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Verna Holley

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Information about Verna Holley

Profile image of Verna Holley

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
High School Music Teacher
Choral Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Midwest
Favorite Quote:
Trust In The Lord With All Your Heart And Lean Not On Your Own Understanding; In All Your Ways Submit To Him, And He Will Make Your Paths Straight.

Birthplace

Born:
4/29/1936
Birth Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
High School Music Teacher
Choral Director

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Midwest
Favorite Quote:
Trust In The Lord With All Your Heart And Lean Not On Your Own Understanding; In All Your Ways Submit To Him, And He Will Make Your Paths Straight.

Birthplace

Born:
4/29/1936
Birth Location:
Detroit
See how Verna Holley is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Retired choral music teacher Verna Dorsey Holley was born on April 29, 1936 in Detroit, Michigan to Pearl Richardson Dorsey and Henry Dorsey. Holley attended Dwyer Elementary School in 1948 before graduating from Northern High School in 1952. Holley completed her B.A. degree in music education at Wayne State University in 1956 and went on to earn her M.A. degree in music at Michigan State University.

Holley was hired as the fine arts director at J.W. Sexton High School in Lansing, Michigan and worked in the Lansing Public School System until she retired. She then continued to give piano lessons in her home. Holley became the pianist and music director of the Earl Nelson Singers. Founded in 1963, by Earl Nelson, The Earl Nelson Singers Company is an integrated ensemble of singers from the Lansing, Michigan area. As the company’s musical director, Holley selects the sacred songs of slaves for them to perform. The group’s repertoire included songs reflective of the early “gospel” style. Holley’s work has also been associated with the Okemos String Program.

Holley is a member of the Religious Conference Planning Association, United Conference for Women and the Capital Area Music Teachers Association. She lives in Lansing, Michigan with her husband, Melvin Holley. They have three adult children: Mark, Timothy and Millicent.

Holley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 29, 2008.

See how Verna Holley is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Verna Holley's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Verna Holley lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Verna Holley describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Verna Holley describes her mother's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Verna Holley talks about her father's activities as a young man
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Verna Holley describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Verna Holley recalls how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Verna Holley talks about her family's migration to Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Verna Holley describes her parents' personalities and her likeness to them
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Verna Holley lists her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Verna Holley describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Verna Holley remembers the neighborhoods of her youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Verna Holley describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Verna Holley remembers her early education at Trowbridge School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Verna Holley describes Paradise Valley in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Verna Holley talks about Black Bottom in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Verna Holley remembers the riots of 1943
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Verna Holley describes herself as an elementary school student
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Verna Holley talks about her childhood activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Verna Holley recalls attending Bethany Tabernacle church in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Verna Holley remembers her neighbors in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Verna Holley recalls attending Northern High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Verna Holley remembers notable African American musicians from her youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Verna Holley recalls African American publications from her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Verna Holley recalls attending concerts as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Verna Holley describes her decision to attend Wayne University in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Verna Holley lists her music teachers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Verna Holley describes her musical influences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Verna Holley recalls teaching music at Dwyer Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Verna Holley reflects upon her strict religious upbringing
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Verna Holley remembers the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Verna Holley recalls teaching at William T. Sampson Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Verna Holley describes how she met and married her husband
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Verna Holley recalls teaching at A.L. Holmes Elementary School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Verna Holley remembers the 1967 Detroit Riots
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Verna Holley recalls Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Verna Holley talks about relocating to Lansing, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Verna Holley recalls her early teaching assignments in Lansing, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Verna Holley talks about serving as director of fine arts at J.W. Sexton High School
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Verna Holley describes her involvement in the Earl Nelson Singers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Verna Holley recalls guest vocalists for the Earl Nelson Singers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Verna Holley reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Verna Holley talks about her taste in music
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Verna Holley describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Verna Holley reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Verna Holley describes her family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Verna Holley talks about her religious faith
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Verna Holley describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Verna Holley narrates her photographs