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    Proctor, Sondra Goldsmith

    Choral director and organist who manned the pedals for the Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ in Bethesda, Maryland, from 1976 to 2003.  Shortly after becoming the church organist, she also assumed the duties of the choir director.  On Sondra’s watch, the church’s choral music program flourished with four choirs, Chancel, Children’s, Passing Tones, and Trebles, and a repertoire that encompassed works from the 14th-21st centuries.  She also directed and produced an annual stage musical with Biblical themes, cast right out of the church congregation. 


    In 1982, she founded the Circle Singers, who sang everything from medieval to contemporary music.  They recorded “Deigne at my hands” from Robert Passow’s La Corona in 1987.


    Sondra served as President of the American Choral Directors Association’s Eastern Division from 1982 to 1984.


    On 10th November 1991,  she and fellow pianist Lamar Sims, soprano Shelley Waite and the Washington Singers, under the baton of Paul Hill, recorded“Dream Dust”, “Feet o’ Jesus”, “Fire!”, “Song for Billie Holiday”, “When Sue Wears Red” and “Wonder” at the Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C.  She reunited with Paul Hill in 1995 when she played organ on the holiday album, A Paul Hill Chorale Christmas.


    In 1996, she commissioned “Sketchbook Two” from composer Daniel E. Gawthrop for a European tour.


    She conducted the Circle Singers in a performance of Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera, The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore at the Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda on 18th May 1997.


    On 9th December 1998, she led them in a Christmas program entitled “Carols With Care”, which included a pair of Latin motets by Hans Leo Hassler and Tomas Luis de Victoria, at the headquarters of the American Red Cross in the nation’s capital.


    Sondra was one of three conductors who led a Messiah sing-in at Kennedy Center Concert Hall in New York, New York, on 23rd December 1999.  She also played the organ during the concert’s exciting “Hallelujah Chorus” finale.


    On 2nd April 2000, she gave a free concert at the Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ, in memoriam Alexander Toth.


    She conducted the Circle Singers in a concert of rare American works by composers such as Elliott Carter at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., on 8th May 2001.


    On 26th October 2002, she and fellow organists Johnnye Egnot, Julie Vidrick Evans, Mary Mozzelle and Sonya Subbayya Sutton treated the Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ to a Halloween concert, in full costume.


    She conducted and performed in her final service as choir director and organist of Westmoreland on 1st June 2003.


    From 22nd to 25th June 2003, the American Guild of Organists held its Region III Convention in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.  Sondra gave a workshop entitled “Repertoire for Small Choir”.


    She directed The Circle Singers as they accompanied Bowen McCauley Dance at Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater on 15th October 2003.


    On 3rd December 2005, she conducted them in a variety of settings that included David Conte’s “Ave Maria”, Eleanor Daley’s “Dormi, Jesu!”, Giovanni Gabrieli’sHodie Christus Natus Est” and Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck’s “Hodie” at St. Patrick’s.


    She delivered an organ recital at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on 18th March 2006.  On 25th February 2007, she did same in Hosmer Hall at Potsdam, the State University of New York.


    She gave a morning of workshops at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland, on 19th January 2008.  They covered a wide gamut of topics, including contracts, music interpretation, ministering, neck flexibility, pay scales, and service preparation.


    On 25th June 2008, she helped present a workshop entitled “Body Building for Your Concert Audiences” at the American Guild of Organists’ National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.


    She performed Evensong with the Spirituals Choir of the Unitarian Universalist Society in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts, on 29th June 2008.


    Frederick Swann, President of the American Guild of Organists, tapped Sondra to serve on the Task Force for Promotion of the Organ for An International Organ Celebration in 2008-2009.


    On 23rd October 2009, she played “Music for an Inauguration” in Gunnison Memorial Chapel at St. Lawrence University’s installation of President William L. Fox.  The same venue found her seated at the organ for a concert of English music that included “The Hymn of Jesus” by Gustav Holst and “A Song of Thanksgiving” by Ralph Vaughan Williams on 13th November 2009.   


    On 25th November 2009, she was a guest organist at Die Seelsorge der Asklepios Paulinen Klinik in Wiesbaden, Germany.


    She was the organist du jour at the Kennedy Center for the annual Messiah sing-along on 29th December 2009.


    On 13th February 2010, she participated in the Eastern Division of American Choral Directors Associations’ face2face conversations at the Marriott in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The event gives attendees fifteen minutes to pick the brains of clinicians, composers and conductors.


    She supplied on half of “Four Hands, Four Feet”, a celebration of Central and European organ music, with Martin Kasparek, in Gunnison Memorial Chapel on 10th April 2010.  The music complemented an exhibition of student paintings inspired by Nicholas Roerich.


    Sondra serves at the organist-in-residence in the Chaplain’s Office at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.


    Paul Hill Chorale recordings

    O Come All Ye Faithful (Frederick Oakeley/John Francis Wade)

    Arranger – Jackson Berkey

    Conductor – Paul Hill

    Organist – Sondra Proctor

    National Capital Brass and Percussion Ensemble



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