Sharon Downey has served as Canon Musician at the Cathedral of St Paul in Erie, Pennsylvania for 31 years and will retire as of August 2022. She has overseen a vibrant music program, including the development of a strong chorister program. Her Cathedral Choir has served residencies at Canterbury Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and Coventry Cathedral and has sung at the American Cathedral in Paris, Chichester Cathedral, and Washington National Cathedral. The Cathedral Choristers have sung with the Erie Chamber Orchestra, the Erie Philharmonic, and the Lake Erie Ballet as well as for services and concerts at the Cathedral.
In 2021, she fostered a partnership with the Erie Philharmonic and the Cathedral for the development of a comprehensive Vocal Academy for young singers in the region. The Cathedral provides rehearsal space for the Youth Chorale, Junior Chorus, and a keyboard lab for the Vocal Academy. She directs the Youth Chorale, an ensemble of singers in grades 2-8, and will continue to do so in her retirement.
Sharon is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Music, studying organ with Dr. Robert Rayfield. She is a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians, currently serving on the Lay Professional Advocacy Committee. She also serves as Treasurer on the Board of the Harry T. Burleigh Legacy Alliance in Erie and is dedicated to performing the music of Burleigh, having recorded a CD of Burleigh spirituals, Hold On! Keep Your Hand on the Plow, in 2017.
She loves to entertain, cook and bake, especially French macarons and pastries. She looks forward to spending more time with her husband, the Dean Emeritus of the Cathedral, her two grandsons, family, and friends with her newly-found free time.