Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Marty Singleton, December 10, 2016

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

 

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00:00:00 - Introduction and personal background

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Partial Transcript: When she'd had, uh, back surgery she said to me--I was helping her at home...

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Singleton introduces himself. He talks a little about where he lives and what he does. Singleton also talks about his childhood, his family background, and his hometown of Eubank, Kentucky.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits. At 00:04:13 Breeding prompts Singleton to repeat a story.]

Keywords: Choirs; Hymnals; Influences; Inspirations; Leaders; Memories; Religions; Singing

Subjects: Choral music; Choral singing; Eubank (Ky.); Music--Performance

00:05:37 - Early musical development

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Partial Transcript: You did eventually--we went to school together...

Segment Synopsis: Singleton discusses his early musical development. He mentions that as a child, his verbal development was delayed but that music was always something he could understand. He took band in high school for one year, but the majority of his musical background before coming to UK came from his involvement with his church.

[This segment contains intentional video edits at 00:09:58 and 00:11:26.]

Keywords: Choirs; Churches; Hymnals; Influences; Memories; Religions; Singing

Subjects: Choral music; Choral singing; Music--Performance

00:11:27 - Journey to the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Well tell me then, um, how was it--how it came to be that you chose the University of Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Singleton discusses his motives for studying at the University of Kentucky. He mentions that it made sense to him for a lot of reasons, primarily because he could stay close to home and close to his support group.

[This segment contains an intentional video edit at 00:13:11. Breeding asks Singleton to repeat a story at 00:11:50.]

Keywords: Family; Inspirations; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Motivations; School of Fine Arts; Sisters; UK; UKY

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. School of Music

00:16:30 - First experiences at UK / Early instructors

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Partial Transcript: So you go to University of Kentucky but--and, and we both realize...

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Singleton describes his early experiences at UK's School of Music, including his reflections on former professors. Singleton mentions that he wishes he had been pushed a little harder by earlier professors but that, overall, he received a very practical education.

[This segment contains an intentional video edit at 00:21:18.]

Keywords: Choirs; Educators; Influences; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Phyllis Jenness; 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

00:21:19 - Influence of Sara Holroyd and Phyllis Jenness

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Partial Transcript: Tell me, um--

Segment Synopsis: Singleton discusses how Jenness and Holroyd made the greatest financial difference in his college career by encouraging him to audition for a grant that would (and did) cover his tuition for the remainder of his undergraduate degree. He also talks about Holroyd's character and what a wonderful conductor she was; always finding ways to brighten the rehearsal atmosphere.

[This segment contains an intentional video edit at 00:26:20.]

Keywords: Choirs; Educators; Influences; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Phyllis Jenness; 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

00:28:46 - Singleton's family and early musical influences

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Partial Transcript: Uh, let's move on quickly through some of these other things.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Singleton reiterates his family background and discusses his three siblings and their careers. He mentions his early musical influence in his church and his early music teacher.

Keywords: Choirs; Educators; Family; Inspirations; Instructors; Leaders; Memories; Singing; Sisters

Subjects: Choral music; Choral singing; Music--Performance

00:34:13 - Early media influences

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Partial Transcript: You've told us what your instruments were as a child.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Singleton discusses the television shows he remembers most from his childhood and what it was about them that left such an impression on him. His parents were not musical individuals so he never had any real memories to share of them singing or performing together. Sometimes his parents would watch TV with him and his siblings; he also recalls his father as being a huge fan of listening to sportscasts.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits.]

Keywords: Comedies; Family; Memories; Radio broadcasts; Singing; Sisters; Sitcoms; Sports fans; Television; Variety shows

Subjects: Choral music; Choral singing; Music--Performance

00:40:50 - Parents' thoughts on pursuit of music / Sports involvement

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Partial Transcript: What point did they start to recognize your int--extreme interest in music...

Segment Synopsis: Singleton discusses his parents' reactions to his pursuit in music. He recalls his mother always being supportive and that both parents were always supportive of anything church related, but that it wasn't until he entered university that his father expressed support for his love of music. Singleton also briefly talks about his involvement in sports through middle school, primarily as a result of pressure from his father.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits.]

Keywords: Family; Influences; Motivations; Parents; Performances; Sisters; Support

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

00:46:49 - Extracurricular activities within UK's School of Music

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Partial Transcript: At what point did you decide to make music your major?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Singleton discusses the impact that his involvement in Chorale and Choristers had on his later development as a professional. He mentions the camaraderie between other choir members and how that feeling had not dissipated at their recent reunion tribute to Sara Holroyd.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits. Breeding prompts Singleton to repeat a story at 00:48:24.]

Keywords: Choirs; Educators; Hymnals; Influences; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Phyllis Jenness; Religions; Salli Terri; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Shaker Village; Shaker worship; Shakers; Shakertown; Singing; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

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

00:51:13 - Shaker worship service

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Partial Transcript: Um, we talked about your major.

Segment Synopsis: Singleton reminisces over his first performance in the Shaker Worship Service, which was also UK's debut of the performance as well. He mentions how moving it was to perform and how it felt like a theatrical play. He expresses hopes that the varying arts programs within the Fine Arts College work together more now than they did when he was a student. Singleton also discusses his reactions to arriving in Shakertown and describes it as a spiritual experience for anyone who believes in anything.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits. Breeding prompts Singleton to repeat a story at 00:54:58.]

Keywords: Choirs; Educators; Hymnals; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Musicals; Phyllis Jenness; Religions; Salli Terri; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Shaker Village; Shaker worship; Shakers; Shakertown; Singing; UK; UKY

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

00:59:27 - Audience reactions to Shaker worship service

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Partial Transcript: --people have said to you all after those performances.

Segment Synopsis: Singleton recalls the reactions and emotions of the audience members who came up to the Choristers after their performances. He remembers that the crowd would usually be very emotional and moved by the performances and that they would want to hold your hand and talk with you after it was over, rather than just compliment from afar. Singleton also talks about Holroyd's manner as a director. He said she never gave criticism in any hurtful way; she was very diplomatic and rational in her constructive feedback.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits. Breeding prompts Singleton to repeat a story at 01:01:31.]

Keywords: Hymnals; Inspirations; Performances; Religions; Salli Terri; Sara Holroyd; Shaker Village; Shaker worship; Shakers; Shakertown

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

01:05:57 - Involvement in Shaker worship performances

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Partial Transcript: --else do you recall, um, regarding Salli Terri.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Singleton recalls his first impressions of Salli Terri. He mentions that he didn't see her very much beyond orientation or her being in attendance for the show, but does mention that she was very likely much more involved behind the scenes. He also discusses the performances and talent of his fellow classmates.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits.]

Keywords: Hymnals; Influences; Inspirations; Leaders; Memories; Religions; Salli Terri; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Shaker Village; Shaker worship; Shakers; Shakertown

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

01:14:08 - Other performances in School of Music

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Partial Transcript: Well did--during the Salli Terri years, did you all record it early...

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Singleton discusses many of his performances while at UK. He reflects on what an experience it was to be able to perform under famous conductors like Robert Shaw. Singleton said that he could have gone to a more prestigious university with a far more popular music program and still would not have gotten the same quality instruction as he did while attending the University of Kentucky.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits.]

Keywords: Choirs; Competitions; Educators; Influences; Inspirations; Kentucky; Leaders; 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

01:19:15 - Student life

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Partial Transcript: And we're going to come to the Madrigal dinners in just a minute...

Segment Synopsis: Singleton discusses his general experiences as a college student. He took a part time job at Sir Pizza; though he mentions that financial problems were never relevant to him during his college career. He also talks about his status as a "serious studier" and a "serious partier." But, above all, his studies would come first.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits.]

Keywords: Family; Kentucky; Memories; Part time jobs; School of Fine Arts; Sir Pizza; Sisters; Student jobs; Student life; Student parties; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Lexington (Ky.); University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. School of Music

01:25:00 - Madrigal Choir

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Partial Transcript: Uh, related to the Madrigal dinners...

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Singleton reflects on his experiences in the Madrigal Choir under Holroyd's direction. He relates it to the Shaker performances, as they were both rather theatrical pieces.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits.]

Keywords: Choirs; Competitions; Educators; Influences; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Musicals; 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

01:29:04 - Reflections on college experience

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Partial Transcript: Um--thank to the--

Segment Synopsis: Singleton discusses his experiences as a student at UK and how the professors and curriculum shaped him and readied him for his professional career.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits.]

Keywords: Competitions; Educators; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Musicals; Performances; Phyllis Jenness; Robert Shaw; Salli Terri; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Tributes; UK; UKY

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

01:35:22 - Career experiences after UK

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Partial Transcript: You know you, you didn't say much about Kivvy.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Singleton discusses his journey as a professional after graduating from UK. His work experience included dinner theatre, restaurant work, handyman, all the way up to full time performer in the Metropolitan Opera.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits.]

Keywords: Careers; Competitions; Family; Influences; Instructors; Metropolitan Opera; Music teachers; Operas; Performances; Post-grad; Sir Pizza; Work

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Choral music; Choral singing; Music--Performance

01:44:30 - Experience in Metropolitan Opera

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Partial Transcript: So, life has been good to me and continues to be.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Singleton briefly discusses his experiences as a Chorister in the Metropolitan Opera. Despite Choristers having primarily background roles throughout the productions, Singleton has always felt grateful just to be able to experience the performances.

Keywords: Choirs; Competitions; Influences; Inspirations; Metropolitan Opera; Motivations; Musicals; Operas; Performances; Singing

Subjects: Choral music; Choral singing; Music--Performance

01:48:25 - UK as preparation for his career

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Partial Transcript: You said someth--but did you feel when you left UK...

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Singleton is asked if he felt UK prepared him for a professional music career. He responds that he did not feel like it did at the time, though the truth of the matter may be different. He also reflects on Holroyd's change in career (post-retirement) and expresses that he was not surprised to hear about that. He said Holroyd has never been one to stay still for long.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits. Breeding prompts Singleton to repeat a story at 01:52:09.]

Keywords: Choirs; Educators; Influences; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Metropolitan Opera; Musicals; Operas; Phyllis Jenness; Robert Shaw; Salli Terri; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; UK; UKY

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

01:53:25 - Sara Holroyd Tribute

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Partial Transcript: Surprise reunion and celebration.

Segment Synopsis: Singleton discusses the Chorister reunion, which was actually a tribute to Sara Holroyd. He was initially apprehensive about attending, but he was glad that he did. He reflects on his performance at Holroyd's tribute and how she has continually touched his life.

[This segment contains multiple intentional video edits.]

Keywords: Choirs; Educators; Influences; Inspirations; Instructors; Leaders; Memories; Motivations; Performances; Reunions; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Tributes

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

02:04:14 - Closing remarks

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Partial Transcript: Do you still maintain connections with the other chorus members at the Met?

Segment Synopsis: Singleton finishes out the interview by discussing his associates from the Metropolitan Opera and the changing Opera demands and environment. He says that there is a much higher demand now than before for opera performers and, as a result, performers are now retiring much earlier than they otherwise would have.

Keywords: Early retirements; High demands; Influences; Metropolitan Opera; Operas; Work environment

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