Holly Steed, Founder and Artistic Director
For nearly 15 years Holly Steed has been intimately involved in choral conducting in Clark County. In 1999, immediately after receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Choral Education from Utah State University, she moved to the Las Vegas valley. For over three years she worked as a choral director in the Clark County School District: first at Basic High School in Henderson, and finally at the Las Vegas Academy where she served as the head of the Choral/Vocal Department. In addition to full time teaching she also served as a choral director for her church, a private music instructor, and a guest adjudicator at many local and state events. She also sat on the executive board of Nevada ’s Chapter of Music Educator’s National Conference (MENC) for over two years. After resigning from full time instruction Holly and her husband Cory opened his Optometry Practice, Insight Eye Care. In her spare time she began to realize her dream of the Clark County Children’s Choir. She went back to school and completed a specialty certification in Kodaly Music Education from Brigham Young University The Clark County Children’s Choir was founded in 2005 with 7 members in one ensemble. It has now grown to 6 ensembles with over 150 young musicians. She feels so fortunate to have so many incredible young people to share her passion with, but most satisfying is finally having her very own Crescendo, Cadet, and Caprice member in her own family. Holly loves teaching music, but her first priority right now is her 3 boys and little lady. She still manages, however, to serve as an adjudicator and mentor within the CCSD and the valley. She has also taught at several summer music camps in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Alabama over the years.
The dream begins:
While teaching high school Holly had the opportunity to attend the American Choral Director’s Association Convention in Hawaii. While there she was privileged to attend performances of some the nation’s finest choirs. She watched the collegiate choirs in amazement for they were so refined and musical; the high school choirs impressed her with their mature sound and repertoire. However, it was not until the Sacramento Children’s Choir performed that she was moved in a way she will never forget. There was something powerful in those young musicians she has rarely felt with other choirs. It is from this experience, coupled with her experience with Cache Children’s Choir during her undergraduate work, that Holly has developed the dream and belief in the power of children’s voices.
Clark County is an ideal location for such a program to exist and thrive. Not only does it have over 300 public schools within a 45-minute radius, but private schools and home-schooled students abound. What better way to combine the strength of each of these types of students than through an all-encompassing community music ensemble?
The Clark County Children’s Choir is an amazing opportunity that brings talented youth of all backgrounds throughout Clark County together to develop musicianship and experience musical excellence in a creative, professional, and positive environment.
Kelli McElvany, Assistant Director
Growing up in a family that is musically inclined has been the musical core of Kelli’s life. As a youth she participated on scholarship in the Greensboro, North Carolina Music Academy for 2 years where she received formal classical vocal training. Kelli participated in many All-County and All-State Honors Choirs throughout all of Junior and Senior High School. She first began teaching beginner piano over 10 years ago. Over the years, she furthered her love of music by becoming a Kindermusik educator and sharing it with the Las Vegas community for 4 years. After teaching Kindermusik she became a co-choral director with the Clark County Children’s Choir. She attended Brigham Young University and received her Kodaly Certification. She has incorporated this specialized knowledge of teaching the foundations of music education into both choral and piano studies. Kelli is amazing with our youngest CCCC members and loves them just as much as she loves music!
Hannah McBrayer, Student Assistant
Hannah McBrayer has been working with Holly Steed for over half her life. She was blessed with a beautiful voice from birth, and has been working to strengthen and develop her vocal talents. Hannah has studied Kodaly sight singing with Bonnie Hughes, and is attending Las Vegas Academy for the Arts as a choir major. This is Hannah’s second season working with the Caprice class as a student instructor. She grew up with so many of these songs that they are a natural part of her. She loves singing and playing with our young singers!
Kara Davis, Accompanist
I had taken private piano lessons throughout school since the first grade. I studied violin and viola in middle and high school. I have been accompanying church and school choirs since my senior year of high school. My Bachelor of Arts degree is in Music from Arizona State University where I met my husband, Sean Davis, who received two music degrees from the same university. I taught music at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton grade school in the year 2001-2002 which is the same year that I began teaching private piano lessons and joined the Las Vegas Music Teacher’s Association. Through the association, I met Laurie Swain who showed me, through private lessons, the Jane Tan method of playing and teaching. This was an invaluable experience. In addition to my wonderful students, I am also fortunate to be teaching piano to my own children, ages 14, 13, 9 and, in the near
future, my two-year-old. The older children are already anticipating careers in music. The oldest began singing in the Clark County Children’s Choir when it began in March of 2005. I have been accompanying the Clark County Children’s Choir since the fall of 2006. I have always felt very honored to be playing music with these young children.
Kelsea McBrayer, Student Accompanist
Kelsea McBrayer’s first picture of her playing the piano was taken when she was about six months old. She has always loved to make music, and the piano is her weapon of choice though she also enjoys the cello, organ, and many other percussion instruments).
Kelsea first accompanied the CCCC in a winter concert in 2006, playing part of “chopsticks” while the choir sang “Fa La La Holiday.” She has been accompanying ever since. She has accompanied her church congregation and choir, Findly Middle School Choir, Legacy HS Orchestra and others. She is studying at Las Vegas Academy for the Arts as a piano major.