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Interview with John Lamar Cole, March 6, 2016

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

 

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00:00:00 - First exposure to music

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Partial Transcript: Tell us your first, um, exposure to music, uh, in maybe elementary school or high school or those--

Segment Synopsis: Cole discusses his for introduction to music, particularly the piano. He says that his older brother played the piano and took lessons so he was exposed to music as long as he can remember. He says that his father was a professional musician, as well was his grandmother. He says that from elementary school on that he would play the piano as his chorus's accompaniment. He says that his brother was his first piano teacher before moving on to other teachers.

Keywords: Choirs; Chorus; Music; Nathaniel Patch; Piano lessons

Subjects: Choir & organ; Music; Piano

00:03:15 - Entrance to the University of Kentucky and studying music

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Partial Transcript: And tell us about high school.

Segment Synopsis: Cole describes how he chose to pursue a career in music. He describes how he had been studying under Nathaniel Patch and with Bill Lutz. He says that there was never any question that he was going to study music or attempt to be a professional musician. He says that he was taken out of high school before finishing and placed in college at the University of Kentucky early. He says that he was familiar with the Fine Arts Department and the faculty at the University of Kentucky because he had been learning from Nathaniel Patch. He says that the transition to UK was then seamless because of his familiarity. He then describes what he began studying, including chorus, which was where he met Sara Holroyd.

Keywords: Bill Lutz; Collegiate music; Music; Nathaniel Patch; Piano; Sara Holroyd; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Music; University of Kentucky

00:06:28 - Desire to attend Eastman School of Music

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Partial Transcript: Was there ever a time when you were at UK, maybe before or during that time, that you thought of leaving UK and going to some other school.

Segment Synopsis: Cole describes how he thought about leaving UK to attend a conservatory but he was not able to for a long time due to him having medical issues with violent seizures. He says that later in his career when he was on tour in Rochester, New York, he began to look at attending Eastman School of Music. He was introduced to Samuel Adler there who allowed him to attend a few classes and use the school's listening libraries in order to show him more modern compositions and artists. He says that he then decided to attend there but he never actually attended.

Keywords: Chorus; Eastman School of Music; Education; Piano; Samuel Adler; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Eastman School of Music.; Education; Music; University of Kentucky

00:08:54 - Relationships with faculty

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Partial Transcript: You had mentioned some other professors and this may be redundant to that but did you develop, um, you know, special relationships with all of those professors or did Sara just, just--you and Sara just bond more so than others?

Segment Synopsis: Cole discusses the types of relationships which he had with faculty at the University of Kentucky. He says that his relationship with Sara Holroyd took time to grow because she was an intimidating woman. He describes some of the chorus's performances and how talented Ms. Holroyd was and how respected she was among the musical community. He says that he opened up to her further once he discovered her sense of humor. He says that they grew very close over the years and that she had a larger effect on him than any other professor he ever had.

Keywords: Education; Music; Sara Holroyd; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Education; University of Kentucky. Department of Music

00:11:55 - John Jacob Niles

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Partial Transcript: There seems to be a story about John Jacob Niles, let's, let's, uh, let's begin that story.

Segment Synopsis: Cole describes how he met the composer John Jacob Niles. He says that his father delivered dry cleaning to Mr. Niles which is how he was introduced to him at a young age. He says that he met with Niles and brought many of his own compositions. Niles helped him on his compositions and he met with him on three different occasions.

Keywords: Composing; John Jacob Niles; Music; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Composition (Music); Music; University of Kentucky

00:15:20 - Salli Terri's worship service

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Partial Transcript: Uh, let's see if you can recall of perhaps, uh, uh, the early or first rehearsals of Salli Terri's worship service and what that felt like.

Segment Synopsis: Cole describes his experience with the Salli Terri worship service. He says that it was a wonderful experience and the music was powerful and moving. He also describes being in Shakertown and singing in the worship hall. He says that performing there was one of the best experiences of his career. He also describes some of the people that he performed with and their friendships together.

Keywords: "A Shaker Worship Service"; Chorus; Music; Salli Terri; Shaker Village; Shakertown; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Music; University of Kentucky

00:21:33 - Commitment to UK

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Partial Transcript: --your perspective on why and how UK has had such--(laughs)--a hold on you as it has had on many of us and others?

Segment Synopsis: Cole describes his commitment to UK and how he feels about the university and his peers and coworkers. He says that many of the people that he worked with became very dear to him. He says that he sees them as people and talents that happen to be at UK, and UK is to thank for gathering them together. He says that there is a lot of talent at UK both from the faculty and the students. He also discusses his involvement with the theater department during his time as a student and says that it has played a significant part in his career.

Keywords: Opera; Theater; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky Department of Music

Subjects: University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Department of Music

00:28:41 - Sara Holroyd's retirement

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Partial Transcript: Uh, let's go back to Sara and talk about her as a person in terms of, um, what were your thoughts when she retired and decided to make a career change?

Segment Synopsis: Cole describes his reaction when Sara Holroyd decided to retire and become a nurse. He tells the story of how he was in a biking accident and rushed to the emergency room as he had amputated his heel. He says that Ms. Holroyd was there to meet him there in her nursing outfit and helped operate on him. He also talks about when the chorus department honored Ms. Holroyd with a reunion performance and it went well.

Keywords: Chorus; Sara Holroyd; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky Department of Music

Subjects: University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Department of Music

00:33:31 - Sara Holroyd as a mentor / Choral events

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Partial Transcript: --instance when Sara mentored you in any particular way that perhaps had, um, a permanent impact on your life?

Segment Synopsis: Cole describes how Sara Holroyd was an ongoing influence in his life. He says that she influenced him greatly in his music composition and in many of his other facets of his career. He also describes some of the chorus events that he was apart of under her. He specifically discusses the Madrigal dinners, in which he was a court jester.

Keywords: Madrigal dinners; Music; Sara Holroyd; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky Department of Music

Subjects: University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. Department of Music

00:39:35 - Henry Faulkner

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Partial Transcript: Talk about Henry.

Segment Synopsis: Cole discusses his relationship with Henry Faulkner, who was a renowned oil painter, and the influence he had on his life. He says that he got to know him when Faulkner bought a farm from Cole's grandmother. He says that he and his whole family became very close with Faulkner and that his father even saved his life. He describes Faulkner's death from an automobile accident and how he witnessed it himself.

Keywords: Art; Henry Faulkner; Paintings; University of Kentucky

Subjects: University of Kentucky