Recap of the Tenth

June 04, 2018

On October 28, 2017, family and friends gathered for Danny’s Tenth Remembrance at A Reason to Survive (ARTS), the nonprofit that is home to the Danny Riley Music Program. The music in the background of the video below is Danny playing the guitar.

For Danny’s Tenth, his family commissioned the San Diego Dance Theater to make a video of an interpretive dance performed to Danny’s song “Mountain’s Edge.” Below is the video:




For what would have been Danny’s 30th birthday on December 12, 2017, Maggi and Frank wrote a special verse for the Irish lullaby “Danny Boy.” They recorded it with the technical assistance and melodica accompaniment of Fabio Alejandro Rojas Jimenez at Refugio Music Studio. The voices are Maggi’s and Frank’s with Maggi playing the guitar and Frank a short Irish tenor banjo intro   

Remembering Danny on October 31

October 28, 2016

Though your days here were brief,
   Your spirit was alive, awake, and complete.
   May you continue to inspire us:
   To enter each day with a generous heart,
   To serve the call of courage and love.”

                                                      -John O’Donohue

Intro to Our Boys

May 19, 2016


Sam and Danny never met but shared a passion for music, constantly playing guitar and singing by themselves and with friends and family. Diagnosed on the same fateful day – December 8, 2004 – but on different continents, they both died of cancer in 2007 – Sam in June in Somerset, England, and Danny in late October in Santa Barbara, California. Their love of music became a way to express themselves and to cope with the challenges that cancer presented.

While these two talented teenagers never met, their parents did! It started with an email Sam’s mother Jane sent to Jack Johnson’s website to let Jack know how his music was a constant companion to Sam in his final days. Her message was forwarded to Danny’s parents and a correspondence between the families about their sons began. In June 2015 Jane and Kevin McDonald visited Danny’s parents for few days. Many emotions were shared over those days, but the main theme was the love of their sons and the gifts that they were and will always be. On the last evening of their stay, Jane read a reflection she had written over the course of several months prior to their visit entitled “Our Boys.”

Click here to read Jane’s poem “Our Boys.

Stained Glass Impression

October 28, 2015

On the eighth anniversary of Danny’s death, we remember him with words from the late Irish writer/philosopher John O’Donohue and a stained-glass impression of Danny.

“Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones.” -John O’Donohue


August 03, 2015

Danny’s sister Alicia interviewed Frank (their “Poppy”) for StoryCorps, and an excerpt was recently aired on NPR in Chicago. It includes some of Danny’s story.

Read here.