Board Member Bios

Elizabeth PackElizabethArnold-approvedard Arnold:
Elizabeth, soprano, is a versatile singer who has frequently performed as a soloist in recitals and oratorios throughout the U.S. with emphasis on early music and the Lieder of Franz Liszt. Further, her performances of Liszt’s songs include recitals and presentations in Weimar, Germany, as part of the International Franz Liszt Congress for the 200th anniversary of his birth and at the American Liszt Festival in San Francisco.

Dr. Arnold regularly collaborates with Professor Lori Hetzel as the voice technician for the UK women’s Choir. Their work in the area of “Voice Building for Choirs” has resulted in presentations at the regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association.

Professor Arnold received a DMA in vocal performance from the Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music focusing on the Lieder of Sophia Westenholz (1759-1838) for her DMA thesis.

She served as an Artists-Affiliate in voice at Emory University from 1994 until May 2003 when she assumed teaching duties in voice at the University of Kentucky in September 2003. From 2006 to 2009, she was also an assistant professor at Transylvania University, where she directed the Transylvania Singers (Women’s Choir) and taught applied voice, opera workshop, vocal diction, and song literature. Her students have been accepted into graduate schools, musical theater, and opera programs/productions, as well as placed in university and secondary school positions.   In August 2009, she assumed the position of Assistant Professor in Voice at the University of Kentucky, where she teaches applied lessons and currently serves as Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Leslie Ann Asbury: I am originally from Maysville, KY and attended Centre College and then the University of Louisville School of Medicine.  I completed my residency in Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery in 2012 and then relocated to Lexington, KY and entered private practice. I have been married to Jeremy Ashby for 10 years, and we have two children, Eliza, 6, and Fields, 2.  Since 2013, I have served on the board of the Lexington Children’s Theater.

I became interested in opera at the age of 13 and studied voice privately and sang in numerous ensembles throughout high school and college.  In my scarce amount of spare time, I enjoy running, yoga, spending time at my parents’ farm and attempting to learn how to cook from my husband.

Robert J BrownRobert J. Brown:  Robert was turned on to opera by all night classical radio when he was a truck driver.  He came to UKOT through the auspices of Dr. Rona Roberts and Dr. McCorvey, initially serving on the board of the Lexington Opera Society.  His civic interests focus on the provision of legal services to the poor and on environmental issues, particularly sustainable forestry.  Personal interests include farming and racing.  Professionally, Robert is Senior Counsel with Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs LLP, specializing in corporate restructuring through bankruptcy.

William Harry Clarke photo website bioWilliam Harry Clarke: Harry retired as a professor in the UK School of Music in 2011 after 43 years of service there.  He was the Director of Bands for 21 of those years beginning in 1968. In 1989 he was appointed as the Director of the School of Music until he stepped down from that position in 2003.  From that year to his retirement in 2011, he continued to teach instrumental music education and serve as director of student teaching in music, work that he had done during most of his 43 years at UK.

Clarke served the 2013-14 term as the LFUCG 10th District Councilmember. During that period he served on the LFUCG Planning and Public Works, Public Safety, and General Government Committees and on the Picnic with the Pops Commission, the Tree Board, and the Corridors Commission.

Clarke is a graduate of Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi and Vanderbilt University.  He taught in high schools in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky and for two years at Eastern Kentucky University. He pursued doctoral work at the University of Kentucky for the three years prior to his appointment as Director of Bands.

In 2012 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Kentucky Music Education Association.  Further interest in education included his service as a member of the Site Based Decision Making Councils at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and James Lane Allen Elementary School.  He is still active, after 25 years, in the Kentucky Department of Education’s “Kentucky Teacher Intern Program” in which he serves first year teachers as the Teacher/Educator member of the intern’s mentoring committee.

In 2011, he was elected as President of the Harrods Hill Neighborhood Association where he served for two terms.  Clarke coached Little League Baseball in the Gardenside Little League (now Western) for 15 years.  He is also a two-time recipient of the Kentucky Colonel award.

He has been married to Mary Beth Stevens Clarke for 35 years.  Their son, 30 year old Matthew, is a UK and Princeton graduate in architecture and works as an architect in New York City.

Jean M. Dorton:  Jean Dorton retired from Big Sandy Community and Technical College as the Community and Legislative Liaison and Manager of Advancement.  After graduating from Paintsville High School, Jeanie attended Prestonsburg Community College, where she received an Associate in Arts as well as an Associate in Science.  She later graduated from Morehead State University with an environmental science degree.

Jeanie has always had a love for the arts and folk culture.  She is currently a member of the American Folklife Center Board at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC and the Kentucky Arts Council.  Her other arts affiliations include her former positions as member and chair of the Kentucky Folk Art Museum at Morehead, the Kentucky Foundation for the Arts Board, the East Kentucky Concert Series, and the Apple Festival Board Arts and Crafts chair.

Jeanie served as a member and vice-chair of the Morehead State University Board of Regents, the Prichard Committee Executive Board, and was on the Paintsville City Council for two years.  She currently serves on the Center for Rural Development Executive Board, Highlands Regional Hospital Foundation Board, Region 7 Director for the Kentucky Federated Republican Women Board, and is a member of the Delta Sigma Service Sorority in Paintsville.

Jeanie and her retired husband Denny have recently moved to Lexington from their hometown of Paintsville.   They have one son Andrew Trigg Dorton, who is married to Stephanie Stumbo who also reside in Lexington.  Andrew and Stephanie have two sons Tristan and Ashton, who attend Dunbar High School and Beaumont Middle School.

JanFurst-approvedJan Furst: Jan Furst is a proud Hoosier, having been born and raised in southern Indiana, and a graduate of Hanover College with degrees in psychology and religion. After college Jan moved to upstate New York, where she began working as Director of Christian Education at the Dansville Presbyterian Church. It was while in New York that she met and married Richard (Dick) Furst.

After a few years in New York, the Fursts moved to St. Louis, MO, where Dick completed his doctorate at Washington University and Jan worked in the University’s development office. After four years in St. Louis, it was off to Columbia, SC for twelve years while Dick served on the faculty of the Business School at the University of South Carolina.

In August of 1981, the Fursts moved to Lexington when Dick began his tenure as Dean of the College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky.

Dick and Jan are the parents of two daughters, Pamela, principal of Junction of City Elementary School in Boyle County, and Stacie, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at the University of Cincinnati. The Fursts have six grandchildren.

Dick was a member of the Lexington Opera Society, now OperaLex, until his death in 2012 and was dedicated to supporting and promoting the mission of UK Opera. With the enthusiasm for UK Opera that she shared with her husband, Jan is excited and pleased for the opportunity to continue that support while serving on the Board of OperaLex.

Susan Gardner:  Susan is a scientist and a life-long lover of learning and intellectual inquiry. As a professional physicist, she relishes the opportunities she has to interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds worldwide – ­­­and she enjoys helping young scientists to realize their career goals. Joining the UKOT/OperaLEX board gives her a chance to help students that she would not otherwise have the chance to meet.

Susan was born and raised in Southern California and majored in Physics and Chemistry in college, earning a B.S. degree from Caltech in 1982; she was elected president of her senior class. She earned a M.A. in Chemical Physics from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics from M.I.T. She then became a “Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiten” in Heidelberg, Germany, working at the University and the Max Planck Institute, and there she met Wolfgang Korsch, who eventually became her spouse. Susan joined the faculty of the University of Kentucky, Lexington in 1995, where she is currently a Professor of Physics. Her research blends nuclear, particle, and astrophysics, and she is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Eli Griggs:   Eli Griggs is a Civil Engineering graduate from the University of Kentucky.  During his time at the University, Eli was involved with the UK Opera Theatre and choir ensembles.  He was a member of the University Choir, the Men’s Choir, AcoustiCats, and was a part of several Opera Theatre productions including La Boheme,  Aaron Copeland’s The Tender Land, the European recording of The Tender Land, multiple productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors, and several years of “It’s a Grand Night for Singing.”  

Since graduation, Eli has worked for The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company throughout the US on large scale Federal, State, and Private commercial construction projects.  Eli is happy to return home to work on local projects at the University and the surrounding areas after being away from the Bluegrass for over a decade.

Judy Goss Higgins:  Judy Higgins was born in South Georgia where she grew up playing baseball, reading, and taking piano lessons. To pay for her lessons, she raised chickens and sold eggs to neighbors. She attended Mercer University for two years, and then Baylor University from which she graduated with a BA in German. She received her MA in German literature from The University of Michigan. After teaching German for several years, Judy decided to become a librarian and earned a MA in Library Science at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.

Judy’s life took an exciting turn when she left her teaching job in Pennsylvania to be Head of Library at the Learning Center School of Qatar Foundation. She lived in Qatar for eight years. During every vacation she traveled, sometimes venturing to places she never otherwise would have gone: a remote village in Burma where people had never seen a white woman; a village in southern Oman where several children had also never seen a white woman and tailed her everywhere; the mountain-top jungle in Rwanda where Dian Fossey’s mountain gorillas live; Tibet’s most sacred temple where, overcome with altitude sickness, she defiled the most sacred object in the temple by throwing up.

Judy is a frustrated pianist. After moving to Lexington, she did what she’d always wanted to do: write a novel. The protagonist in the novel reflects her frustrations as a wannabe pianist. She saw her first opera, Rigoletto, while in college, and loved it so much she went back the very next night to see it again. She has been active in the Bravo Guild for the past five years.

Judy has two children, Julia (living in Lexington) and Stephen, two children-in-law, Jim and Erin, and four grandchildren: Kyle, Jon, Karina, and Addy.

Wolfgang Korsch:  I grew up in the central part of former West Germany, and I attended a high school with a focus on arts, especially music, classic languages, and sciences – a real “humanistisches Gymnasium”. Although I have always been fascinated by music, my main interest was science. However, in my spare time I played the trumpet in a few small ensembles and in the local high school orchestra.  After graduating from high school in 1980 and one year of military service, I enrolled at the University of Marburg as a physics major.  At the start of my Diploma Thesis (1985) I moved to the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPI) in Heidelberg where I gained my first experience in research. From 1986 to 1990 I pursued a Ph.D. in nuclear physics at the MPI. At the end of my Ph.D. studies, I met a lovely woman, Susan Gardner, whom I married in 1998. After receiving my Ph.D. I spent a few years at MIT in Boston and some time at Caltech (Pasadena) before joining the physics faculty at UK in 1996.  Susan and I enjoy living in Lexington, and we are enthusiastic fans of the UK Opera program.

EveretMcCorvey-approvedEverett McCorvey: (Executive Producer) Everett is a native of Montgomery, AL and received his degrees from the University of Alabama. Dr. McCorvey holds the rank of Professor Voice and the OperaLex Endowed Chair in Opera Studies and is the Director and Executive Producer of the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre.   As a tenor soloist, he has enjoyed critical acclaim and has performed in many prestigious venues around the globe, including the Kennedy Center, Radio City Music Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, and Italy’s Teatro Comunale.   He established and directs the American Spiritual Ensemble, a group of 24 professional singers who tour annually throughout the United States and abroad. Last summer Dr. McCorvey and the ASE traveled to Ireland to sing for the fiftieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s visit to Ireland. Dr. McCorvey also participated in the fiftieth anniversary of George Wallace’s Stand in the Schoolhouse Door in Alabama last spring. In 2010 he served as the executive producer for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, the largest equestrian event in the history of the United States. Dr. McCorvey is also vice-chair of the Kentucky Arts Council for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Doug Martin. 12-9-09. Lexington, KY. Photo by Bill Straus. Copyright 2009.

R. Douglas Martin:  Doug is a native of Lexington, Kentucky and a member of Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney, PLLC. His law practice focuses on commercial real estate and business transactions, governmental financial incentives, planning and zoning, estate planning, and related litigation. Doug holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. He previously served on the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council, and remains active in the Lexington Singers (baritone) and the Lexington Community Orchestra (trumpet). In his free time, when he’s not fishing, Doug enjoys playing jazz for such engagements as KET’s Fabby Abbey Ball and the Commerce Lexington Annual Dinner.

Mega Moloney 200x240ppiMegan Moloney:  A native Lexingtonian, Megan returned to her hometown in 2015 after two decades in Washington, D.C., where professionally she has served as a public relations advisor at a number of federal agencies. Megan currently serves as the Director of Digital Media Engagement at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Megan serves as director of Lexington’s newest Irish dance school, the Bluegrass Ceili Academy. A certified instructor since 2010, the teams Megan has coached have won 23 regional championship titles and, in 2009, the North American national championship. Megan has danced — and had her choreography performed — across the nation’s capital, including at the Kennedy Center, Strathmore, the Annapolis Irish Festival and Shamrockfest.

In Lexington, Megan performed onstage and worked behind the scenes with numerous arts organizations including UK Opera Theatre, Lexington Musical Theatre, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Actors Guild of Lexington, Studio Players, Lexington Shakespeare Festival and the Lexington Ballet.

Megan also serves as an advisory board member for the Women’s Heart Health Program at the University of Kentucky’s Gill Heart Institute. She holds degrees from Miami University (BS, Mass Communications) and Johns Hopkins University (MA, Management).

Walter R. Morris:  Walter R. Morris, Jr. is a partner in the law firm of Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP, in its Lexington, Kentucky, office. Mr. Morris’ practice is concentrated in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. He received his B.A. degree, with distinction, and his J.D. degree from the University of Kentucky, and his M.A. degree from the University of Chicago. Mr. Morris is a member of the Fayette County and Kentucky Bar Associations and a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He is past Chair of the Probate and Trust Law Section of the Kentucky Bar Association and currently serves as the Chair of that section’s Legislation Committee. Mr. Morris is the author of Chapter 14 of KENTUCKY ESTATE ADMINISTRATION, Marital and Charitable Deductions and Administration of Estates (University of Kentucky College of Law, Office of Continuing Legal Education, 2014), Estate Planning for Retirement Benefits, KENTUCKY BENCH AND BAR (November 2010) and The Kentucky Principal and Income Act, KENTUCKY BENCH AND BAR (March 2005). Mr. Morris is a member and deacon of Calvary Baptist Church. He has been a member of the South Lexington Lions Club for many years and has previously served on the board of directors of the Lexington Opera Society (OperaLex) and the Wilderness Road Girl Scouts Council. Mr. Morris and his wife Jessica have two children, Elizabeth Ross and Dr. Ann Cordray.



JamesPalumbo-approvedJames (Jamie) Palumbo: Jamie was born and raised in Lexington, KY. He is a graduate of Bryan Station High School, the University of Kentucky, and is a member of Calvary Baptist Church. Growing up, Jamie enjoyed the performing arts, so he was involved in theater and chorus. In college he was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity, where he served as corresponding secretary and philanthropy chair. He was president of the College Democrats of Kentucky for two years. Jamie works for Palumbo Lumber and coaches diving. He dove growing up and has been coaching for 18 years. In the summer he coaches at Spindletop and in the winter he coaches at the high school level. Jamie was voted the KHSAA Outstanding Girls’ Diving Coach in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014 as well as the Outstanding Boys’ Diving Coach in 2011 and 2012.

Jennifer Palumbo:  Jennifer Palumbo moved to Lexington 23 years ago to work at WKYT-TV. She fell in love with the city and its people, and she never left. She is married to Joe Palumbo with two children, Anna and John. Anna made her debut in this year’s production of “It’s a Grand Night for Singing!”

Jennifer is passionate about supporting the arts. She believes she can use her journalistic background to help OperaLex to raise its profile and get even more support through media coverage (TV appearances) and social media exposure.

Mary Powell: I grew up in a family of music teachers, and I have loved opera and many other types of music since childhood. In 1989 I began working with Opera of Central Kentucky and then with Lexington Opera Society (the predecessors of OperaLex) first as a volunteer and then as one of the four Bravo Guild representatives. I currently serve as the Secretary for the Bravo Guild, and rejoined the OperaLex Board in September, 2018.

Michael L. Rowland: I was born and grew up in Dayton, OH. My musical interests began very early by singing in school and church choirs. After high school, I received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, OH, where I studied voice with Margaret Kommel and Michael Chang. I later received a Master’s degree in Voice from The Ohio State University studying with Helen Swank. After performing in numerous operas and choruses, I decided to pursue another avenue and I earned a doctorate in Adult Education and Workforce Development from The Ohio State University.

Since that time I have served as a lecturer in Music Education at The Ohio State University Newark campus and taught voice privately. Other faculty-related appointments include:

Assistant Professor, Ohio State College of Dentistry – Division of Primary Care (2004-2015); Assistant Professor and Director of the Medical Education Research Unit – University of Louisville School of Medicine (2009-2013); Associate Professor, University of Louisville School of Medicine and College of Education and Human Development (2013-2015); Associate Dean, University of Louisville School of Medicine (2013-May 2015); Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs at University of Kentucky College of Medicine (June 1, 2015-present).

I am new to Lexington and I am excited to join OperaLex.

SmithA-200x256Adam M. Smith:  Adam is an attorney with Stites & Harbison and a member of that firm’s Construction Service Group. Adam relocated to Lexington from New York City in May 2014 with his wife, Kate Smith, and their son, Conrad. Their daughter, Vivienne, was born in Lexington in May 2015.  he Smiths are thrilled with their new home town, and Adam is excited to become involved in the arts in Lexington. At Stites, Adam’s law practice is focused on representing owners, contractors and subcontractors in construction disputes. Adam graduated from Cornell Law School and worked at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Dewey Pegno & Kramarsky LLP in New York City. Originally from Houston, Texas, Adam received his Bachelor’s degree in English from Rice University and taught English as a Second Language in China in 1999-2000. He enjoys listening to many kinds of music, exercising and spending time with his family.

Mary Anne Squires: Mary Anne was born in Chicago and grew up in the suburbs.  Her first paying job came during her high school years as a chorus girl, working in the evenings in downtown Chicago. She graduated from Northwestern University, where she majored in biology and chemistry. Following college graduation, her career path included being a high school teacher at Thomas Jefferson in Fairfax County, VA, and a real estate agent in Barrington, IL. She served on the Barrington Lyric Opera Guild, raising money for the Chicago Lyric Opera. Mary Anne is one of the founding board members of the Kentucky State Parks Foundation and finished her final term last year after serving several years on the board. She also served for a number of years on the Planning and Zoning Board for Woodford County. An earlier commitment was serving on the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. She was at one time a travel agency owner in Versailles, KY, and currently is a tour operator and owner of KY Horse Tours.

To view the full list of board members, click here. 

Immediate Past President


Pam Miller: Pam is a longtime public servant and community activist. After serving on the Urban County Council for 15 years and as Mayor of Lexington for 10 years, she retired from city hall in 2003 and continued to give her energy and support to education and music organizations.

She is a past chairperson of the state Council on Postsecondary Education, the coordinating body of Kentucky’s public universities and community colleges.

A founding member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence in the early 1980s, she still serves on the Board.

Also, she has served as a Trustee of the Central Christian Church and is active there.

She has been involved in other endeavors and causes over the last 40 years too numerous to mention.

And she has been an enthusiastic member and president of the Lexington Opera Society, now OperaLex. She has been excited to see UK’s opera program grow in depth and breadth over the last two decades, and to support the development of many talented students. She is proud that the opera program now has a national reputation and she is a significant contributor to Lexington’s artistic scene.  The Lexington Downtown Arts Center was renamed The Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center in her honor in 2017.

Emeritus/a Board Members

Mary Hayden

Phyllis Jenness
Dr_-George-Privett 200x246George Privett, MD:   George Privett, MD is a Neurologist who owns and operates the Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI. He and his wife, Nawanna, came to love Opera later in life, thanks to the introduction to opera singing by his wonderful voice instructor and founding member of Lexington Opera Company, Dr. Phyllis Jenness, to whom he is forever grateful.

He served as president of what was then became the Lexington Opera Society from 2002 to 2006 and, thanks to Dr. Everett Mccorvey and Tedrin Blair LIndsay, he and Nawanna’s education in Opera continued.
For five years, he led dedicated and hard working Society and Bravo board members and Grand Night performers in putting on its very successful annual fundraiser, “Prelude to It’s a Grand Night for Singing,” which now continues on as “Encore,” and provides significant annual monetary support to UK Opera Theater.
He is honored and humbled to have been awarded emeritus status of OperaLex.

Clifton Smith 200x230 cropped headshotClifton Smith, MD:  Clifton, an MD, was born and raised in Owensboro, KY and attended Owensboro public schools followed by an undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and a medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis. After serving as a medical intern at the University of Kentucky and a dermatology residence at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, he opened a private office for the practice of dermatology and cosmetic surgery in Lexington. He just celebrated his 41st year in his Lexington practice.

Clifton is married to Renee Price. They have four children and seven grandchildren. Their son Christopher, having caught the opera bug at home, is regularly found as a supernumerary at the San Francisco Opera. A recent credit includes the bear in Siegfried.

Growing up in Owensboro offers few opportunities to attend opera or even classical musical events. But thank to the Saturday broadcasts from the Met and the Community Concert Series, Clifton caught a glimpse of that other wonderful world. While the number of classical singers who came to town were few — Lily Pons, Hilda Guden, Jerome Hines, Roberta Peters– he was hooked on opera at a very early age, an addiction that continues to this day. “I would rather be sitting in the darkened auditorium of the Metropolitan Opera for a Saturday matinee than anywhere else in the world,” he says. His lifelong fascination with the world of opera and the people who make it happen got a tremendous boost when he became close friends with Gail Robinson and her husband, Henno Lohmeyer. They were instrumental in convincing Clifton to serve as co-director along with Louise Shouse for the Kentucky District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Clifton has served on many arts boards and was president of the Lexington Arts Council during the construction and dedication of Arts Place. He is proud to lend his support to OperaLex.