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Interview with Jeff Johnson, January 15, 2016

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

 

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00:00:00 - Early musical background

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, thanks for moving up earlier...

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Johnson discusses his early influences and experiences in music. Being an Atlanta native, he performed in the Atlanta Boy Choir as a soprano until the age of 6. He credits his older brother for being his primary influence in music because he just imitated what his brother did at a young age. Johnson also mentions his parents' love of records and their vast collection of Broadway golden-age soundtrack records.

Keywords: Atlanta Boy Choir; Brothers; Choirs; Guitars; Influences; Inspirations; Performances; Role models; Singing

Subjects: Atlanta (Ga.); Choral music; Choral singing; Music--Performance

00:04:32 - College experience as a music education major / Becoming the new choir director at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Let's move on forward.

Segment Synopsis: Johnson discusses his trepidation upon arriving to the University of Atlanta, as he had not really had any formal instrument training. He felt this set him behind many of his peers, but he had a great ear for music and pitch. Johnson also discusses how he came to be UK's new choir director, and says that he was glad to have not directly proceeded a legend like Sara Holroyd.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits.]

Keywords: Choirs; Educators; Instruments; Memories; Music instruction; Performances; Proficiency; School of Fine Arts; Singing; University of Atlanta

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Atlanta (Ga.); Choral music; Choral singing; Music--Performance

00:09:08 - Sara Holroyd's legacy and tribute concert

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Partial Transcript: You're at UK and you're going through all the files, you're going through all the music...

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Johnson discusses Holroyd and her legacy. He knew he would be able to do well at UK because when he came here, his office was covered in various documents and programs from Holroyd's many concerts. He heard about her for some time before ever meeting her. Johnson also reminisces over Holroyd's tribute concert and how special it was to be able to have his students share the stage with her former students. He felt like it was a very special connection they were all sharing that night.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits.]

Keywords: Choirs; Educators; Influences; Inspirations; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Performances; Reunions; Salli Terri; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Tributes; UK; UKY

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Choral music; Choral singing; Lexington (Ky.); Music--Performance; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. School of Music

00:15:09 - Reactions to the Holroyd tribute concert

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Partial Transcript: What was--responses from your, your current students, maybe that night...

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Johnson discusses his student's reactions to the Sara Holroyd Tribute, as well as his own. He recalls that his students were very insightful and could see just from the concert alone what an inspiring and engaging instructor Holroyd was. Johnson continues to expound on what an opportunity it was to have his students, some of them in their first weeks of their university career, perform alongside Holroyd's former students.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits. Technical difficulties between 00:16:36 and 00:16:45]

Keywords: Choirs; Competitions; Educators; Impressions; Influences; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Lexington; Motivations; Performances; Reunions; Sara Holroyd; Singing; Tributes; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Choral music; Choral singing; Lexington (Ky.); Music--Performance; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. School of Music

00:19:01 - Holroyd's impact on Johnson's career / Johnson's reflections on his time at UK

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Partial Transcript: Sara, of course, comes to the podium and she makes a speech and, and, um, uh, is at the performance.

Segment Synopsis: In this section, Johnson discusses how the legacy of Holroyd's time at UK impacted his own journey there. He says that Holroyd set the standard for the choir program at UK and he knew from the time he arrived there that there were big expectations. He also discusses his own achievements as the choir director at UK.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits. Technical difficulties from 00:21:36 to 00:21:44]

Keywords: Choirs; Community choirs; Competitions; Educators; Influences; Inspirations; Kentucky; Leaders; Legacies; Lexington Singers; Memories; Performances; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; UK; UKY

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Choral music; Choral singing; Lexington (Ky.); Music--Performance; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. School of Music

00:24:04 - Career experiences inside and outside of UK

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Partial Transcript: You know, the program as a whole is gaining, uh, regional, national, and even international attention.

Segment Synopsis: Johnson discusses the various groups within the UK choir and how they have grown over the years. He also talks about how he came to be the choir director for the Lexington Singers and what that experience has been like for him. He reflects on his efforts to engage the community choir and campus choirs together as a collective unit.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits.]

Keywords: Choirs; Community choirs; Competitions; Educators; Influences; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Lexington Singers; Memories; Motivations; Performances; Reunions; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Tributes; UK; UKY

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Choral music; Choral singing; Lexington (Ky.); Music--Performance; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. School of Music

00:28:34 - Final reflections on Sara Holroyd

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Partial Transcript: Is there anything else you'd like to say about the program or about the students...

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Johnson continues to reflect on Holroyd's career. He makes a point of noting that she was one of only two female choir directors at a national institution during her time. Johnson was impressed because she was able to do all of this on her own, with no assistants or co-directors of any kind. He also briefly reflects on Holroyd's connection with Robert Shaw being his own first connection to her.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits. Breeding prompts Johnson to repeat a story.]

Keywords: Adversities; Choirs; Competitions; Conductors; Directors; Educators; Glass ceiling; Influences; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Obstacles; Performances; Reunions; Robert Shaw; Salli Terri; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Tributes; UK; UKY

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Choral music; Choral singing; Lexington (Ky.); Music--Performance; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. School of Music