Our Singers and Personnel
Shay Brown, owner – wedding and event designer, started Shay Brown Events 14 years ago because I love meeting new people, learning who they are, and bringing their dreams to creation. Being from the south the old adage is true – I never meet a stranger. I have always had a deep appreciation for others, whether helping someone in need, being present in the moment and listening, or just meeting soon to be friends. People fascinate me. I love hearing old and new family stories and where people want to be in life. It helps me continually grow and gives me new ideas. Most of all, listening to our clients makes what I design a true reflection of each couple and family. I love design and floral! My main passion lies in the beauty of taking a blank canvas and transforming it into something magical. I have designed small intimate affairs, created elaborated events for 800 guest, styled magazine shoots, hotel openings, and everything in between. Each design is very personal to me. I love getting to know the client and what is important to them, and then I base the design from there, creating an experience that is remembered for a lifetime. I have surrounded the SBE brand with amazing team members that have the same life vision and instilled quality of service that I believe in. With that comes the passion that makes us unique and committed to each of our clients. We love planning, designing, gardening, and cooking, and of course all these details go into our weddings. So what a perfect fit! We truly love our jobs!
Musical Director, Dr. Leslie Downs, is active as both a solo and a collaborative pianist. As a soloist, he has played recitals in the New York City area as well as in Connecticut, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and North Carolina. As a collaborative artist, he has performed in lieder, chamber, and choral concerts across the United States and in Canada, playing a wide variety of repertoire. He recently served as the director and an instructor of piano for the North Haven Arts Academy in Norman, Oklahoma. He was also a staff accompanist for The Weitzenhoffer School of Musical Theatre at the University of Oklahoma. For 16 years he worked as a freelance pianist/teacher/vocal coach in New York City. While there he served as principal accompanist for the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus for six seasons. He has worked with several well-known performers, including Faith Esham, Sondra Radvanovsky, Kristin Chenoweth, and B.D. Wong. He has also taught piano students of all levels and has served as musical director for musical theatre productions.
American tenor, Grant Knox is enjoying a varied career in opera, musical theater, concert and recital. He has appeared with the Cincinnati Opera, Atlanta Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Chautauqua Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Ohio Light Opera, Asheville Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera Atlanta, Rochester Lyric Opera, GLOW Lyric Theatre, and with Maestro Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Opera Festival. Equally at home in concert repertoire, Knox has been engaged by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Philharmonic, Greenville Symphony Orchestra/Chorale, Cobb Symphony, Peninsula Music Festival, Bach Ensemble of Cincinnati, Rochester Oratorio Society/Philharmonic, Hendersonville Symphony and in recital at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As a proponent of contemporary music, Knox has worked with composers Libby Larsen, John Musto, Jake Heggie, Nico Muhly and William Bolcom. Knox sang the world premiere performances of Nico Muhly’s The Unknown Room, Three Songs for Tenor and Violin, with the Constella Festival of Music in Cincinnati. Recent engagements include the tenor solos in Handel’s Messiah with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with the Peninsula Music Festival, the tenor solos in Carmina Burana with the Greenville Symphony and Chorale and Elijah with the Rochester Oratorio Society and Rochester Philharmonic. Last spring, Knox collaborated with celebrated pianist Martin Katz for multiple performances of Janáček’s rarely heard song cycle The Diary of One Who Vanished. Dr. Knox serves as Artist/Teacher of Voice and Director of Opera at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.
Danielle Knox, soprano, has a varied career in opera, oratorio, and musical theater. She has sung leading roles with the Tri-Cities Opera, Ohio Light Opera, Atlanta Lyric Theater, Chamber Opera of Chicago, Light Opera Works, Rochester Lyric Opera, The Carnegie Center, The Know Theater, and The Castleton Festival under the baton of Maestro Lorin Maazel.
As a singing actress, she has been hailed as “emotionally vulnerable with a sumptuous voice,” (Chicago Tribune). Some of her favorite opera roles have been Musetta (La Boheme), Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), and the First Lady and Papapena (Die Zauberflöte). Her regional musical theater credits include Guenevere (Camelot), Maria (West Side Story), Marian Paroo (The Music Man), Amalia (She Loves Me), Laurie (Oklahoma!), and Sarah (Guys and Dolls). In 2010, Danielle performed the role of Elizabeth Bennet in the Chicago premiere of Pride and Prejudice, A Musical. Her performance was described as “bright and sparkling of both voice and personality, but with great depth of character,” (Chicago Magazine). This summer, Danielle will return to the Ohio Light Opera to perform the roles of Marian Paroo in The Music Man and Hope in Anything Goes. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music and Master’s Degree in Opera from Binghamton University. Currently, Danielle is the director of voice at the Fine Arts Center in Greenville, South Carolina.