In 1955, and 1956, 16 year-old Kay won first prize in the Utah State Fair piano competition. Maurice Abravanel, conductor of the Utah Symphony, invited her to perform as piano soloist with the orchestra. That performance began the tradition of Utah Symphony’s annual “Salute To Youth” concert.
Throughout her high school years, Kay taught as many as 35 private piano students each week. She received a music scholarship and graduated from the University of Utah in 1960 with a BS degree in Music Education.
In 1962, she and her husband, Melvin, and their two daughters moved to Texas where he trained as an Air Force pilot. During much of this time Kay served as a member of the piano teaching staff at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Kay has composed more than 300 piano, instrumental, orchestral, chamber and vocal works. She has performed and lectured throughout the United States, published three piano solo books, ten compact discs and won numerous honors and competitions. Her compositions have been performed at the University of Utah, Westminster College, the Salt Lake Mormon Tabernacle and the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Much of her music is in the broadcast rotation on radio station KBYU-FM in Provo, Utah.
After Melvin’s retirement from United Airlines, this busy mother of 11 children served five missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with her husband. In 2003, they spent a year in China teaching English at Shandong Normal University in Jinan, People’s Republic of China. Kay utilized her musical skills effectively to guide her students through the challenges of learning to speak (and sing in) English.
Her latest concert of her own compositions was held in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah in February of 2012. Her last choir album, “A Song…Is a Prayer” featuring the Salt Lake Vocal Artists was released in 2013.