Creighton Holder is Director of Music at First Presbyterian Church of Oxford, where he conducts all adult and children choirs, coordinates and performs in the Music at First Concert Series, and plays for all services and special events. He also founded and teaches in the Music at First Piano Studio, a program for pre-college students in the community.
He is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi where he earned a Master of Music in Choral Conducting and a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance. His primary instructors were Dr. Gregory Fuller and Dr. Ellen Price Elder. He completed the Certificate in Injury-Preventive Keyboard Technique at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, under Dr. Barbara Lister-Sink and continues to focus studies and performance on women composers of sacred music. His research on the choral music of Margaret Sandresky has been received at numerous conferences, including the Music by Women Festival. Creighton has presented sessions on sacred music for the Mississippi and North Carolina American Choral Directors Association and the Mississippi Music Teachers Association.
Through his work as a collaborative artist, he has participated in multiple world premieres by award-winning composers including Mack Wilberg, James Quitman Mulholland, Richard Burchard, Tõnu Kõrvits, and Galina Grigorjeva.
As Co-Director of Oxford Civic Chorus and as a collaborative pianist in the University of Mississippi music department, Creighton is active in the Oxford community. He is the Subdean of the Oxford-University of Mississippi chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and holds memberships with the Church Music Institute, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, and the American Choral Directors Association.
Debra Atkinson Co-Director
Debra Atkinson received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and a Master of Music Education with Choral Emphasis from Delta State University. She received a Doctor of Arts in Music Education with Choral Emphasis from the University of Mississippi.
In 2006 she became Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music Education at Mississippi University for Women. In 2011 she became the Director of Choral Activities and Instructor of Music at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gulfport. After retiring in May of 2021, she and her husband moved to Oxford to be closer to children and grandchildren.
Believing in community involvement, Debra has served as accompanist and choral director for numerous choral and theater groups throughout her career. In her hometown of Greenwood, she was musical director and accompanist for many Greenwood Little Theater productions. She was also director of a women’s community choir for 20 years. In Columbus, she was on the Board of the Columbus Girl Choir and the Columbus Arts Council. While on the Coast, she was the accompanist for the USM Gulf Coast Civic Chorale and musical director for Center Stage Theater. After moving to Oxford, she was accompanist and director of the Oxford Children’s Chorus.
Debra has been a church musician for over 40 years and is now the organist for All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Tupelo. She is an adjunct instructor in the music department at the University of Mississippi, as a collaborative pianist and class piano instructor.