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April 17, 2024 5:38 am

Holly Rector to lead UMO choral program

Holly Rector has been named the new director of the University of Mount Olive choral program.

MOUNT OLIVE — Holly Rector has been appointed as an assistant music professor within the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Mount Olive. She will replace outgoing faculty member Jonathan Saeger, who has successfully led the university’s choral program and ensembles for several years.

“Having worked with Mr. Saeger and our current choral students at UMO I have been impressed with the talent and participation,” Rector said. “I am looking forward to picking up where Mr. Saeger left off and to creating even more opportunities for new students to participate and perform in new and expressive styles and genres of music.”

Rector has been with the university since 2019 working in various capacities including as the assistant director of campus ministry and assistant director of Carolina Sound. Since joining UMO, she has taught private voice lessons and sight singing/ear training and dictation classes as an adjunct music professor.

“My vision for this new role is to incorporate new musical styles and genres that appeal more to the younger generation of upcoming students,” Rector said. “I have a strong background in stage production of music theater and show choir. I hope to make some great additions to our program in these other disciplines of music performance.”

Rector has a master of music degree in vocal performance from the University of Tennessee. She has performed with Knoxville Opera Company and Cumberland County Playhouse professional theater company, sung for Jimmy Swaggart’s radio and television program and traveled as an inspirational and contemporary Christian songwriter and recording artist based out of Atlanta. She has performed in “The Miracle Theater” in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. and for a decade at Walt Disney World with the Voices of Liberty.

While in Orlando, Fla., Rector taught K-12 music and directed competitive middle and high school choirs. She has also directed and produced a very large youth musical theater company. Rector has been a worship leader and pastor, and an adult, youth and children’s choir director at multiple churches around the country, where she has directed Christmas and Easter productions.

Rector’s strength as a vocal performance coach include her abilities, knowledge and experience in teaching various vocal techniques many different styles and genres of music. “I can train a vocalist in the discipline of opera, music-theater, jazz, pop, country, classical, gospel and choral techniques,” she said.

“My immediate goals coming into the fall will be to make connections and build relationships with students and local schools who are interested or even curious in singing and performing in the disciplines of choral, music theater and show choir,” she said. “I would love to launch some new programs and start a competitive group that we can take out for occasional travel to help promote UMO’s choral program.”

“We are excited to promote Holly to this new role and look forward to all that she will bring to our UMO Music Department,” said UMO President Dr. H. Edward Croom.

Rector is married to Lester Rector, who leads the university’s acappella group, Carolina Sound. The couple has three daughters, Alexis (19), a current student at UMO and a Carolina Sound member; Aliya Rector (17), an incoming UMO freshman and new redshirt Carolina Sound member; and Alana Rector (8), a third grader at Carver Elementary. The Rectors live in Mount Olive.

— From University of Mount Olive Public Relations