He presently served as associate professor of music and director of keyboard studies at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, where he has been a fulltime faculty member since 2007. He was also the director of music and organist at Keith Memorial United Methodist Church (the first so honored to hold both posts), in Athens. He served St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Cleveland, as Saturday and holy day organist, and, he maintained an active K-12 studio, piano and organ, in Athens.
He was very proud of his keyboard students in his studio and considered them some of his greatest accomplishments. Previously, he served on the faculties at both Cleveland State Community College, and Tusculum College, and in the music ministries of several area churches.
A native of Cleveland, he graduated with honors in the top 10 of his class from Bradley Central High School in 1990. He studied at Lee University, Carson-Newman College, the University of Louisville, Southern Seminary, and the world-renowned University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. While at Carson-Newman, he received countless awards and honors, including the Composition Award, the Outstanding Graduate in Music Award, and the rarely-awarded Performer’s Certificate in Keyboard Performance. In 1995, he was honored to perform as guest alumnus and, in 1997, he was a guest presenter for the annual Church Music Symposium.
He served his Louisville assistantship as accompanist and organist for the university choruses, and he studied organ with Melvin Dickinson. He also co-chaired the keyboard faculty of the Ursuline School of the Performing Arts, and, served The Louisville Bach Society as a chorister (bass), and, as staff assistant.
In 1996, he was named a finalist in Cincinnati’s Strader Organ Competition, enabling him to study at the College-Conservatory of Music with David Mulbury. While in Cincinnati, he served as organist and music associate at the St. Paul United Methodist Church. After completing his doctoral coursework in 1999, he served on the faculty of Carson-Newman College, and, the staff of the First Baptist Church in Jefferson City.
Throughout his career, he has conducted, accompanied, and/or sung most of the major masterworks of the choral and orchestral/organ repertoires. He has served churches throughout the South and the Midwest, and, he has co-directed and/or accompanied a number of stage works, including Wesleyan’s productions of “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “The Fantasticks.” He was an active member of the College Music Society, the American Musicological Society, the Music Teachers National Association, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Pi Kappa Lambda, and, the American Guild of Organists. He held the Service Playing (SPC) and Colleague (CAGO) certificates from the Guild; he was a board member of the Cincinnati, Knoxville and Chattanooga chapters, serving as dean of the Chattanooga chapter, 2005–2006. He was also recognized as a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) by the MTNA.
Manley received the Hymn Society’s Austin C. Lovelace scholarship grant in 1997, and, his doctoral dissertation was published in cooperation with the Graduate Theological Foundation in 2004 as “Faith and Reason: A Musicological Perspective” (ISBN 0-9740232-3-X). He regularly attended professional conferences. Manley received one of the coveted Wesleyan faculty awards for his work, inside and outside the classroom, in spring, 2013.
He received the distinguished honor of serving as organist and director for the 2009 ordination and installation of the new bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville, attended by 7,000 and broadcast live via radio, television, and internet from Knoxville. He also served as organist for the annual meeting of the Holston Conference at Lake Junaluska, N.C., in 2009, 2010, and 2011 (an unprecedented three terms). Throughout 2008–2010, he served as accompanist, and eventual board member, for both the Monroe County Opera, and the Athens Area Community Chorus. He was a member of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Athens, and other local organizations.
He was preceded in death by his father, A.C. Manley; his grandparents, the Rev. Ralph C. Brooks and Sarah Gillis Brooks, and Mr. and Mrs. L.P. Manley.
He is survived by his mother, Margaret Brooks Manley; sister, Carla Manley Brown and brother-in-law, J. Mack Brown; and his much beloved niece, Bethany Leigh Brown, an accomplished flutist in her own right and a proud member of the Walker Valley Mustang Band. Of special mention are his very dear and longtime friend, Paula Johnson of Knoxville; other surviving relatives include aunts, uncles, and cousins in the Chattanooga, Dalton, Ga. areas, and North Carolina.
The family will receive friends today, from 5 until 8 at the Ralph Buckner Funeral Home in Cleveland. There will also be a visitation on Thursday, July 17, 2014, from noon until 1 p.m. with funeral mass to begin at 1 p.m. at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Cleveland, with Father Michael Nolan presiding along with guest ministers,
The Rev. Dr. Keith Wheeler and The Rev. Dennie Humphreys. Interment will follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens.
The family requests memorials be made to the ChildrenFund, International at www.childrenfund.org.
We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the Manley family guestbook at www.ralphbuckner.com.