Celebrating her 50th year as music director of Chorus North Shore, one could well argue that the chorus and Sonja Dahlgren Pryor have grown up together. Ms. Pryor’s charismatic personality and passion for musical excellence have developed this community chorus into a leading arts organization on the North Shore, performing master choral works with internationally known soloists and embarking on regular concert tours abroad.
Music has been “Sunny” Pryor’s life-long calling. By the age of 15, she was already conducting the Junior Choir at her local church in Detroit, Michigan, and she was singing in three different choruses a week. Her formal training began as a voice major, earning her a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gordon College, Massachusetts, and later a Master of Sciences degree in Music Education from the University of New Hampshire. Ms. Pryor has studied under Robert Shaw, Frank Battisti, Robert Page, and Margaret Hillis of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. She has attended the Aspen Music Festival and the Adirondack Festival of Music and has conducted countless workshops in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, and Michigan.
Associated with music education for over 30 years, Ms. Pryor has taught music to students from kindergarten through college. She served as Director of Music of the Hamilton-Wenham school district in Massachusetts and has taught at the University of New Hampshire, at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, and at Massachusetts’ Northern Essex Community College. She has appeared as guest lecturer at numerous colleges and universities, including The New England Conservatory for The National Association of Teachers of Singing. Ms. Pryor has been a church choir director in Michigan and Massachusetts, including Director of Choral Music at the Park Street Church in Boston. Ms. Pryor is an active member of Chorus America and The American Choral Directors Association. She also serves on the Board of the Cuvilly Arts & Education Center in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Ms. Pryor resides in Ipswich.
For her invaluable contributions to music and music education, Ms. Pryor has been recognized by the State of Massachusetts as an Outstanding Massachusetts Arts Educator. In 1999, she received the prestigious Walker Hancock Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities.