Clay Whittington serves as organist and music director for Spilman Memorial Baptist Church in Kinston, North Carolina, where he conducts a variety of choral and instrumental ensembles. Prior to his appointment at Spilman Memorial, he performed with Carnival Cruise Lines in onboard piano bars and main-stage performances.
Before signing off of the Carnival Pride in November of 2018, Clay earned top performer status with Carnival Entertainment after entertaining on nine vessels in two and a half years. His tenure with Carnival included performances in Aruba, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cuba, Curaçao, Hawaii and Mexico.
Clay is currently studying vocal performance with a concentration in sacred music at East Carolina University. He sings with the internationally renowned East Carolina University Chamber Singers and is active in the ECU chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and the American Guild of Organists. In the spring of 2020, Clay will portray the role of El Gallo in ECU Opera Theatre’s production of The Fantasticks. His teachers have included Mr. John Kramar (voice), Dr. Daniel Shirley (voice, opera), Dr. Louise Toppin (voice), Dr. James Franklin (choir, conducting), Mr. Kwan Yi (piano) and Mr. Andrew Scanlon (sacred music).
In the role of choirmaster, Clay has directed vocal ensembles for the Episcopal and United Methodist Churches in North Carolina and California. In 2017, he shared the stage with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, The Most Rev. Michael Curry, as music director for the Diocese of El Camino Real Revival. He has also served as cantor and worship leader for the Diocese of El Camino Real Diocesan Convention and the Annual Conference of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Proven ability to sing directly from the score at first sight, with accurate pitch and rhythm, using text and solfège (do, re, mi, etc.).
Extensive experience in directing and conducting large and small choral ensembles in sacred and secular settings, all from the podium and the keyboard console.
Thorough understanding of the art and science of vocal education and it's application in solo and choral instruction.
Comprehensive knowledge of current trends and technology in live sound production, including mixing speakers, soloists, bands and large ensembles.
Ample understanding of music theory and counterpoint. Experience with a various notation programs and applications, including Finale, Notation, etc.
Fluent knowledge of Christian liturgy and the worship service according to the American Episcopal and United Methodist traditions.