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THE SARA HOLROYD STORY
THE SARA HOLROYD STORY
As you all know, for the last 5 years we’ve been documenting Professor Sara Holroyd’s career as both a music educator at the University of Kentucky and as a nurse at St Joseph Hospital in Lexington, KY. We have also been documenting the career paths of as many of her students in order to preserve the heritage of this amazing professor and friend.
Decades after her students have graduated, Sara’s students continue to sing her praises throughout the communities in which they belong and at 92, she continues to inspire us all. The major portion of our work started with “The Tribute To Sara Holroyd” Concert in 2015 masterminded, funded and produced by Renee Collins and Warren Cobb, in partnership with Dr. Jefferson Johnson of The UK School of Music.
The success of this concert and the ability to reconnect over 300 alum in a central place on Facebook then led to development of “The Sara Holroyd Oral History Project” at The University of Kentucky Louie B Nunn Center for Oral History. This effort has yielded not only great stories focused around tenure/gender issues in the 1960s, the eradication of “Dixie” as the UK Fight Song, Ms. Holroyd’s famous stand for American Disabilities Act when at a Wayfarer Restaurant when one of her blind students was asked to leave because of her seeing eye dog, a concert that was interrupted by Super Cell Tornado Day in April 1974, and Sara’s work with great Atlanta Symphony Conductor, Robert Shaw. In addition, we are participating in archiving efforts into the Sara Holroyd Special Collections, and preserving film and recordings via digitization of performances on aging cassette, VHS and reel-to-reel tapes that were disintegrating due to age.
Last year the choral group “The Sara Holroyd Singers” was founded by Renee Collins in response to the desire to continue to bring some of Sara Holroyd’s favorite choral works including music from “A Shaker Worship Service”, which was performed annually at Shaker Village from 1979-1987, to audiences across Kentucky. The Sara Holroyd Singers performed last year at The Woodsongs Songfarmers Gathering, on the KET Red Barn Radio “Appalachian Christmas Special” and again on the stage of the historic Lyric Theater for the 2017 Lexington Music Awards. We are scheduled to sing again at Shaker Village on October 14, 2017. Each time we are singing in honor of Gina Scaggs Epifano, Joe Barnett, Lori Stevens and Tim Marinaro, and all former Shaker Worship Service performers from the great state of Kentucky, who have left us way too soon along with Vicki Cooper Rommel, Joy Mefford Malone, Grace Columbia Phillips and Tony Konkler.
To date, all funding and labor for this enormous project has come from Renee Collins and Warren Cobb.
Over the next few months, we will be conducting more interviews for contribution to the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Oral History Library as well as having these interviews both transcribed and indexed. We will also be producing a series of mini documentaries aimed for distribution on social media, television, radio and other media. Sara Holroyd Singers practices are now underway for 2017-18. If enough funds are raised, we will then be producing a documentary film, a screenplay, and writing several books related to this wonderful teacher’s influence on so many lives and contributions to student success over the course of three decades. We also plan to bring The Sara Holroyd Singers to a wider audience through travel throughout the state and also recording some of the works.
We are now incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, so if you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to our cause focused on keeping legacies honored and music that we will continue to present to current and future generations, you can send a check made to “Room 17 Productions, Inc.” and mail to: Room 17 Productions, Inc. 240 Towne Square Park, Lexington, KY 40511 OR you can visit our website room17productions.com or facebook page Room 17 Productions and click the Donate button to pay by credit or debit card.
We encourage you to explore our website at room17productions.com to see the progress we have made to date and to follow and “like” us on Facebook. For further information, please call or text us anytime at 513.673.4066.
Working in concert,
Renee Collins, UK School of Music, Class of 84
Warren Cobb, UK School of Music, Class of 85
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