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Interview with Sara Holroyd, August 29, 2017

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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0:00 - Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Hi.

Segment Synopsis: Sara Holroyd introduces herself and provides a brief overview of her personal and professional background. This includes her time as an instructor at the University of Kentucky and as a nurse at St. Joseph Hospital.

Keywords: Alabama; Education; Educators; Hospitals; Instructors; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); Medical Professionals; Music; Nurses; Nursing; Nursing schools; Patients; Professors; Saint Joseph Hospital; Selma (Ala.); St. Joseph Hospital; Teachers; Technical colleges; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Choir (Musical group); Choral conductors; Music--Instruction and Study

1:35 - Patient stories / Connecting music and medicine

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Partial Transcript: Uh, we did have one interesting, uh, uh, case.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Holroyd recounts stories from her time as a nurse that have stayed with her through the years. Holroyd stresses the importance of music and music therapy through other anecdotes.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Amputations; Death; Fears; Hymnals; Hymns; Medical care; Mental illnesses; Mortality; Nurses; Old Rugged Cross; Patients; Show tunes; Singing; Terminal illnesses

Subjects: Ambulatory medical care; Mortality; Music therapy; Music--Anecdotes; Music--Social aspects; Terminal care


GPS: St. Joseph Hospital (Lexington, Ky.)
Map Coordinates: 38.0324, -84.5236

6:44 - High school influences on career decisions

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Partial Transcript: So I want to continue on the medicine theme here--

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd mentions that she was interested in medicine from a very young age but had no money to study it. Women were unheard of in the medical field during this time as well; her aunt thought she was crazy for wanting to study it. High school choir director, Ruth Newman, wrote a letter to Peabody College on behalf of Holroyd, winning her a work scholarship to attend the school.

Keywords: Adversities; Directors; Education; Educators; High schools; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Medical care; Music; Nurses; Nursing schools; Patients; Peabody College; Professors; Ruth Newman; Scholarships; Sexism; Singing; Teachers; Technical colleges; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Choral conductors; Heterosexism; Music--Instruction and study; Scholarships; Sex discrimination; Sex discrimination in education--Kentucky--Lexington; Sexism

8:54 - The early years of Sara Holroyd's music career

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Partial Transcript: And, um--(coughs)--so, so I had put that out of my mind and was just--decided to concentrate on music.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd resigned herself to the idea that she would not be able to study medicine as a woman and instead remained focused on her musical talents; she played trombone. While at Peabody College, her band director was drafted into the Vietnam War. As a result, she took over for a while as band director. Later, she was approached by the superintendent to become a high school band director for the Tuscumbia public school system.

Keywords: Adversities; Choirs; Competitions; Education; Educators; Governors; High schools; Inspirations; Instructors; John Fulsome; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Peabody College; Professors; Ruth Newman; Scholarships; Sexism; Singing; Teachers; Vietnam War; War drafts

Subjects: Bandmasters; Choral conductors; Draft--United States; Draftees; Vietnam War, 1961-1975

12:20 - Retirement from University of Kentucky and entrance into nursing school

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Partial Transcript: So let me, um, just fast forward.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd enrolled in Lexington Community College's 2 year nursing program. She gives an overview of the steps she took to gain entry into the program. Her entrance into LCC's program came after she retired from UK at the age of 62. Holroyd cites lack of arts funding as a primary motive for why she opted for an early retirement from UK. Before becoming a nurse, Holroyd volunteered at St. Joseph Hospital and enjoyed it.

Keywords: Adversities; Choirs; Education; Educators; High schools; Hospitals; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Medical professionals; Music; Nurses; Nursing; Nursing schools; Patients; Professors; Saint Joseph Hospital; Scholarships; Sexism; Singing; St. Joseph Hospital; Teachers; Technical colleges

Subjects: Nursing--Programmed instruction; Older people--Education--United States.; Retirement; Students, Nursing

15:17 - Experience as a non-traditional student / Early nursing career

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Partial Transcript: Uh, I, I lo--the first day of class that we--when we started, I was so happy about it...

Segment Synopsis: On the first day of classes, Holroyd fell and broke her 5th metatarsal. She had her neighbor take her to the hospital and she met with an orthopedic doctor the next day. She never missed a day of clinicals and shares her experiences as a non-traditional student and how this affected her interaction with patients.

Keywords: Community colleges; Hospitals; Medical care; Medical professionals; Nurses; Nursing; Nursing schools; Patients; Saint Joseph Hospital; St. Joseph Hospital; Technical colleges

Subjects: Fractures; Nursing; Nursing assessment; Nursing--Study and teaching; Surgical casts

19:29 - Dr. Jokl

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Partial Transcript: One, one, uh, afternoon, I was getting ready to leave and, um, I...

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd talks about a specific memory from her time working in the emergency room, where her neighbor, Dr. Jokl, fell terribly ill and was rushed to the emergency room. Dr. Jokl was a professor at the University of Kentucky. He had emigrated here after losing his job in Nazi Germany and living in South Africa up until Apartheid. She feels he did not get the recognition he deserved from UK.

Keywords: Adversities; Dr. Jokl; Educators; Holocaust; Illnesses; Immigrants; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Nazi Germany; Professors; Sports medicine; Sudden death

Subjects: Doctor of philosophy degree; Emigration and immigration; Nazi Germany and the Holocaust; Sports medicine

27:05 - Mildred Lewis / Aimo Kiviniemi

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Partial Transcript: Uh, let me, um--I'm going to go through a series of names here, next.

Segment Synopsis: To kick off the upcoming 100th anniversary of the University of Kentucky's School of Music, Holroyd is given a series of names of fellow professors in the music program and asked to talk about them. In this section, she talks about Mildred Lewis, founder of the UK Chorus. She says Mildred was like a mother to her and could make a great mint julep. Aimo Kiviniemi "Yivvy" was another of Holroyd's fellow professors who was known for throwing big parties; Holroyd recalls a few of their experiences together.

Keywords: Aimo Kiviniemi; Alcohol use; Choirs; Education; Educators; Glee; High schools; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Maysville (Ky.); Mildred Lewis; Music; Professors; Scholarships; Singing; Student life; Teachers; Women; Yivvy

Subjects: Choral conductors; Drinking of alcoholic beverages; Music--Competitions; People with disabilities; Professor (Musician); Tornadoes

34:14 - Dr. Wesley Morgan / Robert Shaw

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Partial Transcript: And you were, you were, um, directing the women's glee club?

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd reflects on her time working alongside Dr. Wesley Morgan while he was head of the school of music. She recalls that he once asked her why she wasn't an associate professor yet, after she explained to him the reason, he said they would see what they could do about that. They (Holroyd and Morgan) conducted concerts together, Morgan is credited with being the person who brought Robert Shaw to UK. Holroyd reflects on what an experience it was to conduct with Shaw.

Keywords: Adversities; Choirs; Competitions; Dr. Wesley Morgan; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Professors; Robert Shaw; Sexism; Singing; Teachers; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Choral conductors; Music--Competitions; Music--Instruction and study; Professor (Musician); Sex discrimination in education--Kentucky--Lexington

38:28 - John Jacob Niles

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Partial Transcript: So, um, another name. John Jacob Niles.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd talks about John Jacob Niles, who she met shortly after coming to the University of Kentucky. Holroyd then closes out this segment by reflecting on her time spent at Niles' house while interviewing him for the Bluegrass music news magazine she was editor for.

Keywords: Adversities; Autographs; Choirs; Competitions; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Professors; Robert Shaw; School of Music; Sexism; Singing; Teachers

Subjects: Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Music--Competitions; Professor (Musician); Robert Shaw choral series

42:12 - John Barnes Chance / William Harry Clark

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Partial Transcript: Um, the next name to talk about is John Barnes Chance.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd recalls her memories of John Barnes Chance, who she says was a "sad case." There was an incredibly unfortunate accident that occurred with him and an electric fence that resulted in him being fatally electrocuted.

Holroyd begins speaking about William Harry Clark, who she considered to be her "cohort." They got along together quite well and were in charge of the same thing, the only difference being he was in charge of instrumental music and she was in charge of the vocal music.

Keywords: Adversities; Choirs; Competitions; Death; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; John Barnes Chance; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Professors; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky; Vocalists; William Harry Clark

Subjects: Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Music--Competitions; Opera; Professor (Musician)

45:08 - Vince DiMartino / Phyllis Jenness

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Partial Transcript: Vince DiMartino.

Segment Synopsis: Vince DiMartino is reflected upon kindly by Holroyd, though she mentions he has always been a chatterbox. Holroyd reflects on what a great trumpet player he was, as well as how great he was at recruiting other great trumpet players.

Phyllis Jenness was one of the first people Holroyd met when she came to UK. Holroyd says that time hasn't slowed Jenness down; at 96 she is still teaching singing to the elderly at a Synagogue. To close off the segment, Holroyd talks about performing opera with Jenness.

Keywords: Adversities; Choirs; Competitions; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Jewish; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Phyllis Jenness; Professors; School of Music; Singing; Synagogue; Teachers; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky; Vince DiMartino; Vocalists

Subjects: Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Music--Competitions; Professor (Musician); Trumpet players

50:34 - Dr. Donald Ivey / Nathaniel Patch

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Partial Transcript: So the next one, as a natural segue, would be Dr. Donald Ivey.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd talks about Dr. Donald Ivey, a former voice and music instructor in the School of Music. He is credited with establishing the jazz choir at UK and Holroyd credits him as being one of the only people, other than Jenness, who "went to bat" for her during her tenure problems.

Nathaniel Patch was another coworker of Holroyd's that actually taught at Peabody while she was a student, however he was drafted into the war. Patch also founded the Keyboard Institute.

Keywords: Adversities; Bribes; Choirs; Competitions; Donald Ivey; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Professors; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Vocalists; Whiskey

Subjects: Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Jazz ensembles; Music--Competitions; Professor (Musician)

54:54 - Accompanists over the years

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, talk about your accompanists over the years.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Holroyd discusses the many accompanists she has had over the years. She not only covers her recollections of them during their time as students, but also talks about their lives now.

Keywords: Accompanists; Adversities; Alumni; Brenda Columbia; Choirs; Competitions; Education; Educators; Gene Wright; Grace Phillips; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Kim Raines; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Linda Childs; Music; Pianists; Professors; Reflections; School of Music; Singing; Stephen Penn; Susan McClasky; Teachers; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Music--Competitions; Musical accompaniment; Professor (Musician)

60:11 - Phil Miller

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Partial Transcript: Okay, we ready to resume?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Holroyd reflects on her time working alongside Phil Miller. He arrived to UK as the band director and strengthened the band's numbers by making it co-ed.

Keywords: Adversities; Asbestos; Bands; Co-ed band; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Phil Miller; Professors; Red River Gorge; Rock climbing; School of Music; Singing; Teachers

Subjects: Band directors; Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Music--Competitions; Musical accompaniment; Professor (Musician)

65:57 - Famous choral directors: Robert DeCormier & Norman Dello Joio

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Partial Transcript: So I'd like to talk next about a couple of choral conductors that were famous that you got to work with as well as Mr. Shaw.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd is asked about some of the more famous choral directors that she has had the opportunity to work with. She talks about Robert DeCormier, who she says was loved by his students. Holroyd also talks about Norman Dello Joio. She recalls him as saying he had never seen a choir group as well prepared as hers. This is especially notable because Holroyd never received any formal conductor training or education. Everything she had learned had been done through observing and yet she was one of the women to be chosen as active conductors for the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Keywords: Adversities; Alumni; Bands; Boston Symphony; Choirs; Competitions; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Norman Dello Joio; Orchestras; Professors; Robert DeCormier; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Vocalists

Subjects: Band directors; Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Music--Competitions; Musical accompaniment; Professor (Musician)

73:37 - Salli Terri

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Partial Transcript: Um, another choral conductor and composer of, uh, choral arrangements was Salli Terri.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd discusses how she met Salli Terri and the work they did together at Shakertown.

Keywords: Adversities; Alumni; Bands; Choirs; Conferences; Education; Educators; Hymnals; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Performances; Professors; Salli Terri; School of Music; Shaker Village; Shakers; Shakertown; Singing; Teachers; Vocalists; Worship; Worship services

Subjects: Band directors; Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Music--Competitions; Musical accompaniment; Professor (Musician)

79:28 - Ron Browning, former student and successful vocal coach

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Partial Transcript: So another--this is more along the lines...

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd talks about yet another one of her former students who have went on to achieve great things in life. Ron Browning is now a successful vocal coach who works with many different celebrities.

Keywords: Adversities; Alumni; Bands; Choirs; Competitions; Conductors; Education; Educators; Famous; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Professors; Ron Browning; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky; Vocal coaches; Vocalists

Subjects: Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Fame; Music--Competitions; Musical accompaniment; Professor (Musician); Vocal coaches

81:02 - The formation and early years of the Sophisticates

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Partial Transcript: So, um, the next, I guess I'm--next thing to talk to you about...

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Holroyd discusses the origin of the University of Kentucky's Sophisticates group and the resulting reactions from some faculty members.

Keywords: Adversities; Alumni; Bands; Choirs; Competitions; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Professors; Retirement; School of Music; Singing; Sophisticates; Student organizations; Teachers; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky; Vocalists

Subjects: Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Music--Competitions; Musical accompaniment; Professor (Musician)

85:41 - Memories of the Sophisticates and her retirement from the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Anything else about the Sophisticates?

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd continues to recall students from the Sophisticates and mentions that they performed in her final concert. She was expected to give a speech after the concert and regrets that she didn't.

Keywords: Adversities; Alumni; Bands; Choirs; Competitions; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Professors; Retirement; School of Music; Singing; Sophisticates; Teachers; Vocalists

Subjects: Band directors; Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Music--Competitions; Musical accompaniment; Professor (Musician)

89:27 - Nursing school

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Partial Transcript: And then life begins again.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd once again recalls her time as a nursing student and impressions of her fellow classmates.

Keywords: Community colleges; Hospitals; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); Medical professionals; Nurses; Nursing; Nursing schools; Patients; Saint Joseph Hospital; St. Joseph Hospital; Students; Technical colleges

Subjects: Community college students; Lexington (Ky.); Nursing; Nursing assessment; Nursing--Programmed instruction

94:32 - Taking the nursing exam / Holroyd's career as a nurse

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, then we all went over...

Segment Synopsis: Here, Holroyd recalls the stress of taking the nursing examination. She then briefly discusses her time as a nurse at St. Joseph Hospital.

Keywords: Community colleges; Hospitals; Kentucky; Lexington (Ky.); Medical professionals; Nurses; Nursing; Nursing schools; Patients; Saint Joseph Hospital; St. Joseph Hospital; Technical colleges

Subjects: Community college students; Lexington (Ky.); Nursing; Nursing assessment; Nursing--Programmed instruction

97:48 - The formation and background of Room 17 Productions

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Partial Transcript: So, what are your feelings--I'm gonna go to a different topic now.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd discusses her feelings about the formation of Room 17 Productions, the people behind its formation, and her subsequent friendship with Reneé Collins as a result.

Keywords: Alumni; Choirs; Competitions; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Legacies; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Professors; Room 17 Productions; Room Seventeen Productions; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Vocalists

Subjects: Biography; Video Project; Video recordings--Production and direction

103:52 - Formation of The Sara Holroyd Singers out of room 17

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Partial Transcript: And, uh, yeah I thought it was such wonderful, uh, for you to...

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd commends Collins and the other former students who made an effort to have room 17 named and dedicated to Sara. The dean would not approve this, and so The Sara Holroyd Singers was formed instead. Holroyd reflects on how humbled she is to have received such an honor from her students and what motivated her as a teacher.

Keywords: Alumni; Challenges; Choirs; Chorus; Concerts; Dedications; Kentucky; Legacies; Lexington (Ky.); Musicians; Productions; Professors; Recordings; Research; Room 17; Room seventeen; School of Music; Singers; Students; Universities; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Biography; Choirs (Music); Choral conductors; Dedications

109:00 - Lessons from music instruction have value across all professions

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Partial Transcript: Uh, but I, I'm, I'm, I'm just--I feel like I'm having my, uh, uh, memorial after my death but while I'm still alive.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd's former students have gone on to become successful workers in a variety of fields. Holroyd believes it is because of the lessons that come from music performance and instruction, which can be used as strategies for success in every field.

Keywords: Adversities; Alumni; Bands; Careers; Choirs; Competitions; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Legacies; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Professors; Room 17 Productions; Room Seventeen Productions; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Vocalists

Subjects: Biography; Choirs (Music); Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Dedications

115:14 - Overcoming adversity / Holroyd's fight for tenure

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Partial Transcript: So, you've also overcome a lot of adversity in your life and in your career.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Holroyd details the events surrounding her fight for tenure at the University of Kentucky. She discusses the people who helped her fight and those who fought against her.

Keywords: Adversities; Advocacy; Alumni; Bands; Challenges; Choirs; Competitions; Education; Educators; Human rights; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Politics; Professors; School of Music; Sexism; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky; Vocalists

Subjects: College teachers--Tenure; Sex discrimination; Sexism; Sexism in education

122:12 - Holroyd wins her fight for tenure / Lasting effects of hardships faced

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Partial Transcript: Anyway, uh, some--for some reason, somebody, and I don't know who...

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd received help from Mereb Mossman, the dean of faculty at the University of North Carolina. Mossman said Holroyd should have already been an associate professor a year ago, and as a result she received her associate professor title. Holroyd used her experiences to become a champion of underprivileged students at the university.

Keywords: Adversities; Adversity; Advocacy; Alumni; Bands; Choirs; Competitions; Education; Educators; Human rights; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Music; Professors; School of Music; Sexism; Singing; Teachers; Tenure; UK; UKY; Underprivileged; University of Kentucky; Vocalists

Subjects: College teachers--Tenure; Professor; Sex discrimination; Sexism; Sexism in education

127:33 - President Otis Singletary

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Partial Transcript: So, one thing I wanted--we're kind of winding down here...

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd invited President Singletary to come and take part in her Christmas concert; she was the first faculty member to ever ask him to take part in their program. She also talks about her time working with him as President, her connections to him from North Carolina, and her choir's performance at his memorial service.

Keywords: Adversities; Alumni; Bands; Choirs; Competitions; Deans; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Memorials; Music; Otis Singletary; Performances; Presidents; Professors; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky; Vocalists

Subjects: Biography; Choirs (Music); Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Dedications; Memorial service; Musical accompaniment

129:33 - Final reflections / Holroyd's legacy

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Partial Transcript: So, um, kind of draw on a quote that I'm very fond of...

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd gives a few final remarks about her career and the connections she made with other area choir directors. The interview closes with the reading of a poem written by Ruth Green for Holroyd's 90th birthday.

Keywords: Adversities; Alumni; Bands; Choirs; Competitions; Education; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Instrumentalists; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington (Ky.); Memories; Music; Poems; Poetry; Poets; Professors; Ruth Green; Ruth Greene; School of Music; Singing; Teachers; Vocalists

Subjects: Biography; Choirs (Music); Choral conductors; Composers and their compositions; Dedications; Legacy; Musical accompaniment; Poets

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