September 15, 1922 - August 18, 2021
Arlington Paul Kahley (“Art”) passed away on Wednesday the 18th of August, 2021, less than one month from his 99th Birthday. The son of Edward and Mary Kahley, Art was the youngest of four siblings and a lifelong resident of York. Those close to him knew him to be deeply committed to his wife, family, friendships, community, church, and the many students he taught and inspired for decades as a music educator and director. All who knew him felt the special gifts of integrity, humor, and joy he brought to all of his endeavors and relationships. His reach was both broad and profound. Art was the longest continuous member of the congregation of Calvary United Methodist Church located at 11 North Richland Avenue in York, which he joined on April 1, 1934 at age 11. His father was a founding Trustee of the then-named Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, a merger in 1921 of two other churches. Art was an active member of the congregation as a member of the Wesley Fellowship Class which he joined in 1955. Prior to his life as a music educator, Art served three years in the U.S. Army during WWII as a Tech Sergeant in an Anti-Aircraft Battalion that moved throughout the Pacific Theater of operations. He was stationed in Fiji when Japan surrendered unconditionally in 1945. A York native and graduate of William Penn Senior High School, Art went on to complete his undergraduate work at West Chester State College. Upon receiving his Master’s degree in music education from the Pennsylvania State University, Art studied advanced conducting with Wilfrid Pelletier at Interlochen, Michigan – among the most influential music educators of the 20th century – and continued his studies at Peabody Conservancy of Music. While he played many instruments, Art was primarily a violinist, beginning his training as a child and playing throughout his life. He was first chair of the second violin section of the York Symphony Orchestra and a member of its Board of Directors. During his tenure at York Suburban as Chair of the Music Department and Director of Bands, the High School Band performed in eight states as well as Washington DC, Quebec and Ontario. These performances included the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the opening ceremonies for two World Series games in which he unveiled a huge American Flag on the field for the National Anthem played by the York Suburban High School Band. This innovative idea was the first of what has now become a patriotic tradition in sports events across America. At Suburban, Art was responsible for organizing over 500 young musicians from grade 5th through 12th for the York Suburban “Knights” Annual Band Day and initiating an Alumni Band. Beyond his role as music director at York Suburban High School, Art was Director of the York City Band, helped organize the York Youth Symphony and served on its Board of Directors, organized and directed the concert band at York College, and organized a band of 1,976 musicians for the finale of the 1976 Bicentennial celebration in York. Art was the founder and Director of the Pennsylvania Ambassadors of Music, a program that led international concert tours of local high school and college student musicians each summer. The Ambassador program started in 1974 and attracted some 200 students each year who performed in the United States and across Europe and Asia, fostering an international cultural exchange through the shared language of music. Art led a total of 25 International Concert Tours over three decades with the Pennsylvania Ambassadors. Through these travels he established a friendship concert in Unterwössen Germany, directing both the Ambassadors and the Unterwössen community band. Art received numerous awards and commendations for his dedication and contributions to the musical life of his community, and was a member of the following organizations: Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity, American School Band Directors Association, Music Educators National Conference, Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, and the National Collegiate Band Master Association. At his 90th birthday celebration in 2012, he was recognized by the Mayor of York, PA for his lifelong commitment and dedication to music education. Throughout his career, Art was driven by his belief that a strong instrumental music education gave students the self-confidence and discipline to present themselves as superior representatives of their schools and their communities. Art’s deep commitment to his philosophy “Music is for everyone, everywhere” inspired musicians and music-lovers of all ages in his community and throughout the world. He devoutly believed that music could powerfully connect people across generations and cultures. Art was a Member of the Rotary Club of York since 2002 and is a past President of the Rotary Club of Red Lion where he was a member for 15 years. Art is survived by his wife of nearly 73 years, Mildred Ann Kahley (“Mil”), also a committed educator now in her 93rd year of life. Art and Mil were inseparable; she was his soul mate, best friend, and partner in their life and business, the Pennsylvania Ambassadors of Music. She will forever be his greatest fan. Art is also survived by two sons, Richard and David. The eldest, Richard Kahley (“Rick”) of Mt. Wolf, PA has always focused on his parents and the importance of family traditions. Rick’s wife Deborah Kahley (“Deb”) considered Art to be her father and cared for him toward the end of his life. Their daughter Elizabeth Kahley (“Beth”) of Philadelphia, PA was touched by Art’s love of music and is committed to raising her children Esme Hollander (8) and Aron Hollander (5) in the joyful spirit of their great-grandfather. Aron was named for Arlington. Art’s youngest son David Kahley absorbed his father’s love of travel and now serves as the President & CEO of a nonprofit community development organization working to expand PA’s travel and tourism industry. At Art’s 90th birthday celebration in 2012, a scholarship program was created in his honor to support high school students from the local community pursuing a career in music performance or music education. A commemoration will be held Saturday, September 25, 2021. The Service begins at 11:00 a.m. at Box Hill Mansion at Regents' Glen, 1501 Copper Beech Drive, York, PA. A visitation will follow the service from approximately noon to 2:00 p.m. For directions, please visit https://www.boxhillmansion.net/contact-us. RSVP to [email protected] would be appreciated, but is not essential. In lieu of flowers to honor Art, the family would appreciate donations to the Arlington Kahley “Rising Musician” Scholarship Fund, administered by the Rotary Club of York. Memorial donations in Art's memory can be made by a check written to the “York Rotary Charitable Endowment Fund” in care of the Kahley Scholarship Fund. Donations may be mailed to Rotary Club of York, 724 S. George Street, York, PA 17401. To make a donation online, please visit yorkrotary.org > Charitable Donations. Art has been in the care of the Etzweiler Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, 1111 E. Market St. York, PA.
Arlington Paul Kahley (“Art”) passed away on Wednesday the 18th of August, 2021, less than one month from his 99th Birthday. The son of Edward and Mary Kahley, Art was the youngest of four siblings and a lifelong resident of York.... View Obituary & Service Information
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