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Interview with Melissa Weaver, July 5, 2017

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

 

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00:00:00 - First encounter with Sara Holroyd

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Partial Transcript: Hi, Melissa.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Weaver introduces herself and discusses her first memory of Sara Holroyd. Holroyd's chorus came to Maysville to perform in the city auditorium, however a tornado broke out during the concert. Weaver was impressed by Holroyd's charisma and strength

Keywords: Auditorium; Bravery; Choirs; Inspirations; Instructors; Leaders; Memories; Performances; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Severe weather; Singing; Tornado

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

00:04:17 - Childhood musical experiences

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Partial Transcript: We will cycle back to that story.

Segment Synopsis: Weaver discusses her early musical influences and experiences, which involved listening to her mother sing at church or in weddings. Weaver details her experiences in choir and various competitions she performed in through middle and high school.

Keywords: Austria; Choirs; Competitions; Instructors; Italian; Madrigals; Memories; Performances; Scholarships; Singing

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Choral music; Choral singing; Maysville (Ky.); Music--Performance

00:08:42 - Early performances / Childhood

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Partial Transcript: So, just to fast forward.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Weaver discusses a few of her early professional performances. She also reflects on her childhood home and experiences.

Keywords: Choirs; Instructors; Memories; Performances; Singing

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

00:13:14 - Early musical influences

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Partial Transcript: So which high school did you attend in Mason County?

Segment Synopsis: Weaver reminisces on her early musical influences, beginning with her mother and father who both sang at home and in church, then later with her piano instructor and choir director. She credits her choir director, Cora-lee Runyon almost entirely for her choice to pursue a music career.

Keywords: Austria; Choirs; Competitions; Cora-Lee Runyon; Inspirations; Instructors; Leaders; Memories; Performances; School of Fine Arts; Singing

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

00:19:08 - Husband's background and career in music

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Partial Transcript: So what about brothers and sisters?

Segment Synopsis: Weaver talks about her husband, Noel Weaver's, musical upbringing and career. Like M. Weaver, N. Weaver's parents were also musically inclined. N. Weaver's initial interest was in band directing, however his motivation was all but extinguished when his high school band director, Richard Theer, was killed in a plane crash. He currently teaches choir at Ballard High School.

Keywords: Band directors; Bands; Choirs; Deaths; Melissa Weaver; Music; Noel Weaver; Plane crashes; Planes; Richard Theer

Subjects: Band directors; Choral music; Choral singing; Maysville (Ky.); Music--Performance

00:24:18 - Her children's musical careers and experiences

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Partial Transcript: So tell me about your children.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Weaver discusses the careers of her 5 children, almost all of whom have pursued music in their professional lives. She reflects on how proud she is of all of them regardless of what they chose as a career, and that it is just amazing to see how deeply music has influenced all of her children. Weaver recalls an experience in which she was invited to sit in on a class that her son, Aaron, was instructing at the School of Music.

Keywords: Artists; Cellists; Children; Choirs; Creative; Design; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Performances; School of Fine Arts; Singing; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky; Visual arts

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

00:32:14 - Musical influences from family / Family traditions

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Partial Transcript: So, rewinding again. Um, do you play any other instruments?

Segment Synopsis: Weaver recalls her family's love of music and the memories she carries with her of sing-a-longs in the car, or the stacks of records her family kept. She also talks about a few family traditions her family had that were centered around watching television together.

Keywords: Big bands; Choral music; Dark Shadows (Television show); Family; Family traditions; Gilligan's Island (Television show); Glen Miller; Music; Road trips; Wizard of Oz (Motion picture); Wonderful World of Disney (Television show)

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

00:37:57 - Decision to study at the University of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: So talk about gradu, graduating from high school.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Weaver discusses her senior year of high school and the decisions made around her education. She wanted to go to Morehead State University because she was already very familiar with the faculty. However, she had won a large scholarship for a solo competition in Austria and her family decided that she should go somewhere more prestigious. She mentions that the choice was taken away from her, so her first year was spent at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. She then decided to take her education into her own hands, and left to study at UK.

Keywords: Austria; Choirs; Cincinnati Conservatory of Music; Competitions; Cora-Lee Runyon; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Morehead State University; Performances; Phyllis Jenness; Sara Holroyd; Scholarships; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Sophisticates; Strength; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Lexington (Ky.).; Maysville (Ky.); Music--Performance

00:43:17 - Years at UK

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Partial Transcript: So what years were you here at the University of Kentucky in the School of Music?

Segment Synopsis: Here, Weaver talks about friends she made during her time at UK and her various memories of them.

Keywords: Amy Whipperman; Choirs; Competitions; Inspirations; Instructors; Judy Kennen; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Performances; Phyllis Jenness; Reunions; Roommates; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Sophisticates; Strength; Tributes; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

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

00:47:27 - Sara Holroyd's influence

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Partial Transcript: Do you have recollection of Joe Barnett being in the UK Choristers?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Weaver talks about Holroyd and her performance as a choral director. She mentions that the rehearsals flew by, yet they always accomplished a lot in the time they were there. Holroyd expected a lot of them, but never made them feel as though the rehearsals were a chore. Those behaviors ingrained themselves into Weaver's own teaching methods.

Keywords: Choirs; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Phyllis Jenness; Reunions; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Sophisticates; Strength; Tributes; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

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

00:51:19 - The influence of Phyllis Jenness / Opera performances

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Partial Transcript: Um, Phyllis Jenness.

Segment Synopsis: When Weaver came to UK, Jenness was not initially signed as her vocal coach. However, Weaver would not accept anyone else to teach her because she so greatly admired Jenness's work. Weaver also discusses some of her opera performances, which include Gondoliers and Rumpelstiltskin.

Keywords: Choirs; Gondoliers; Inspirations; Instructors; John Gardner; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Operas; Phyllis Jenness; Reunions; Rumpelstiltskin; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Sophisticates; Strength; Tributes; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

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

00:57:20 - Experiences with Robert Shaw

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned missing the Robert Shaw performances...

Segment Synopsis: Weaver performed under Robert Shaw for the opening of the School of Fine Arts. But, beyond that, it was her husband who did the most performing under him. Weaver recalls what a treat it was to sit in on their rehearsals and see Shaw there.

Keywords: Choirs; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Phyllis Jenness; Reunions; Robert Shaw; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Sophisticates; Strength; Tributes; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Choral music; Choral singing; Lexington (Ky.); Maysville (Ky.); Music--Performance; Shaw, Robert, 1916-1999.; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. School of Music

01:00:59 - John Jacob Niles

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about your experience with, uh, John Jacob Niles.

Segment Synopsis: Weaver details a time in her life where she had a close, musical relationship with John Niles. They met each other at Central Christian Church, through the choir director, Millie Fields. They performed "Song of the Innocents" together.

Keywords: Central Christian Church; Choirs; Inspirations; Instructors; John Jacob Niles; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Millie Fields; Performances; School of Fine Arts; Singing; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Alumni and alumnae; Choral music; Choral singing; Lexington (Ky.); Maysville (Ky.); Music--Performance; Niles, John Jacob, 1892-1980; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. School of Music

01:04:52 - Televised Christmas concert

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Partial Transcript: So, topic I want to move on to now are the Christmas concerts...

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Weaver talks about her performances in the annual Christmas concerts directed by Holroyd. She focuses on one concert that was broadcast across the state, entitled "The Gift of Music." Collins recently found footage of that concert and Weaver reflects on how wonderful it was to be able to watch it now and reminisce, and also to see Holroyd direct again from a professional's perspective.

Keywords: Broadcasts; Choirs; Choral singing; Chorale; Christmas; Concerts; Gift of Music; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Performances; Phyllis Jenness; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Sophisticates; Strength; Television; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky. School of Music

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

01:08:11 - Chorale performances and experiences

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Partial Transcript: Tell me what it was like to perform in Memorial Hall, back then.

Segment Synopsis: Weaver reflects on some of her most memorable performances in the School of Music, ranging from performing in Memorial Hall to performing at the Washington D.C Chapel.

Keywords: Choirs; Competitions; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memorial Hall; Memories; Performances; Phyllis Jenness; Reunions; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Tributes; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky; Washington D.C Chapel

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

01:15:05 - The Stephen Foster Story

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Partial Transcript: Tell me about your time with the Stephen Foster Story.

Segment Synopsis: Weaver discusses her experiences performing in the Stephen Foster Story. She attended for three summers and it was there that she met her now husband, Noel Weaver. At the time, N. Weaver was an understudy to the program.

Keywords: Choirs; Competitions; Cora-Lee Runyon; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Musicals; Performances; Phyllis Jenness; Reunions; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Stephen Foster; Strength Sophisticates; The Stephen Foster Story; Tributes; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Choral music; Choral singing; Lexington (Ky.); Maysville (Ky.); Music--Performance; Stephen Foster Center

01:18:12 - Professional career

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Partial Transcript: Walk us through your career path.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Weaver discusses her life after graduation. Her husband had received a teaching position in Zanesville, Ohio. After moving there, she felt she wasn't using her degree, so she and her husband re-entered graduate school at Morehead State University. Both of them received graduate fellowships which brought them into their current careers, but they received fellowships in the other's field. Weaver still believes Morehead mixed up their applications.

Keywords: Choirs; Educators; Fellowships; Graduate schools; Influences; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Memories; Morehead State University; Newlyweds; Ohio; School of Fine Arts; Singing; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky; Weddings

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

01:26:16 - Closing reflections on Sara Holroyd

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Partial Transcript: Well speaking of career paths...

Segment Synopsis: To close out the interview, Weaver reminisces about her time as a student of Holroyd's. She mentioned that she was not at all surprised when she found out Holroyd had re-entered college after retirement. Weaver also recalls that Holroyd's door was always open to her students, even inviting them to her house for picnics. It is something Weaver will never forget.

Keywords: Choirs; Educators; Influences; Inspirations; Instructors; Kentucky; Leaders; Legacies; Memories; Reunions; Sara Holroyd; School of Fine Arts; Singing; Sophisticates; Tributes; UK; UKY; University of Kentucky

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