After years of being behind the scenes, Riverside actress returns to the spotlight
Diane David says that she has always been aware that her life is a series of passages, with each one preparing her and leading her into the next.
David was born in Georgia. Because David’s father was in the Air Force, the family traveled to post-war Germany and pre-desegregation Alabama before finally settling in Riverside. Though she began studying music as a clarinet player in the Central Junior High and Poly High School bands, she says that she does not remember a time when she did not sing.
“I sang in every talent show through grade school and junior high,” says David. “I didn’t start singing seriously until my senior year in Poly’s chamber singers.”
David was a music major at Riverside City College and the UC Riverside, where she received her bachelor’s and master’s. She had begun classical vocal training at the urging of a fellow student — which she says opened a whole new awareness for her. She began studying privately and competed in the Metropolitan Opera auditions. She also became the first graduate student in the UC Riverside music program to do a performance analysis and recital as her master’s thesis.
In the late 1970s, David was hired to teach voice at RCC. She would go on to start an opera workshop and to establish the jazz singers that toured with the college’s jazz band to the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. She also had a love for theater, performing in several musicals with Riverside Civic Light Opera, which became known as Performance Riverside.
Because of her work with the jazz singers, David was hired in 1991 as vocal director for Riverside Civic Light Opera, a position she would hold for several years.
“It was during my tenure as vocal director that I developed a fascination with lighting design, and tried to learn […]