Canterbury Voices was founded in May 1969 as Canterbury Choral Society at All Souls Episcopal Church with 60 singers and now performs in Oklahoma City’s premier performance venue, Civic Center Music Hall. The 125-member Adult Chorus is the flagship program of the organization and the largest of its kind in the state of Oklahoma. All singers are auditioned-volunteers, most with extensive musical and stage experience, and come from all over Oklahoma. The Adult Chorus routinely collaborates with sister arts agencies like the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Oklahoma City Ballet. Canterbury Voices and the Oklahoma City University Wanda L. Bass School of Music share a unique partnership through the creation of a joint artistic position and through their vision of forming a center for choral excellence. Other collaborations include a shared choral music library, students performing with the adult chorus on selected concerts and student participation in Canterbury adult and youth programs as conducting and staff assistants.
In August of 2017, Canterbury Youth Voices (CYV) enters its twentieth year! Canterbury’s goal with the CYV education program is to provide opportunities for young singers in grades 2-12 to develop and enhance life skills through musical development. CYV has four choruses, rehearsing weekly in Moore and in Central Oklahoma City. CYV's education season is August through May.
Canterbury hosts an annual summer camp, Camp Canterbury, for children in grades 2-10. Camp Canterbury is a week-long camp for children who love to sing, children do not have to audition to attend Camp Canterbury. This summer camp is located at Oklahoma City University and is Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, then finishes with a gala performance on Saturday for family and friends.
Canterbury also offers high school and college choirs the opportunity to rehearse with Canterbury Voices’ artistic director, Dr. Randi Von Ellefson, and to perform alongside Canterbury Voices’ adult chorus on Civic Center stage through the Side-by-Side program.
Letter from the President
Canterbury has many new, exciting plans ahead as we prepare for our 2016-2017 season, and I am humbled and honored to be the new Board President of an organization that has provided choral music to Oklahoma for 48 years. Although a non-singer, I had attended Canterbury concerts many times since moving to Oklahoma City in 1996. While I appreciated the music and professionalism of the singers, I wasn’t truly aware of the special nature of Canterbury until more recently. Our firm was honored to host Canterbury’s 45th anniversary celebration in 2013 following their opening concert of Carmina Burana. The planning and execution of this celebration provided me with a first-hand opportunity to witness the passion, dedication, and musicality each performer brings to such an undertaking. I was intrigued by the idea that these performers were volunteers—giving of their time and talents for the pure joy of singing and performing.
Coming from almost every corner of Oklahoma to join voice and heart, the Canterbury singers embody—to me—the essence of why the arts are so very necessary: community. The Canterbury community is a place of joy, music, laughter, and very hard work. After witnessing these qualities, I had to be a part of such an organization and was honored, and a bit humbled, to be asked to lead Canterbury over the next two years. To me, Canterbury embodies the very best of the spirit of Oklahoma—hard work, selflessness, perseverance, and a drive to create something a little bit unique and thereby make things a little brighter. Canterbury weaves each volunteer’s voice with their neighbor’s achieving a certain moment of grace through music. These are the reasons why I became a part of Canterbury and support it with my time, my financial resources, and the resources of my firm and our employees.
The volunteer singers of Canterbury are what make our organization truly unique. While other organizations pay their artists, our singers do what they love to do, not for the money, but for their passion of choral music. Many of them have been singing with Canterbury from the very beginning, have traveled near and far each week to attend rehearsals, and have reached beyond Oklahoma with trips to China and France to share their love of choral music. They are the single most important factor for the reason Canterbury has thrived for nearly half a century.
In addition, our youth choruses continue to supplement the lives of students by providing a solid music education and curriculum. As we continue to branch out with our satellite programs, we hope to reach more youth who are eager to learn the art of singing in a group, building friendships, and improving their overall academic experiences.
At the end of every concert this season, I hope you come away with a greater appreciation of choral music. And if choral music is just outside of your comfort zone, get ready to be inspired and leave with a spirit of joy and wonder.
Starting fall 2017, Canterbury Voices will celebrate its 49th season as one of the largest volunteer choral organizations in the United States! The singers of Canterbury are auditioned-volunteers, most of whom have extensive musical and stage experience. These dedicated musicians hail from all over the state of Oklahoma to share their love of singing and the art of choral music with the greater Oklahoma City area.
Throughout the past 49 years, Canterbury's Civic Center season has become a celebrated tradition for families throughout Oklahoma. The Adult Chorus routinely collaborates with sister arts agencies like the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Oklahoma City Ballet. Canterbury's unique partnership with Oklahoma City University promotes a shared interest in our civic arts community by providing a joint artistic director, podium time for graduate conducting students and assistantship opportunities for music education candidates.
For over 20 years the Canterbury Youth Voices (CYV) has been celebrating children's love of singing by enhancing and cultivating singing skills and musical literacy. Through the art of choral singing, CYV strives to deepen each child's understanding of life, culture and the world around us. The CYV curriculum is designed to explore the world through classical music and the music of other cultures. Children attending public and private schools, as well as those who are home-schooled, make new friends while experiencing the joy of music in a supportive and nurturing environment.
The success of Canterbury Youth Voices (CYV) is measured based upon the number of students enrolled and providing an evaluation form for students, parents, and CYV staff at the end of the education season. In the evaluation form, participants may rate CYV on a scale of 1 to 5. The following are examples of questions on the evaluation:
Designed specifically for children in grades 2 through 10, Camp Canterbury is an exciting week full of singing, moving, learning, performing and making new friends! Children do not have to audition to participate in Camp Canterbury. Camp Canterbury teaches children good choral techniques, vocal and musical artistry, and also offers children an option for additional classes such as Ukulele, Music Theater, Drama, and Creative Dance.
As schools are continually being forced to eliminate their fine arts programs due to budget concerns, Camp Canterbury is one way in which Canterbury is seeking to reach the children of our community through arts education. Camp Canterbury reaches nearly 60 students each year through a fun education environment preparing them for their school music programs or membership in the Canterbury Youth Voices.
The success of Camp Canterbury will be measured based upon the number of students enrolled and providing an evaluation form for students, parents, camp instructors and staff at the end of the week. In the evaluation form, participants may rate Camp Canterbury on a scale of 1 to 5. The following are examples of questions on the evaluation:
This program is an exciting invitation to a local high school or university choir to participate in a "Side-by-Side" performance with Canterbury Voices. This provides students with the opportunity to perform a choral masterwork in a professional venue with experienced musicians. Students also receive FREE instruction in their classroom with Artistic Director, Dr. Randi Von Ellefson. Complimentary tickets are made available to the students through the generosity of our supporters to share their once-in-a-lifetime experience. Recent participants include Norman North High School and Edmond North.
Pam Mowry is excited to become the new Executive Director of Canterbury Voices. She has more than eighteen years of nonprofit management experience, primarily in the areas of fundraising, board development and event management. Mowry’s career began at the Oklahoma Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain in 1998. In 2005, she joined the staff of Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma just as their capital campaign was getting underway to renovate and endow three properties on NW 16th Street in Oklahoma City, known as the Plaza District. Lyric was successful in reaching its goal to double their artistic programming and expand their community outreach when the historic Plaza Theatre opened in December 2007. Mowry left Lyric in 2012 to become the Executive Director of Oklahoma AIDS Care Fund, and coordinated three Red Tie Night events before joining the Boys & Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County staff.
During her career, Mowry has served as Chairman of the 2012 Oklahoma Arts Conference in Oklahoma City and served on the Oklahoma State University College of Arts & Sciences Alumni Board. Mowry has served as a guest speaker and panelist on various fundraising topics, including capital campaigns, corporate sponsorships, and creative fundraising ideas.
Pam Mowry earned a Bachelor of Music with Elected Studies in Business degree from Oklahoma State University. During her time at OSU, she had the honor and privilege of studying choral music with Dr. Jerry McCoy. Performing in Concert Chorale, the group toured Europe and performed at numerous American Choral Director’s Association Leadership Conferences across the United States. “It was one of the best times in my life,” said Mowry, “performing choral music is a spiritually uplifting experience, and I enjoy it immensely.” Mowry has also sung with Stillwater Chamber Singers and Windsong ensembles.
Pam and her husband Mike have two daughters who attend Oklahoma State University and Edmond Memorial High School. In her spare time, Pam serves as Vice President of Edmond’s Bulldog Band Boosters.
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