Sound Leadership: Choral Arts’ Debra Kraft Retires on a High Note

NEW HORIZONS:  Coming to Choral Arts Society of Washington as executive director in 2004, Debra Kraft will be missed as she retires from the organization.

by Patrick D. McCoy

Before any Kennedy Center Choral Arts concert, members of the audience often see a very striking, well-dressed person greeting constituents as they enter.  Whether she is interacting with dignitaries or putting out performance related fires, Debra Kraft is a huge presence of leadership that will certainly be missed, especially with Choral Arts.

Kraft enjoyed a wonderful rapport with founding music director, the late Norman Scribner and has continued similarly with current music director Scott Tucker, who was hand-picked by Scribner.  Kraft’s retirement was announced in a Washington Post Article last DebraKraftHeadShotyear written by classical music columnist Anne Midgette.  The article highlighted Kraft’s accomplishments and also highlighted the shift of women on the arts scene who join her similarly in transition:  Dianne Peterson (The Washington Chorus) and Joan Gregoryk (The Children’s Chorus of Washington)

At the recent Choral Arts concert at Kennedy Center, Kraft was recognized by music director Scott Tucker from the stage, as a spotlight shone brightly on her seated in one of the boxes.  The applause of the choristers on stage, as well as the members of the audience was certainly a reflection of her enormous impact.

So what’s next?  Kraft informally hinted that she will be doing some traveling and perhaps membership on a board.   We will just have to keep our ears to the ground and keep the scene posted.

Congratulations Debra!

Recently named among the Forty Under 40 for his contributions to arts and humanities, Patrick D. McCoy received a B.M. in vocal performance from Virginia State University and a M.M. in church music from the Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Va. , where he serves on the alumni board of directors. He has contributed arts and culture pieces to CBS Washington, The Afro-American Newspaper and the newly published book, “In Spite of the Drawbacks” (Association of Black Women Historians), which includes his chapter on legendary soprano Leontyne Price. McCoy has interviewed some of the most acclaimed artists of our time, including Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell, Martina Arroyo, Denyce Graves, Eric Owens, Norman Scribner, Julian Wachner, Christine Brewer and Lawrence Brownlee. He most recently served as music director at Trinity Episcopal Church, DC. Listen to these interviews and others at Blog Talk Radio. Additionally, he is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America. McCoy may be reached via email at and on Twitter @PatrickDMcCoy.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: