Music Dept. News

Spotlight on Alumni: Rodney Jordan

May 24th, 2017 by jsumusic

Associate Professor of Jazz Studies, Rodney Jordan ('93 BME), joined the Florida State University College of Music faculty in 2001. He received a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Jackson State University in Jackson, MS where he studied with Dr. London Branch, Alvin Fielder, and Andy Hardwick. Mr. Jordan was the Assistant Principal bassist with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Principal Bassist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra (Albany, GA) and served as string instructor in the Dougherty and DeKalb County School Systems in Georgia. He has also served as the bass instructor at Darton College in Albany, GA and Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.

Mr. Jordan continues to maintain an active performance schedule here in the United States and abroad and has performed and recorded with some of America’s finest jazz musicians. Recent performances include: Wigmore Hall with the Marcus Roberts trio in London, England; The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with Rene Marie in Washington DC and The Monterey Jazz Festival with the Scotty Barnhart Band in Monterey, California.

Recent recordings include: Pivot with Melvin Jones (Turnaround Records, 2011); Celebrating Christmas (2011) and Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents Higher Ground: Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert (2005) with the Marcus Roberts Trio; Black Lace Freudian SlipVoice of My Beautiful Country (Motema Records, 2011), and Experiment in Truth(Independent Release, 2007) with Rene Marie; Say It Plain with Scotty Barnhart (Unity Music, 2009); Keep it Simplewith Curtis Fuller (High Note Records, 2005); When Cooler Heads Prevail with Bill Anschell (Summit Records, 2002) and Ethnomusicology Volume 1 with Russell Gunn (Atlantic Records, 1999), which received a Grammy nomination for best contemporary jazz recording in 2000.

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Spotlight on Alumni: Dr. Jammieca Mott

May 22nd, 2017 by jsumusic

Dr. Jammieca Mott ('97 BME) has performed the roles of the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, Adele in Die Fledermaus, Rosina in Ghosts of Versailles, Alceste in Alceste and Sandman in Hansel and Gretel. Other roles performed include Fire in L’enfant et les sortileges and Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring, the Lady with the Hand Mirror from Postcard from Morocco and Gilda from Rigoletto. In addition, she performed in the Casalmaggiore International Festival in Italy and the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado. On the Concert Stage, Dr. Mott has been a soloist for The Turtle Creek Chorale and The Fort Worth Symphony Concert, The Richardson Symphony Sounds of the Seasons Concert, The Richardson Symphony Christmas Classics Concert, the Juneteenth Film Festival Gala Tribute to Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Musicuntold’s 150th Emancipation Proclamation Concert and concerts throughout Germany. More recently, Dr. Mott has performed the role of Adina from L’Elisir D’Amore with The Living Opera and Artist Soprano in Dallas Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess. Dr. Mott has been the recipient of many awards including 1st Place Winner in the Leontyne Price Vocal Competition, Finalist in the National Opera Association Competition, Finalist in the Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition and 1st Place Winner in the Rose Palmai-Tensor Vocal Competition. She has held teaching positions at Austin College, North Lake College, Tarleton State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University and currently serves as a Voice Instructor at Lamar University, Beaumont, TX. In addition, Dr. Mott has a thriving studio in Dallas, TX, where she is sought after as a pedagogue, coach, clinician and adjudicator.

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Spotlight on Alumni: Dr. John L. Cornelius

May 17th, 2017 by jsumusic

Dr. John L. Cornelius ('88 BM) is an Associate Professor of Music at Prairie View A&M University.  A member of ASCAP, Cornelius’ works are garnering increasingly frequent performance throughout the United States.  His output includes a number of chamber works, orchestral works, and song cycles.  Having been the music director/arranger/composer for a number of theaters including the Great Caruso, the Ensemble Theater, Adventure Theater in Glen Echo Park, Main Street Theatre and Theater Under the Stars’ Humphries School, he has also written, along with his collaborator, Michael J. Bobbitt, several works for the lyric theater including, Mirandy and Brother Wind, Say It Ain’t So!, The Yellow Rose of Texas and his latest, an adaptation of the Negro Baseball League classic, Bingo Long and his Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings.  He was featured at a number of Prelude Festivals at the Kennedy Center and has received a commission from the Smithsonian Institute, Going the Distance, a children’s musical about the lives and careers of Wilma Rudolph and Jesse Owens.  Of his chamber works, Charles Ward in the Houston Chronicle wrote, “The highlight…was a set of three spirituals arranged for tenor and string orchestra by composer John Cornelius. In O Fix Me, the juxtaposition of an elegant, long melody floating over a sharp, jazzy string riff was electric.” His most recent works include Chansons Creoles, a song cycle whose text is by gens de colour of 19th-century Louisiana and Sonata of Attitudes for 2 Horns and Piano.  Dr. Cornelius is a native of Jackson, MS and received his DMA in Composition from Rice University.

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Spotlight on Alumni: Tiffany S. Williams

May 4th, 2017 by jsumusic

Tiffany S. Williams (’13 BM) is a native of Jackson,  MS.  Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Music degree in voice performance from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, studying with Marietta Simpson.  She received her bachelor’s degree in piano and voice performance from Jackson State University, where she studied with Dr. Phyllis Lewis-Hale and Dr. Karen Laubengayer.  

Tiffany made her debut with the Indiana University Opera Theatre in Fall 2015 as Sister Rose in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking.  She sang the role Joanna in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, for Heidi Grant-Murphy’s opera workshop.  She was also featured as the soprano soloist in Ralph Vaughan Williams’, Serenade to Music with the IU summer chorus. Other performances include, the role Nella in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with the Mississippi Opera Company and Barbarina and Susanna (cover) in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with Blooming Voce Workshop. 

Tiffany has received several awards at competitions such as the 105 Voices Competition at the Washington National Opera, The Classical Singer Magazine competition, NATS, and MMTA. Her international accomplishments include touring in Germany as a soloist with Indiana University’s African American Chorale Ensemble and Spain with soprano, Bridget Bazille. 

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Spotlight on Alumni: Gedeane Graham

May 4th, 2017 by jsumusic

Gedeane Graham ('13 BM) is a native of Bay Springs, MS.  She recently received her Masters at Michigan State University as a Clare S. Mackey scholar.  Currently, she is completing a Performance Diploma at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Jane Dutton.  

Her accomplishments include; studying abroad in Todi, Italy, Beijing, China, and alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah with Michigan Steinar Chorale.  Ms. Graham is a past festival artist at Utah Festival of Opera and Musical Theatre in Logan, Utah.  She covered and performed roles of Strawberry Woman, Maria, Annie from Porgy and Bess, featured Midinettes from Tabarro, Mistress of Novices and Lay Sister II from Suor Angelica.  

This spring, Gedeane sang the lead role of Auntie in the Indiana University Opera Theatre’s production of Britten’s Peter Grimes.  After the success of her first major role, later this spring she will sing the role of La Principessa in Suor Angelica at Indiana University. Graham is excited to move to New York this summer to cover the roles of Zita in Gianni Schicchi and La Principessa in Suor Angelica at the Martina Arroyo Prelude to Performance Summer Program.

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Spotlight on Alumni: Dr. Kelvin Jones

April 27th, 2017 by webmaster

Dr. Kelvin Jones (’07 BME) is the Assistant Director of Bands at Louisiana State University. His responsibilities include assisting with the “Golden Band from Tigerland,” teaching undergraduate conducting, marching band techniques, conducting the Symphonic Band, and directing the Bengal Brass.

Jones is a 2011 recipient of the Louisiana Music Educators Association’s Young Music Educator of the Year, the 2013 recipient of the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra’s Teacher of Distinction, and the 2014 LSU A.P. Tureaud award recipient for significant contributions to the university.

He is the former band director at West Feliciana High School in St. Francisville, Louisiana. At WFHS, he led an active, comprehensive music program that produced numerous award-winning performances at state and national events, including the 2013 United States National Presidential Inauguration Music Festival in Washington DC.

Jones has presented at state music education conferences across the United States, published in the Instrumentalist magazine (Jan. 2014 and Dec. 2015), an active clinician, and has travelled internationally working with music programs in South America (Chile) and with the LSU marching band in Dublin, Ireland.

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The following freshmen and sophomores participated in the Mississippi Music Teachers Association (MMTA) Collegiate Competitions that were held in the Spring of 2017.  Keitra Wilson – 2nd Place, Ginaia Black – First Place and Laura Pitts – Honorable Mention. Dr. Jeff Kensmoe was an adjudicator from Birmingham-Southern.  These students are from the studio of Dr. Phyllis Lewis-Hale at Jackson State University.

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