Faculty Profile

Ramona Holmes

Ramona Holmes

Professor Emerita of Music Education

Email: ramonaho@spu.edu

Education: BS, Portland State University, 1974; MAT, University of Washington, 1978; MA, University of Washington, 1982; Doctor of Musical Arts, University of Washington, 1990. At SPU 1994-2019.

Dr. Ramona Holmes taught K–12 general music and strings for 20 years in Seattle and Shoreline school districts before coming to SPU in 1994. While teaching in local schools, she did graduate work in both ethnomusicology and music education at the University of Washington.  

Dr. Holmes’ work combines her research in music education and ethnomusicology. She prepared music education curriculum and materials from many field work experiences in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. She focused in depth on the variety of string music found around the world and techniques to perform these repertoires authentically in school music contexts. At Seattle Pacific, she also directed Gamelan. In 2019, she retired from SPU becoming emerita. 

Currently, Dr. Holmes is on the Fulbright Specialist list, hosting workshops and consulting in various countries.


The Four Pipe Piper: The World War II Newspaper of the USS John D. Ford (DD 228)

Resilient Voices: Estonian Choirs and Song Festivals in World War II Displaced Person Camps

Routledge, 2021

The aftermath of World War II sent thousands of Estonian refugees into Europe. The years of Estonian independence (1917-1940) had given them a taste of freedom and so relocation to displaced person (DP) camps in post-war Germany was extremely painful. One way in which Estonians dealt with the chaos and trauma of WWII and its aftermath was through choral singing. Just as song festivals helped establish national identity in 1869, song festivals promoted cultural cohesiveness for Estonians in WWII displaced person camps. A key turning point in hope for the Estonian DPs was the 1947 Augsburg Song Festival, which is the center point of this book. As Estonian DPs dispersed to Australia, Canada, Europe, and the United States these choirs and song festivals gave Estonians the resilience to retain their identity and to thrive in their new homes. This history of Estonian WWII DP camp choirs and song festivals is gathered from the stories of many courageous individuals and filled with the tenacious spirit of the Estonian singing culture. This work contributes to an understanding of immigration, identity, and resilience and is particularly important within the field of music regarding music and healing, music and identity, historical musicology, ethnomusicology, and music and politics.

World on a String: Conductor's Score

Alfred Publications, 2001

A sampling of musical traditions from around the world arranged for school string orchestra. The 30 arrangements include teacher’s materials with contextual information, stylistic elements, suggestions for performance, and selected resources. An accompanying CD includes the indigenous version and a school version of each selection.

Selected Publications

  • Holmes, R. Lundquist, B. & Campbell, P. (2010) "Round-Table: Ethnomusicology and Music Education Around the World." Readings in Ethnomusicology: A Collection of Papers Presented at Ethnomusicology Conference.  University of Dar es Salaam: Department of Fine and Performing Arts, Tanzania, 35–45.
  • Holmes, R. Estonia. Williams, S. (Ed.) (2006) The Ethnomusicologists’ Cookbook. Routledge.
  • Holmes, R. (2003). "It’s a Girl Bonding Thing: Softball Set Cheers in America." The World of Music, 45 (1), 117–130.

 Please view Dr. Holmes' CV (PDF) for additional publications.

Ramona Holmes

Why I Taught at SPU

Ramona Holmes, Professor Emerita of Music Education

"It was a joy to teach music education to students who are called to serve. The SPU students are passionate about music and want to share their gifts with others. It was never difficult to place our students as interns and to help them find jobs, because the students consider music education a calling, not just a job."