The American choral onductor, and organist, Catherine M. Palmer,was born in the USA of English parents; her father was a priest of the Church of England. and her great-grandfather was General William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army. Her formal musical education took place at the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, where she graduated as a pianist (LIAM diploma) and musical educator (GRSM degree.).
In 1953, after ﬁve and a half years teaching, Catherine Palmer came to Canada where she became organist at Holy Trinity Anglican church where she founded the Holy Trilnlty Singers and directed music for the celebrated Christmas & Easter Stories. At the same time she became the ﬁrst woman in Canada to obtain the Fellow of the Royal College of Organists diploma, winning the Turpin prize, having studied for the paperwork with the Canadian composer Healey Willan, and given herself to serious organ study on her own.
For a number of years Catherine Palmer was a regular performer, both on the CBC series of organ recitals and elsewhere. Hier appointment to the Faculty ofthe Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where she specialized in the teaching of advanced theory, led to an eight year period as Chairman of the Examination Committee for the Royal Canadian College of Organists.
Her great interest in choral singing led to the founding of the Palmer Singers, which performed interesting andadvanced repertoire in and around Toronto for about 8 years. But all this led to her appointment as Director of Music at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church, Toronto, in 1970 and held this post until 1996. During those 26 years with the choir, she has maintained the Church's strong musical and litugital tradition, and has led the Yorkminister Park Baptist Church Choir in the learning and performance of a wide range of music, including many of the great masterpieces. The annual Carols by Candlelight service enjoys a wide reputation for musical excellence.