Huff named interim director of Lake Junaluska Singers

Jan 04, 2017
Photo by: Donated photo Mary Huff

LAKE JUNALUSKA — Lake Junaluska has announced new leadership of the Lake Junaluska Singers, a choral group that has been part of Lake Junaluska’s history for more than 60 years.

Mary Wannamaker Huff began as the interim director of the Lake Junaluska Singers on Jan. 1.

Huff lives in New York City with her husband, Andrew Henderson, and two sons, but also owns a home at Lake Junaluska. Having grown up coming to Lake Junaluska with her parents, her connection with Lake Junaluska and her friendship with many residents excited her to be considered as the interim director of the Lake Junaluska Singers.

“I can’t remember a time I didn’t come to Lake Junaluska,” said Huff. “I have a lot of vivid memories of enjoying the craft room at the lake as a child making copper rubbings of praying hands and stained glass. I went to every single Lake Junaluska activity with my grandmother during the summer."

Huff graduated cum laude from Furman University in 1999 and received a Master of Music degree in 2001 from Yale University. She furthered her post-graduate studies in music education at Westminster Choir College, specializing in the training of children’s choirs.

She is the founding director of the New York City Children’s Chorus and associate director of Music at Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church.

“Lake Junaluska has always valued excellence in sacred music: in choral music and organ music, and by supporting young people singing,” said Huff. “These are the very things that I have built my career around and what I love the most.

“There is an amazing musical foundation already in place here, and the possibilities of building on this tradition of choral musical excellence to show the Christian hospitality that Lake Junaluska shows to all people seems to be very meaningful venture.”

As Huff assumes her duties as interim director, Kathy McNeil joins her as the associate director of the Lake Junaluska Singers.

McNeil received a Bachelor of Music in education and Master of Music in organ performance from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey.

McNeil is the organist and choir director at Grace Church in the Mountains in Waynesville. She has given numerous recitals throughout the New York metropolitan area and in Western North Carolina, and she is in demand as accompanist for soloists and choral groups.

McNeil presently is director for the Haywood Community Chorus and organist for Lake Junaluska.

“The Lake Junaluska Singers have a marvelous history. Mary, with the assistance of Kathy McNeil, will build upon that legacy,” said Jack Ewing, Lake Junaluska executive director. “We are thrilled both Mary and Kathy are able to share their time, energy and enormous talents with not only Lake Junaluska, but also with those the Lake Junaluska Singers impact.”

Details about the Lake Junaluska Singers 2017 concert series can be found at lakejunaluska.com/singers.

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