All About the Canterbury Choral Society - MetroFamily Magazine
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All About the Canterbury Choral Society

by Rebecca Gregg

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Name of Organization:
Canterbury Choral Society
428 W. California
405-232-SING (7464)

Dr. Kay Edde Holt, a native Oklahoman, is the Executive Director of Canterbury Choral Society. Dr. Holt returned to Oklahoma for this position on April 1, 2004, having served as the Director of Education and Community Partnerships of The Dallas Opera, and Visiting Professor at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX.

Prior to her entrance into arts management, Dr. Holt spent 26 years in higher education in several states, including Oklahoma. Some of her artistic responsibilities in these positions included voice professor, artistic director of musical theatre and opera, and teaching classes on music education and opera history. Administrative responsibilities throughout her career have included budget creation and implementation, grant writing, supervision of opera and music education programs, curriculum design, community relations and presentations, and marketing/publicity. Dr. Holt is a published author and continues to actively conduct presentations on the importance of arts-integrated education, the nourishing of creativity, and the development of administrative/organizational/leadership skills.

Describe the mission of your non-profit:

Our mission is to transform lives, educate the future and inspire communities through great choral music. Canterbury's vision is to continually offer artistic and educational experiences of the highest quality each year to the broadest and most diverse audience possible in the Central Oklahoma region.

How does it impact families and children, whether locally or elsewhere?

In 2010-11, Canterbury employed an independent educational researcher to validate the importance of a choral music education, which enables children and youth to attain positive academic, cultural and civic goals through participation and achievement in choral singing and performance. Canterbury Youth Choruses showed statistically significant increases in mean scores between Pre-Test and Mid-Year assessments, indicating that the increases are not likely to be due to chance alone. In comparison with their academic records, correlation was found between education in Canterbury Youth Choruses and their academic success.

What drives you to make this non-profit a success?

At Canterbury, it’s about how we can best serve our community — to find those points of entry into an art form that allow people to connect and to discover meaning for themselves. Where can their imaginations go during a performance? That’s what it’s all about.

What success stories or accomplishments has this non-profit achieved?

Our adult chorus is the 7th largest volunteer chorus in the United States. In June, 2011 our adult chorus toured and performed in China. The performance reached an international audience throughout various venues and cultural exchange opportunities in Beijing and Xi’an. Two of our youth choruses, the Chorale and Young Men’s Chorus traveled to Washington, DC July 14-17, 2011 for a performance-based tour. The students sang at the Walter Reed Army Hospital and presented an Evensong service at the National Cathedral. CYC was recommended by Canon Scott Raab of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral after their successful and professional Evensong services at the church in past years. This was CYC’s first national tour following annual regional and local touring in Oklahoma.

How can families and children help this non-profit?

If you have a voice, audition next summer for the youth or adult chorus, we are always looking for great singers in Oklahoma. Volunteer your time, assisting with Camp Canterbury, CYC rehearsals or Adult Chorus concerts, call our Office Manager at (405) 232-SING (7464) for more information. Make a donation to help us preserve choral music education and great concerts in Oklahoma. These are some other areas of opportunity during the year;

  • Arts Festival Audition Assistants CCS Office Aide
  • Christmas Set Up Donors Masquerade Ball
  • Music Library Peel and Stick Travel Committee (if needed)
  • Reception/Refreshments Telephone Calling

What led you to work for this nonprofit?

For twenty-six years, I directed university operas and musicals and in community theaters in Oklahoma and several other states. My PhD is in Education integrated with the Arts, and in addition I also worked as a consultant for school districts in creating arts-integrated curriculum for their schools. Eventually I moved into the field of arts management, more recently serving as the Director of Education and Community Partnerships for eight years with The Dallas Opera. I returned to Oklahoma after over 20 years because I was very impressed with the commitment and vision that had inspired a Renaissance in our great City! The MAPS projects had brought new entertainment venues and a surge of interest in the arts. When I was offered the position of executive director for the Canterbury Choral Society, I was thrilled to return to Oklahoma City and become part of its vision and regeneration.

What was your best day so far?

Every day is a “best day” when our community is brought together by a common love and passion for singing.

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