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Stanley Curtis

June 19, 1933 April 10, 2020
Stanley Curtis
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Obituary for Stanley Curtis

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Stanley Curtis. Stanley bravely fought the COVID-19 virus but succumbed to it at Orange Regional Medical Center on Friday, April 10, 2020. Stanley was born on June 19, 1933 in Medina, New York. He was the son of the late Stanley and Frances Wieczorek.


Stanley taught in the choral/vocal field for over 50 years. He began his teaching career at Monroe-Woodbury Elementary schools as a vocal music teacher. He has been a professor of music at SUNY Orange since 1969. He chaired the vocal music program and taught many of the core music education courses over the years. Although semi-retired, Stanley was a professor emeritus and continued at the college as an adjunct professor teaching several course each semester, right up through this semester’s spring break in March. He held a Bachelor of Arts from SUNY Buffalo and a Master of Arts from Columbia University.

Stanley 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. As a soloist, Stanley 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, Stanley performed at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in choral works with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Ormandy. In recent years, he was the tenor soloist for Handel’s Messiah held annually at the United States Military Academy in West Point.

With all of his vast musical accomplishments, few meant more to him than the music he created with the singers of the Warwick Valley Chorale. Stanley became the conductor of the Chorale in 1986. Over the past 34 years, creating music with these singers was his greatest happiness. Members of the group often said “there’s something about Stanley that just draws you in” or “I’m here because of him”. In the moments after a great concert, he would turn to the singers and smile and say “that is what it’s all about!” The word “that” may mean different things to different people, but “’that’ at its core is a moment where he brought people together to do what they love and where he created a moment of harmony in their lives. And ‘that’ is what Stanley spent a lifetime doing. To those of you who have had the pleasure of participating in any of his many choral groups, we hope that you cherish those moments as much as he did.

Stanley is survived by his wife of 40 years, Elizabeth (Betty), his son Scott, who was the apple of his eye and his sweet granddaughter, Alayna Jacobs.

The family asks that as you remember Stanley, you remember him not as a statistic of an evil virus, but as a man who was kind and gentle and who simply wanted to touch many lives whether it was through creating music together, his college lectures, his wonderful voice or simply his endearing smile.

In Stanley’s honor and to commemorate the upcoming 80th Anniversary of the Chorale, a scholarship will be awarded to a student who aspires to pursue a career in vocal music. Memorial contributions can be made to the Warwick Valley Chorale, P.O. Box 1309 Warwick, NY 10990.

At a future date to be announced, there will be a Celebration of Stanley’s life where we can gather and share memories. Stanley was a true lover of nature and the changing of the seasons. His final wishes were to have his ashes placed into the various gardens he tended to over his life.

To plant a tree in memory of Stanley Curtis, visit the Tribute Store.

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