's passing. I keep you, Stanley and all of your chorus in my heart.
"The Wings of a Dove is dedicated to the memory of Stanley Curtis (1934-2020), friend, and Music Director of the Warwick Valley Chorale. Stanley devoted his life to music. Surely, his final journey was on the wings of song. " The dedication to Dr. Walker's 2020 composition, The Wings of a Dove, which the Warwick Valley Chorale performed on May 20 and 22, 2022.
Gwyneth Walker and Stanley Curtis at a WVC rehearsal in Dec. 2015.
From Ivo Antognini -
Thank you very much for telling me about Maestro Curtis' death.
I'm so sad about this 🙁
I remember him very well, his humanity, his love for choral music.
He certainly was a good man with a big heart.
I'm sure that he changed the life of many people and this is the most important thing.
The picture with him that I have in my Carnegie Hall album has now an even more value.
Please bring my regards to the choir and thanks again for informing me.
The Warwick Valley Chorale perfoms Antognini's Prayer for Mother Earth. Placed on YouTube by WVC Soprano Ann Marie Morales-Ear:
"I have been a member of the Warwick Valley Chorale on and off for 15 years. This particular piece, A Prayer for Mother Earth by Ivo Antognini, was a world premier piece we were invited to sing at Carnegie Hall, on May 28, 2016. This recording is from our concert, performed a couple weeks later in Warwick, New York.
I am still so moved by this choral work, that when our conductor, recently passed away at the age of 86, I felt I could contribute to his legacy, and spread this magnificent choral work, by creating this video. All photos and videos, save one, are mine.
May this music lift your soul. May you sing now sweetly with the Angels, Stanley. "
Post by Scott Curtis on WVC's FaceBook page, Friday, April 10, 2020:
"Hi guys, ... Here’s a couple of songs from Dad. I’ll let him say goodbye through the love he’s shared with so many of you, music. We love you Dad. "
From "Songs of Love: Stanley Curtis in Recital" - a concert given at SUNY Orange on January 31, 2016:
From an LP recording of the concert of Handel's Messiah in December 1968 by the Vassar College Choir and Amherst College Glee Club and featuring Stanley Curtis, Tenor:
See the comments and tributes to Stanley from the many members of the WVC community here on WVC's facebook page.
Photo by Scott Curtis
Gail Johnson and Stanley Curtis before the 2018 concert at Carnegie Hall
Stanley was Professor Emeritus from Orange County Community College, having taught in the choral/vocal field for thirty plus years. Over the course of his career, he had extensive performance credits as a tenor soloist. He initially toured Europe in the US Army with the Fifth Division Red Diamond Chorus. Subsequently, he was engaged as a staff singer for the West German Radio/Television Network in Cologne, Germany. In that capacity, he performed major choral works under prominent conductors; including the world premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's Jacob's Ladder in Vienna. As a soloist, Stanley has appeared in performances of more than fifty sacred works. American solo appearances include performances with the Buffalo Philharmonic and Syracuse Symphony. In addition, for several seasons, Professor Curtis performed at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in choral works with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Ormandy. As a recitalist, he enjoyed the distinction of being accompanied by Aaron Copland and Ned Rorem in performances of contemporary music.
Stanley Curtis at the helm Photo by Ed Bailey
Tribute to Stanley Curtis in the program of WVC's 81st Annual Holiday Concerts, December, 2021:
The loss of our beloved conductor, Stanley Curtis, to COVID in April 2020 truly marked the end of an era for the Warwick Valley Chorale. His deep commitment to sharing the thrill of musical performance and his encyclopedic knowledge of musical history led the Chorale on a decades-long journey of self discovery and musical improvement.
This year would have marked Stanley's 35th year as our director. Like his students at SUNY Orange, he had a positive impact on each of us, and his influence will last many, many years. He raised the quality of our musicianship, taught us life lessons, tooks us to perform at Carnegie Hall more than a dozen times, dazzled us with his own wonderful tenor voice, and always made us smile. Our reputation as a cheerful, energetic, professional-level chorus simply reflected the personality and skills of our esteemed leader, Stanley.
2011 marked the 25th anniversary of Stanley's stewardship at the helm of the
Warwick Valley Chorale.
Here is the entire concert:
Stanley and Gail collaborating at rehearsal.
Photo by Ed Bailey
We gave this quilt to Stanley's wife, Betty, with the blessing of Chorale member, Vienna Aubert and her sister, Gloria, who made this beautiful quilt.
The Warwick Valley Chorale especially thanks these donors to the future Stanley Curtis Scholarship Award in Music to be established at SUNY Orange:
Catherine & Aurélien de Sèze
Charles & Viviana Holmes
Elizabeth & Scott Curtis
Ingrid & Karl Jacob
James & Carol Mauzey
Martha & Ray Westbrook
Gary & Lila Baranowski
John & Wilda Cameron
Cameron & Melissa Tidd
Donald & Grace Keeley
Albert J. Perotti
Anthony & Joyce Borkowski