Kay is a fourth generation Oregonian, raised in the Portland area. She started singing when she was five years old, and began piano lessons when she was ten. She sang in school choirs from primary school through university, and played percussion, bass clarinet and tenor saxophone in her high school bands. Kay began private vocal studies at the age of sixteen and continued working with a variety of coaches in different disciplines for twenty years. At the University of Oregon, she majored in Music with Voice as her primary instrument and graduated in 1988 with her Bachelor of Arts in Music. In addition to her college studies Kay performed in the chorus of The Eugene Opera from 1986 to 1988. After graduation she returned to her hometown of Portland and became a regular soloist and section leader of the Concord Choir, performing with renowned drummer Obo Addy and Ysaye Barnwell of “Sweet Honey in the Rock”.
In 1993 Kay joined the musicians of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Green Show, which was a 6-month resident contract at that time. For the first two years she sang and played percussion in three rotating, hour-long programs of English Renaissance music and dance which served as an introduction to the plays in the Elizabethan Theater. In 1995 the Greenshow was redesigned, and the music and dance directors were allowed to include any genre they wished to help introduce the audience to plays in all three theaters. That same year the musicians formally became “The Terra Nova Consort”, Resident Ensemble of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. For ten years, Kay performed with the consort in Greenshows and local concerts, and recorded and toured with them until 2002. In addition to her work with TNC, she also performed in The Noon Concert Series, The Daedalus Project, and The Love’s Labours Lost Concert.
Kay performed as a singer and percussionist in plays at OSF, as well: “Nora” in 1997 in The Black Swan Theater, “Richard II” in 2003 and “Romeo and Juliet” in 2007 in the Elizabethan Theater, and “Pride and Prejudice” in 2010 in The Angus Bowmer Theater. In addition to live performances, Kay’s voice was heard in the soundtracks of many plays throughout her 18 seasons at OSF.
Other performance credits include: vocalist on the soundtrack of the independent film “Fire on the Mountain” composed by Todd Barton and debuted at the Telluride Film Festival in 1995, featured vocalist with The Jefferson Baroque Orchestra, and many other local ensembles.
Recording credits include: vocalist/percussionist on “The Only One For Me”, popular songs of the 1920’s; vocalist/percussionist on “Renaissance en Provence” and “Baylado!” with The Terra Nova Consort; vocalist/percussionist on “The Standing Stones”, traditional English folk music.
Vocal coaching became an interest of Kay’s after her arrival in Ashland. For more information on coaching, check out the Vocal Instruction page.