ARTISTIC STAFF BIOS
Sandy R. Holland is currently in her 23rd year as the Artistic Director of the Charlotte Children's Choir. Ensembles under Ms. Holland’s direction appear regularly with professional organizations such as the Charlotte Symphony, and Opera Carolina and have been selected to sing at state, local and national music educator’s conferences. (ACDA, NCMEA, OAKE, AOSA). The Choir has also toured extensively in the United States as well as abroad, performing in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris), St. Peter’s Basilica (Rome), National Cathedral (DC) was invited to perform at the White House (2012) and recently completed a successful tour to Costa Rica.
In 2008, Ms. Holland was selected as a Chorus America Masterclass Conducting Fellow with Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt and Dr. Ann Howard Jones held in San Francisco, CA. Sandy is the founding director of the “A Children’s Celebration in Song” summer program serving 150 children in the greater Charlotte area, and co-founder of the Annual Piedmont Invitational Children’s Choir Festival for children’s choirs across the state of North Carolina. An experienced and sought after choral clinician for children, junior high and high school women’s choirs, Sandy has conducted All State choruses, workshops and clinics in 14 states.
Sandy has over 20 years experience in church music, directing both adult and children’s choirs and is currently the interim Director of Children’s Choirs at St. Johns Baptist Church in Charlotte. Sandy also is an adjunct choral director at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she helped to develop a program along with Dr. Fred Spano, Professor of Music Education at UNCC, which benefits the Universities’ music education students as well as offer a free, non-auditioned program to students in grades 2 - 5, with special effort given to at risk populations.
Ms. Holland complete her undergraduate studies in Church Music and Christian Education from Pfeiffer College and received her master’s degree in music education from Indiana University. While at Indiana University she was an associate conductor of the University Children’s Choir under the direction of Dr. Mary Goetze. She received her Off-Schulwerk certifications from the University of Memphis and has received the Artist Teacher Diploma from the Choral Music Experience Institute with renowned conductor/teacher Doreen Rao.
Ms. Holland is a member of Chorus America and the American Choral Director’s Association, having served as the State and Divisional Repertoire & Standards Committee Chair for Children’s Choirs, was the 2008 Children’s Honor’s Choir Chairperson, served on the planning team for the 2012 Southern Division Convention and is currently the President for the North Carolina American Choral Directors Association.
Heather Williams Potter, Associate Conductor, conducts the Lyric Choir. She also serves as the Director of Music at First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina. As an active clinician, Dr. Potter frequently conducts treble ensembles for music conferences and festival choirs and presents children’s choir training workshops. She is President-elect of the Choristers Guild National Board, serves on the advisory board for the Choristers Guild Institute, and has recently completed a term as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Children’s Choirs for Southern Division American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).
Dr. Potter holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Furman University, a Master of Music degree in Choral Music Education from Arizona State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In addition, she has completed Level III in the Choral Music Experience certification course and holds Choristers Guild Children’s Choir Leadership certification. Dr. Potter is a member of ACDA and Choristers Guild. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband, Kenney and their children Syl and Calvin.
Abdullah Birdsong, Associate Conductor Youth Chorale. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Abdullah Birdsong holds the Bachelor of Arts degree in music in Organ Performance/Conducting from Morehouse College and a Master of Music degree from Samford University with additional studies at the University of Alabama and the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. He studied under the tutelage of David Morrow, David Oliver, Warren Hutton, Gerald Welker, H. Edward Tibbs, and Uzee Brown. He is a member of the National Association for Music Education, North Carolina Music Educators Association, and the American Choral Director’s Association.
Mr. Birdsong taught music on the elementary and secondary levels for over ten years. From 2006-2013, he served as Director of Choruses at West Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has also served as a consultant and clinician for the Alabama Ballet and Beeson Divinity School.
Mr. Birdsong holds membership in Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Phi Kappa Phi, the National Association for Music Education, North Carolina Music Educators Association, and the American Choral Director’s Association. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife, Marcia and their son Samuel.
William E. Gouge, Principal Accompanist is an active musician in the Charlotte area for 30 years. He was a participant in the North Carolina Visiting Artist Program and served on the NC Visiting Artist Advisory Board. He has appeared as a soloist with the Union Symphony Orchestra, the Fayetteville Symphony and for Music in the Mountains. He taught piano in public housing for Community School of the Arts, and was Community School of the Arts Teacher of the year in 1992. He is a graduate of Queens College with a degree in piano performance and was the winner of the Queens College Performance Award. He has accompanied the Opera Carolina Theatre, the Opera Carolina Chorus, and Carolina Voices, the Festival Singers, Renaissance, Vox and many other local choral groups. He is the Organist/Director of Music at Central United Methodist Church in Concord, where he has been on staff for over 25 years. He teaches piano privately and has been an accompanist for the Charlotte Children's Choir for 14 years.
Regina Graham Love, Accompanist for the Cantare and Youth Chorale holds a degree in Piano Performance from Converse College. She has appeared as accompanist and chamber musician for numerous organizations throughout the region for over 30 years. In her 11th season with CCC, Ms. Love also accompanies the Charlotte Chorale and the South Mecklenburg High School performing choirs. She operates Graham Studios as instructor in piano, voice, and accompanying and has served as Director of Music/Organist at Avondale Presbyterian Church for 21 years.
THE ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF
Nancina Pope is the Executive Director of the Charlotte Children’s Choir. As a seasoned non-profit administrator with two decades of non-profit experience, she oversees the day-to-day business operations of the Choir and actively works to raise funds through grant writing and other development functions. Nancina is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals; American Grant Writer’s Association, Chorus America and serves as the Choir’s liaison with the Arts and Science Council. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree from Morgan State University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.