By Carol Morris Dukes
Jazz singer Caprice Fox has found respite from the noise and excitement she’s known in New York. And despite a successful music career touring the world, it’s Hamilton, Virginia that she likes to call home.
A relative newcomer to Loudoun County; Caprice, an original member of the five-vocal jazz ensemble New York Voices, decided to move closer to her parents– in Leesburg–and she’s brought her jazz success with her.
A hot ticket on the jazz scene, Caprice Fox has done pretty well for herself. As a toddler, she began practicing the C major scale on her Grandmother Erma Riffle’s piano. Her grandmother was a teacher, a church organist, and the family matriarch. She became Caprice’s piano mentor and guided her throughout most of her foundational years of music training. As she grew older, Caprice studied music at the University of Colorado and supported herself with her own professional music business. She had a group, and they toured throughout the western United States. Later, she moved to New York to study music at Ithaca College and while finishing her degree in Jazz Studies, she received a scholarship to travel to Germany and sing with a college group made up of four other singers who chose the simple name: New York Voices.
After being very well received in Europe, the Voices made the move to New York City and began playing popular venues in Manhattan to enthusiastic crowds. An agent and a record deal with GRP Records followed, and soon Caprice was singing and touring all over the US, Europe and Japan. Led by director Darmon Meader who arranged such notable jazz standards as “Round Midnight” by Monk and “Giant Steps” by Coltrane, the New York Voices played places like Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. From ’89 to ’94, they released four total CDs on the GRP Label: New York Voices, Hearts of Fire, What’s Inside, and The Collection. Today, the New York Voices are a well-known Grammy-award winning ensemble.
Tired of touring and living a fast-paced life, Caprice left the New York Voices for a different way of life. Turning her interests toward children and education, she helped develop a non-profit organization geared toward early childhood intervention with programs that “honored the genious in every child.” She started teaching piano and mentoring young talent–just like her Grandmother Erma Riffle.
Today, one year after moving to Loudoun County, Caprice is still settling into her new business called Music Joy. She currently teaches Voice and Piano to 50 students and she even makes house calls! Traveling to the homes of her students, who range in age from three years to older adult, Caprice Fox flies under the radar, living and working in relative obscurity, where few people know of her high profile years with a famous jazz group. Despite her achievements, Caprice is is still reaching for the stars. Rather than rest on her laurels and allow her performance success to sustain her, Caprice has a new goal—one that has become the philosophy of Music Joy: to help others find and promote their creative spark and follow their dreams–no matter how old.
Living quietly in Hamilton suits Caprice. She’s doing what she loves with the people she loves. “Home is where the heart is and at this time my heart is here in Virginia,” Caprice explains: “Every family that I work with is a true joy and learning experience. I have families from all over the world; one family is from India so we are spending time learning ‘Jana Gana Mana,’ India’s national anthem.”
This New York Voice–Caprice Fox– speaks with adoration for the students she feels so lucky to work with. She’s been around the world, but this jazz artist is happy to be home.