Dr. Katherine (“Kathy”) Kinsey was appointed Artistic Director and Conductor of the York County Choral Society on May 10, 2012. After an interview with the YCCS Board of Directors and a rehearsal format audition with the singers that consisted of conducting a movement of the Brahms Requiem and a brief rehearsal on Anton Bruckner’s Christus factus est, she accepted the offer to lead the YCCS who is beginning its 32nd season. She follows Dr. David Lowry’s 31 years of musical leadership who retired in spring 2012.
Her fulltime position is the Director of Choral Activities at Winthrop University located in Rock Hill, S. C. She is in her fourteenth year as a choral music faculty member where she directs the Winthrop Chorale and the Winthrop Chamber Singers. A resident of Charlotte, N. C. for over 30 years she holds a Master’s degree of Music Education from UNC-Greensboro and a Doctorate of Musical Arts in conducting from the University of South Carolina. She began her teaching career in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools where she taught middle and high school choral music for thirteen years prior to her appointment at Winthrop and simultaneously worked with the Community School of the Arts teaching voice, piano, and music theory for seven years. In addition to directing choral ensembles at the university, her other duties include teaching both undergraduate and graduate conducting, overseeing and instructing courses related to the Master of Music in choral conducting program, and directing the choral teacher education program that includes instruction in secondary choral methods and internship supervision. She and members of Winthrop’s Department of Music host an excess of 600 of the state’s top high school singers each year for the SC Music Educators Association’s All State Chorus weekend where the event has traditionally been held for over 30 years. She also musically directs the bi-annual musical theater productions that are produced by the College of Visual and Performing Arts College at Winthrop.
Dr. Kinsey has served in numerous offices for the SC American Choral Directors Association most recently as the state president from 2007 – 2009 and vice president from 2009 – 2011. She frequently serves as a clinician of choral festivals for both middle and high school singers, as an adjudicator for choral contests/festivals and works annually with high school choral programs as a consultant offering guidance with regard to choral singing, score interpretation and festival preparation. She also is frequently invited to work with teachers within professional education in-service clinics, church choirs in retreat sessions or in regular rehearsals to offer insight on their repertoire. A former music director at Amity Presbyterian Church (1997 – 2001), she still enjoys substituting for choir directors and working with sacred ensembles.
She considers her musical strengths to be interpretation and adherence to period style, conducting techniques that enhance the stylistic articulation of vocal lines and/or text, and score analysis techniques that result in the enhancement of harmonic writing that contributes to exciting musical expression. She attributes her piano and dancing background as tools that assist in actualizing and conveying musical ideas to her choirs and frequently uses kinesthetic movement or relevance to instrumental considerations as a basis for understanding articulation, movement of air, vocal balance or timbre. She believes in high energy music making and often uses humor to motivate her work environment as well as strives to choose creative literature in order to extend the aural and vocal abilities of her singers. Her musical mentors and influential teachers have been the late Dr. Arpad Darazs, Dr. Larry Wyatt, Dr. Manuel Alvarez, Professor John Adams (all of USC), Dr. Richard Cox (UNCG), the late Dr. Mary Nell Saunders (Charlotte Oratorio Singers) and her Winthrop predecessor, Dr. Robert Edgerton.
Dr. Kinsey and her husband Charles Kinsey (a medical physicist who works with radiation oncologists at Presbyterian Hospital) are current members of the Myers Park Baptist Church and reside in Charlotte’s historic Plaza-Midwood neighborhood on Belvedere Avenue with their three collies. They both grew up in the town of Walterboro, SC an historic town in the South Carolina Lowcountry near Charleston, SC. She and her husband love this area of the state for its salt water marshes, beautiful beaches, and picturesque landscapes of oak and palmetto trees. They travel there frequently to visit family and friends who still reside in the area.
Dr. Kinsey is adamant about maintaining the strong musical and artistic traditions of the York County Choral Society. She recognizes the wealth of vocal talent in Rock Hill and the surrounding area and hopes to increase the size of the choir significantly. It is her goal to continue performing large choral works (masses, requiems, oratorios, magnificats and an array of extended classical and contemporary classical genre) in the local area. She plans to feature the choir in arts festivals, to travel abroad with the choir and to collaborate with universities and reputable community ensembles throughout the Southeast. She feels strongly about featuring individual talent within the choir as well as traditionally exposing the community to high profile artists for larger works.
Susan Eichelberger Read has served as Accompanist and Vocal Coach for the York County Choral Society since 1994. She received two degrees in vocal performance from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, followed by two years of post-graduate study at the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts. For 25 years she made a career in opera, oratorio and solo recitals. For 3 years she was Principal Lyric Soprano with the Israel National Opera, where her roles included Madame Butterfly, Mimi, Violetta, the Merry Widow, and Tatiana.
Since moving to Rock Hill in 1991, she has held organist positions at Chester A.R.P. Church and currently at Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church. She also maintains a voice teaching studio, where her students range from beginner to professional level. Her teenaged students have won vocal scholarships at a number of colleges in the Carolinas.