Donor Spotlight: Judith Willoughby

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Judith WilloughbyContinuo member Judith Willoughby has been blazing trails throughout her rich and varied career as a choral conductor, educator, and arts administrator.

With a masters degree in piano performance and choral conducting, Judith experienced a turning point in her career when she attended a Chorus America Conducting Masterclass under the tutelage of Chorus America's founder, Michael Korn.

“From that moment, my career began to go in a different direction. I met wonderful choral leaders who helped me and supported me enormously. My involvement in Chorus America gave me important skills in building arts programming in communities and as a professional conductor.”

"My involvement in Chorus America gave me important skills in building arts programming in communities and as a professional conductor.”

Judith went on to found the Temple University Children's Choir and the acclaimed Cultural Affairs Program at Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania, which is celebrating its twenty fifth anniversary in February 2012.  She has conducted at festivals and conferences around the world, has frequently led honor and all state choruses throughout the United States, and has taught at prestigious institutions including Eastman School of Music, Westminster Choir College and Northwestern University.

“As an African American woman conductor, I found myself having to knock down barriers early in my career, and I’m proud I’ve been able to open doors for others. My Chorus America colleagues truly helped me every step of the way.”

Today, Judith is the Wanda L. Bass professor of conducting and choral music education at Oklahoma City University and artistic director of the Canterbury Youth Choruses. At OCU, she conducts Ad Astra Women's Chorus, University Singers, and teaches courses in music education.

Judith gave of her time, talent, and treasure as a member of the board of Chorus America for nine years and served as Board Secretary for two consecutive terms. And she continues to give: She has arranged for Chorus America to receive a distribution from her IRA through her estate plan.

"I learned in arranging this gift that you don’t have to be hugely wealthy to make a difference. I hope others will join me!”

“I know how valuable Chorus America is to young conductors, and I want to help it continue to prepare chorus leaders and advance the field. I’m happy I could leave a legacy to Chorus America in this way. I learned in arranging this gift that you don’t have to be hugely wealthy to make a difference. I hope others will join me!”