Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Sara Holroyd, January 30, 2016

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


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00:00:02 - Childhood and personal background

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, I saw that on Facebook.

Segment Synopsis: Sara Holroyd talks about her childhood and the Great Depression in Selma, Alabama. She describes being in the Selma High School choir and singing in service clubs during World War II.

Keywords: Alabama; Choirs; Great Depression; Service clubs; WW2; WWII; World War 2; World War II

Subjects: African Americans--Segregation; Childhood; Choirs (Music); Selma (Ala.); World War, 1939-1945

00:05:33 - Parents

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Partial Transcript: Well, I'm curious, um, you said your father lost his job.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd talks about her parents. She describes her father and mother's work and where they ended up after the Great Depression. Next, she talks about her mother and how she influenced her to start playing music.

Keywords: Alabama; Automobile industry; Employment; Family; Fathers; Great Depression; Jobs; Mothers; Music

Subjects: Families.; Great Depression; Selma (Ala.)

00:09:01 - Early music career and inspiration

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Partial Transcript: Now, did you sing in church?

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd describes her childhood and her early music career. She talks about singing in church choirs and having to learn piano. She talks about playing music with her family and teachers and learning hymns.

Keywords: Child choirs; Church choirs; Hymns; Pianos

Subjects: Choirs; Cornett; Hymns; Piano

00:15:18 - College

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Partial Transcript: Um, tell me, as a little girl, um, did you have any expectations of what a little girl could do professionally in the world...

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd explains how she was able to go to college. She describes how her teacher helped her get a scholarship and paid positions at the college.

Keywords: Colleges; Peabody College; Recitals; Scholarships; Work study

Subjects: Music--Instruction and study.; Vanderbilt University. Peabody College

00:19:52 - Music teaching career

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Partial Transcript: Do you ever recall your parents or anybody saying to you, "No, Sara you can't do that. Women don't do that. This is what you should do."

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd speaks about her first job as a music teacher. She was hired to work in a high school where she taught band and chorus. Next, she went to Tuscaloosa where she could focus on choir, which was her passion. Next, she was hired at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, which was her first college teaching position.

Keywords: Choirs; Chorus; High schools; Music education

Subjects: Choirs; Music--Instruction and study.; Teachers; Teaching; Tuscaloosa (Ala.)

00:28:28 - More on college

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Partial Transcript: When you were in high school--

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd recollects some more memories of her college career. She next talks about how she was elected president of student government at Peabody College. She was also the first woman to give a brass recital at Peabody, as well as being elected Mrs. Peabody.

Keywords: Colleges; Mrs. Peabody; Peabody College; Recitals; Student elections; Student presidents

Subjects: Student government.; Vanderbilt University. Peabody College

00:36:44 - Teaching at the University of Kentucky / Mrs. McWaters

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Partial Transcript: You were hired at UK before or after your mother got sick?

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd gives a brief overview of her career up to teaching at UK, and her experiences with Mrs. McWaters at Indiana University.

Keywords: IU; Mrs. McWaters; Music education; Music teaching; Singers; Singing; UK; Vocalists

Subjects: Choirs; Indiana University; University of Kentucky

00:41:58 - Singing career

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Partial Transcript: Let me ask you, um, you were a serious trumpet player.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd talks about her lifelong relationship with singing and how Mrs. McWaters helped her become a better singer by exploring her range.

Keywords: Music educators; Singers; Singing; Vocal majors; Vocalists

Subjects: Music--Instruction and study

00:45:04 - Stories from Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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Partial Transcript: Why don't we start it like that?

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd speaks more about her time teaching in Tuscaloosa, including some funny stories about working inside an unfinished basement.

Keywords: Alabama; Bands; Choirs; Music departments

Subjects: Music--Instruction and study.; Teachers; Teaching; Tuscaloosa (Ala.)

00:47:43 - More on the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Great. Well, we're going to move into UK.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd describes how she was first hired at UK. She started off as an assistant professor after coming from Peabody. Next, she talks about a recital she preformed at UK. She goes in depth about some pranks that she was a part of at UK. Next, she talks about the early days at UK as one of the few single women.

Keywords: Gags; Pranks; Recitals; UK; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Concerts; University of Kentucky

00:57:51 - Becoming the head of choral activities at UK

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Partial Transcript: So let's talk about, um, how you grew at UK and how you was promoted...

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd talks about how she became head of choral activities at UK despite there being very few women teaching choral studies. Next, she talks about the men and women glee clubs she oversaw. She also talks about the types of material her choir would preform.

Keywords: Choirs; Choral studies; Chorus; Glee clubs

Subjects: Choirs; Glee clubs; Music--Instruction and study.

01:04:50 - Robert Shaw and the Singletary Center for the Arts

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Partial Transcript: Tell me how it came to be that you met Robert Shaw.

Segment Synopsis: Holroyd speaks about Wesley Morgan, the head of the music department, and Robert Shaw. Robert Shaw worked with the choir and had a great relationship with them. Next, Robert Shaw asked Holroyd to join him at Ohio State and put on Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Finally, Holroyd talks about Robert Shaw and the Singletary Center for the Arts.

Keywords: Beethoven's Fifth Symphony; Choirs; Robert Shaw; Singletary Center for The Arts

Subjects: Ohio State University; Shaw, Robert, 1916-1999.