Kay joined the Fredonia School of Music faculty in 1993 while she was concurrently the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Grant to Ghana, West Africa. During her year in Ghana, Kay worked with the Ghana Dance Ensemble at the National Theatre where she studied xylophone styles of the Dagara people with Bernard Woma, and various indigenous drumming patterns of Ghana with Francis Kofi. In return, Kay was able to share her knowledge of contemporary music through a course that she taught at the University of Ghana at Legon on music of the twentieth century.
Kay completed a Doctor of Music in Percussion Performance degree at Indiana University (1992), with additional study areas of Ethnomusicology and Jazz History. During the pursuit of the degree she also held teaching positions as an Associate Instructor of Percussion at Indiana University, and as Lecturer in Percussion at the State University of New York at Fredonia. During this time Kay also performed in Germany, France, and the former USSR with the Stuttgart (Germany) Opera Orchestra, and presented solo percussion concerts in Munich and Konstanz, Germany.
Immediately following her undergraduate studies, Kay participated in many orchestral ensembles throughout the USA and was a member of the Baltimore Symphony percussion section. After moving to New York City, Kay performed in over 20 Broadway and off-Broadway shows. As a freelance player in New York City, she recorded TV and radio commercials and was a founding member of various chamber, jazz, and percussion ensembles. Kay also participates in many women's music events, from the First National Congress on Women and Music at New York University to performances at the Bloomington (IN) Women's Music Festival and beyond.
As a participant in Renaissance and Medieval ensembles, where many ethnic percussion instruments are used, Kay developed an interest in performance of ethnic percussion instruments. This interest led her to study ethnomusicology at Indiana University, concentrating on various aspects of musics of the Middle East and Africa, i.e. frame-drumming, amadinda (log xylophone from Uganda), gyil (xylophone of the Dagara people), and West African drumming styles.
At Fredonia, as a part of our multicultural awareness, and in an attempt to include world music performance in our program, we offer African xylophone and drumming styles, and instruction in Mexican Marimba Ensemble through participation in percussion ensemble and class instruction.
In addition to teaching, Kay is the timpanist with the Western New York Chamber Orchestra and the percussionist and hammered dulcimer player for Fioretto, an ensemble based in Finland that is dedicated to the performance of medieval and renaissance music. Kay has several recordings to her credit, the most recent being the music of Eric Richards for New World and a forthcoming release with Fioretto.