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Dr. Kay R. Pace


Dr. Kay Pace has had a long and distinguished professional career as a music educator, concert pianist, choral director, composer/arranger, ethnomusicologist, organist, vocal coach, collaborative pianist, workshop clinician, church musician and author. She has been particularly recognized for her versatility and skills in a broad range of musical styles: the Classics, Spirituals, African American Art Music, Gospel, Jazz, Broadway, Popular, Folk and the like.

"Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve"
Wood Structure

As concert pianist, Dr. Pace made her professional debut in solo recital as 1st Place Winner of the Artist Presentation Society’s Young Artist Competition in St. Louis, MO. Highlights of other awards include: 1st Place Southeast Winner and National Finalist of the National Black Music Colloquiam and Competition (Washington, DC); 1st Place Winner, the Illinois State Music Teachers Young Artist Competition; 1st Place Winner, Solo Artist Fellowship, Alabama Arts Council; Semi-Finalist, the University of Maryland International Piano Competition; and Special Award Recipient, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.  Dr. Pace was also featured in a nationally televised 30-minute PBS documentary “A Portrait of Kay Pace” on HARAMBEE via Auburn University. As solo pianist and collaborative artist, she has toured extensively in the US, internationally, and in concert with her sister, Hope Shiver, in the piano/vocal classical duo, Chocolate Divas. 


As music educator, Dr. Pace served as college instructor or administrator in Southern Illinois University (Carbondale), Alabama State University (“ASU” Montgomery), Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD), and Clark Atlanta University (GA).  At ASU, her post of longest tenure, Dr. Pace served as music professor and School of Music Dean where she was recognized for securing full NASM accreditations for all graduate and undergraduate degree programs and for her sponsorship of the only state-wide celebration to honor the life and work of world renown composer and native Alabamian, William Dawson, during his lifetime. Dr. Pace was also applauded for her choral work as director of the ASU Choir which toured nationally to critical acclaim and premiered her time-honored musical “My Son, My Son.”  In 2013, the ASU Reunion Chorus created the Dr. Kay Pace Choral Excellence Scholarship in her honor to be given yearly to an outstanding ASU choral music major.


Before her retirement in 2019 from Clayton County Public Schools (“CCPS”) in Jonesboro, GA, Dr. Pace served as Head of the choral and piano departments at Martha Ellen Stilwell Performing Arts High School and CCPS High School Choral Lead Teacher. She also taught at Fine Arts Magnet at Mt. Zion HS and North Clayton HS. Dr. Pace was often honored by the CCPS Board of Education for her Advanced Choruses being selected to perform at GMEA Conventions, receiving Superior Ratings in LGPE, students making All-State Chorus, All-State Reading Chorus, the Governors Honors Program, and Stilwell being selected to sing in Lincoln Center in New York City.  In 2017-18, the CCPS Board voted to name the newest fine arts magnet elementary school the Dr. Kay R. Pace School of the Arts in her honor. 


Dr. Pace was presented with a framed congratulatory letter from President Jimmy Carter by the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum (Atlanta) in 2018 to honor her many years of service to the educational and musical communities.  In 2019 the Georgia American Choral Directors Association (“ACDA”) selected Dr. Pace to receive its first Distinguished Directors Award and in 2022 the Atlanta African American Music Society (TAAMS) presented her with its Atlanta Music Living Legend Award in honor of her legendary contributions to the world of music.  Further, Dr. Pace has been acknowledged in the Atlanta area for her choral work with the Sanctuary Choir of Ben Hill U.M. Church, the MLK Sr. Choir at Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, and the CET Choir at St. Paul Baptist Church in East Point. Her music compositional output includes several sacred albums; concert works for solo piano, voice, and choral ensembles; Gospel songs; and arrangements of over 50 spirituals, hymns, and anthems.

A Mobile, AL native, Dr. Pace has earned the BA from Xavier University (Louisiana); MM, Southern Illinois University (Carbondale); DMA, the Peabody Conservatory of Music (Baltimore); and PhD in ethnomusicology from Pacific Western University (CA). She has been elected to Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Societies and holds memberships in the Music Educators National Conference, Georgia Music Educators Association, American Choral Director’s Association as well as Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

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