Music Dept. News

Spotlight on Alumni: Jerry A. Bracey

October 4th, 2017 by jsumusic

Professor Jerry A. Bracey (’82 MME)  continues to impress audiences with his interpretation of the standard orchestra and band repertoire, his exceptional affinity for 20th Century music and his command of a broad jazz repertoire.  Maestro Bracey’s extensive commitment to the organizations with which he has been affiliated has garnered him a reputation as an orchestra and band builder.  Bracey joined the faculty at Hampton University as Assistant Professor of Music and Assistant Director of Bands in the fall of 1996.  In 1998, he was appointed Director of the Jazz Ensemble and Conductor of the University Orchestra. Additionally, he is the founder of Hampton University Chamber Orchestra student- based ensemble.  Since his appointment marked the first time that one artist held both musical posts at Hampton University. He serves as Coordinator of the Hampton University Music Enrichment Program for Youth (HUM), Instrumental Area Coordinator and Coordinator for the Annual Week of Jazz, Acknowledged for Excellence as a Distinguished Educator in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and Sutton Who’s Who in Academia.  He is in demand as guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator.

Prior to his arrival at Hampton University, he served as Director of Bands in Tensas Parish Public Schools, Jackson Public School District and Dougherty County School System.  Under his guidance and experience, the Jazz Ensemble, Symphonic, Concert and Marching Bands received numerous awards, and superior ratings on the local, state and national level.  He also served as the Conductor of the Dougherty Country Youth Symphony Orchestra of Albany, GA.

An important aspect of Bracey’s career has been his close connection to student musicians.  He holds degrees from Jackson State University, Northeast Louisiana University, and further studies at the Nice Academic Internationale D’ete in Nice, France.  While abroad in Europe, he studied conducting with Pierre Dervaux, Ferdinand Quaptocchi; and viola with Christos Michalakakos.  During his studies at Northeast Louisiana University, he studied with Joseph Cleveland, a student of William Primrose.

Bracey is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi honorary Band Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, Music Education National Conference (MENC), American String Teachers Association with National School Orchestra Association (ASTA) and (NSOA), International Conductor Guild, National Band Association and the College Orchestra Director Association.

He was the first African American to become a member of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra. Bracey’s performance credits include appointments with the Mississippi Symphony, Monroe Symphony Orchestra, Greenville Symphony, South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Ruston Civic Orchestra and the Opera/South Orchestra.

Conducting highlights include productions of Handel’s Messiah and Antonio Vivaldi Magnificent in G minor, Bracey also severed as Musical Director for Hampton University Little Theatre productions of The Broadway show’s GREASE, Smokey Joe’s Café and DREAMGIRLS.

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Spotlight on Alumni: Dr. Burgess Gardner

October 4th, 2017 by jsumusic

Trumpet virtuoso Burgess Gardner, also a composer and former educator, earned a bachelor’s degree in music education from Jackson State University, a master’s degree in educational administration and his Ph.D. in music at Michigan State University. He has played in bands of Count Basie, Horace Silver, and Louis Belleson. He has also played behind artists such as Nancy Wilson, Sammie Davis Jr., Etta James, Lou Rawls, and Sarah Vaughn. He currently directs and plays in an 18-piece “Burgess Gardner Orchestra” throughout Chicago.

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Spotlight on Alumni: Dr. Frank A. Watkins

September 11th, 2017 by jsumusic

Dr. Frank A. Watkins (’01 BM), a native of Omaha Nebraska, taught secondary choral music in Texas for six years. He holds degrees in piano performance from Jackson State University (BM), the University of Arkansas (MM), and choral conducting from Northwestern University (MM) and Michigan State University (DMA). Watkins is in demand as guest conductor and clinician. Recent engagements include the 2013 Mid-Michigan Honor Choir, University of Nebraska Omaha Collegiate Choir Concert Series (2014), Dunn St. Croix Honor Choir (2015), Lakeland All-Conference Honor Choir (2015), University of Nebraska Omaha Middle School Honor Choir (2016), and the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra (2016). Future engagements include the 2016 Great Northern Conference All- Conference Choir and the 2017 Big Nine Festival Honor Choir in Red Wing, MN. He has presented workshops on choral methods for the International Music and Christian Arts Conference, Michigan State University, and the Ohio State University. In 2015 he presented at both the Wisconsin Music Educators State Convention and the National Collegiate Choral Organization National Conference. Watkins joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2014. In 2016, he was appointed Conductor and Music Director of the Eau Claire Chamber Orchestra. A dynamic young conductor, Watkins’ love and passion are teaching. He believes that in order to educate, you must first inspire! It is his goal to make an impact…not just an impression on the lives of those that follow his baton.

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Spotlight on Faculty and Students

June 29th, 2017 by jsumusic

Members of the JSU Vocal Area conducted the 2017 Summer Vocal/Choral Academy in June. "This was the 2nd year of the SVCA and it was a tremendous success!" said Dr. Loretta Galbreath, Assistant Professor and director for the week-long academy.  "The academy offered theory, sight-singing, voice/performance class, private lessons, choral ensemble, choreography and yoga.  The JSU vocal faculty, alum volunteers, current vocal majors and parents contributed to the success of the academy."
Students were engaged with innovative and fun leaning experiences.  The evaluations from parents and students were outstanding!  Dr. Phyllis Lewis-Hale, Director of Opera/Theatre Workshop and Mr. Rodney Vaughn, Instructor also assisted with the academy.


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Spotlight on Alumni: Dr. Patricia L. Reeves

June 5th, 2017 by jsumusic

Dr. Patricia L. Reeves is Associate Professor and Coordinator of Music Education at Tennessee State University. A member of the TSU faculty since 2006, she teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in music education including Introduction to Music Education, Elementary and Secondary General Music Methods, Foundations and Philosophy of Music Education, and Praxis Review Seminar. Previous to her appointment at TSU, Dr. Reeves served as director of music education at Bethune-Cookman University (Daytona Beach, FL) and Florida International University (Miami, FL). She received the B.M. in Piano Performance from Jackson State University, M.S. in Music Education from Florida International University, and Ph.D. in Music Education (secondary area in Ethnomusicology) from Florida State University, where she was a recipient of the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship. She is certified in Orff-Schulwerk, Levels I and II, and has previously taught elementary and choral music in the Miami-Dade Public Schools and in Broward County Schools (Ft. Lauderdale, FL). Her academic interests include elementary music pedagogy, multicultural and world music studies, historical research in music education, and piano pedagogy.

Dr. Reeves is actively engaged in professional conferences, workshops, clinics and seminars. In 2006, she presented "A Musicological Examination of The New Century Hymnal": Implications for Multiculturalism in Music and Education" at the CMS Southern Regional Conference, Conservatorio de Musica de Puerto Rico (San Juan, Puerto Rico), and in 2005, "Abraham A. Schwadron (1925-1987): A Scholar's Life in Music Education," at the CMS Southern Regional Conference, University of Florida (Gainesville, FL). She has served as board member of the Tennessee Alliance for Arts Administration, grants panelist/adjudicator for the Florida Alliance for Arts Education and the Tennessee Arts Commission, and consultant for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nashville. Dr. Reeves' professional affiliations include NAfME, CMS, TnMEA (Tennessee Music Educators Association), and TACTE (Tennessee Association of Colleges for Teacher Education). She is currently advisor of Collegiate NAfME at Tennessee State University.

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Spotlight on Alumni: Patrick Jackson

May 28th, 2017 by jsumusic

The instructional leadership of Patrick Jackson ('81 BME) and commitment to music education are legendary in the Kirkwood (MO) School District.  He has been honored in Who’s Who Among America’s High School Teachers by former students.  Jackson was the recent recipient of the Missouri American String Teachers Association’s “Secondary String Educator of the Year” award.  In addition, the Kirkwood School District honored him as the 2003-04 Teacher of the Year.  Jackson was also the 2003 Emerson “Excellence in Teaching” award winner and was recognized the following year by The St. Louis American as one of its “Excellence in Education” honorees.  He is the recipient of the McComb High School Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

His orchestras have won local, state and national acclaim for the past 29 years.  After being invited to perform at the Missouri Music Educator's Association State Conference six times, his Symphonic Orchestra made a second appearance at Carnegie Hall, March 5, 2017.  A distinguished double bass pedagogue, Jackson has presented at the MMEA State Conference and the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in 2016.

In March 2010, the KHS Symphonic Orchestra performed at famed Carnegie Hall, selected as one of three high school orchestras in the nation to do so.  In June 2011, Mr. Jackson received the Yale Distinguished Music Educator Award from the Yale School of Music.  Prior to his joining the Kirkwood School District, Jackson taught in the Normandy School District and St. Louis Public Schools.

Mr. Jackson’s former students have won first prize in prestigious strings competitions including the Avery Fisher Prize, the Sphinx Competition, and the Young Concert Artist Guild.

Jackson’s students have also attended top music schools nationwide, including The Juilliard School, Eastman School of Music, Yale School of Music, New England Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.

A native of McComb, MS, Jackson received his B.M.E. at Jackson State University and his M.M. in Double Bass performance from the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. While at Jackson State University, he was a member of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Mississippi Opera Orchestra and received full scholarships to study music at Interlochen National Summer Music Camp and the Aspen Music Festival. Later in his career, he studied orchestral conducting at the South Carolina Institute of Conducting and American Institute Of Conducting.  He studied conducting with Alfred Duckett and Donald Portnoy.  The Kirkwood High School Orchestra Rehearsal Hall has been named in his honor and an annual scholarship has been established in his name for the outstanding orchestra student at Kirkwood High School.  His daughter Patrice Jackson, a cellist, is a graduate of Yale University School of Music and the Juilliard School.  She is also Associate Cello Professor at Boston Conservatory at Berklee in Boston, MA.

Jackson served on the MSHSSA advisory committee for music.  He is a member of the American String Teachers Association, M.M.E.A., N.A.f.M.E., and is past vice president of the High School Orchestra for the St. Louis All-Suburban Music Educators Association.  He is the Director of Webster University's Young People’s Concert Orchestra.

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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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