I first met Percy in June, 1947, I think. He's my former brother-in-law, father of my seven Daley nieces and nephews. I introduced him to my sister. In 1947, a junior in high school, I was lucky enough to attend the Norfolk Music School, a summer school in Norfolk, CT run by the Yale Music School. Everyone there had a passion for music, and it was a great musical community. P.O., as I knew him, was in his mid-twenties, and came to Norfolk with his close Army friend, Bob Frye. Despite the age difference, they both liked me, and I liked them. We played competitive croquet after dinner, worked hard at our own music, and talked constantly about it.
Neither of us pursued music professionally, but it was a central passion. I knew his deep love of music and considerable knowledge. When we had the chance, not often enough, that's mostly what we talked about. A couple of years ago I went to a Belmont Open Sing in Belmont, MA, an event in which singers gather, both amateurs and professionals, to sing through some of the great choral masterpieces, accompanied by a full pick-up orchestra and conducted by Mary Beekman, one of Boston's finest conductors. We were singing one of Haydn's late great Masses, one I'd never sung. Suddenly I found myself looking at P.O./Percy. Like me, he had come to sing this work, which he already knew well. As I knew, he loved Haydn, especially his choral music, and he had driven all the way from his home in Belfast, Maine for the chance. Later I learned he regularly gave to the fund set up by the Powers Music School to keep these open sings going.
Who knows how much music this kind, quiet, caring man did on his own? I knew he sang in church choirs, and learned from his obituary that he sang for years in the choir of his parish church in Belfast. In the last few days I learned from talks at his funeral given by some of his children that his music, especially his singing, had a strong influence of them. I learned that he composed.
May Percy O. Daley Jr. rest in peace in the joy and light of his music. The singing will never be done.
-- With love from Joan Griscom