Stanley Ray describes The Classical Station as a delightful discovery upon relocating to North Carolina in 1991. Phone volunteering during lively membership drives led to volunteer announcing in 2011, substituting for other announcers when needed, and helping teach the annual New Announcer class. He also volunteers with landscaping and grounds maintenance at the WCPE offices and studios. As a farm boy from Kentucky, his green thumb comes naturally, and he loves the outdoors.
He enjoys all classical music, considers it magical, transporting, energizing, and romantic, marveling at the depth of talent classical composers manifest in their work and making a lifelong journey, since age 12, of exploring their art. Favorites include all the greats—Bach, Haydn, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Debussy, Schumann, Schubert, Copeland, and Stravinsky. He recommends Phil G. Goulding’s book Classical Music: The 50 Greatest Composers and Their 1,000 Greatest Works.
As a movie buff, Stanley Ray loves the way great directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick ( who used classical music in many new ways), Sydney Pollack, and Anthony Minghella, cause classical music to become the seamless, mood-setting character of the story. Stanley Ray says, “When I hear Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A, I always remember Robert Redford kissing Meryl Streep in Out of Africa, the epic Oscar winner of 1985.”
He studied piano as a kid and is now grateful that his daughter Sarah is an avid pianist who knows how to put her dad in a better mood by playing Moonlight Sonata and “Claire de Lune.” “I’ve been listening to classical music since I was 10. I don’t think it needs to be stuffy or snobbish; it’s amazing that the great composers have been popular for several hundred years, a kind of artistic immortality. The main reason I contribute to the WCPE Education Fund is the opportunities it provides to eager young musicians who love playing classical music, work hard to improve, and appreciate your support.”
Stanley Ray found himself on Wall Street in the 1970s and 80s and later became a Realtor. After a military stint as a Green Beret medic, he studied EMS to volunteer at his children’s sports events, cycling trips, and triathlons. He has bicycled across North Carolina every year since 2002 during the Mountains to the Coast ride with 1,200 cyclists. He and his wife Bushra, a PhD pharmaceutical research scientist, enjoy their three grown kids (who all attended North Carolina universities) and live in Chapel Hill.