September 2007 – In Memory of a wonderful man, and musical genius – by Debbie Fleming
Doug Riley, ueber-talented keyboardist from Toronto, passed on suddenly Aug.27, 2007 at the age of 62. He set the bar so high! Excelling in R&B, jazz, classical, blues — playing Hammond B3 and piano — it will be very difficult for anyone to come close to his genius. My association with Doug was a long one, having recorded hundreds of commercial jingles and recording sessions under his guidance. I like to say that owning my house is thanks to Doug Riley (and Trudel Productions, for whom Doug plied his talents). The hole that is left in all our hearts and souls, now that Doug is gone, is huge, and we are all grieving, and missing him so.
Two days after Doug died, while carrying him around in my heart and soul every waking minute, the chorus of a song came to me. By the end of the day, I had written a song for Doug, called “Song For the Doctor”. I sang it for some of my friends, and we all agreed we had to record it in Doug’s memory. The response was nothing short of mind-boggling.
The recording of the song took place on September 23rd at Phase One Studios. With everyone, including the studio, donating their time, and Lou Pomanti at the helm as MD, we had 43 singers, 12 musicians and a very helpful number of people looking after catering, photography, video, and making sure everyone was taken care of. By the end of an 11 hour day, we had it all in the can. Gary Gray mixed it, Charlie Gray mastered it and Accudub manufactured it.
We were so privileged that singers such as Jackie Richardson, Dione Taylor, Sharon Lee Williams, Shawne Jackson, Colina Phillips, Cal Dodd, Wayne St. John, Roy Kenner, George Olliver, John Finley, Molly Johnson, Danny B were there to add their voices to the rest of the choir. All singers had worked with Doug over the years either in the studio, or on live gigs. It was an amazing feeling among all of us, both vocally and spiritually, and that translated to the recording, which was sold at the Memorial Concert in November. The artwork was beautifully designed by Juno award winner, Michael Wrycraft — an 8 panel tribute in words and photos to Doug Riley.
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 18th, 2007
4.pm A CELEBRATION CONCERT IN HONOUR OF DOUG RILEY
(A musical benefit for the Doug Riley Scholarship Fund in association with the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto)
CONVOCATION HALL, 31 Kings College Circle
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
Soloists: David Clayton-Thomas, Cal Dodd, Dione Taylor, Courtney Farquhar, Danny B. & Michael Burgess
Featuring voices of: Sharon Lee Williams, Shawne Jackson, Colina Phillips, Brenda Russell, Jackie Richardson, Betty Richardson, Kim Richardson, Sheree Jeacocke, Debbie Fleming, Lynne Deragon, Neil Donell, Roy Kenner, Wayne St. John, Steve Kennedy and a choir of close to 40 handpicked singers, all of whom are singing on the recording “Song For the Doctor” You will see Debbie’s Song For The Doctor around 4’17”.
The concert featured a Classical Section, Famous People Players, A Jazz Segment, featuring Don Thompson, Phil Dwyer, Guido Basso, Mike Murley, Ted Quinlan and many others. A Doctor Music Section, A Motherlode section, A Gospel section, An R & B section with Bernie LaBarge, David Clayton-Thomas and his band with Bruce Cassidy and Lou Pomanti, Planet Earth With Ben Riley . Jesse Riley provided a spectacular Police Honour Guard during the Concert.
During this concert, Song For The Doctor was performed as the grand finale to the show, with the full monte of singers and horns, as it was recorded. The CD single of the song was sold during intermission and after the show. All proceeds for the sale of this song go towards The Doug Riley Scholarship Fund through the U of T Faculty of Music. Song For the Doctor may be purchased through our shopping cart .