Jackson State piano majors take top honors in national competition


(JACKSON, Miss.) – Seven Jackson State University piano majors participated in the 2012 James A. Hefner National HBCU Piano Competition held at Tennessee State University.

The prestigious competition drew talented pianists from seven HBCUs throughout the country including Jackson State University, Tennessee State University, Central State University, Fisk University, Lincoln University of Missouri, Wiley College and Xavier University. 

Jacob Dodd, junior piano performance major, won the first place award of $500 in the overall competition and also received a second award of $350 for best performance of a work by an African-American composer. 

Tiffany Williams, senior piano performance major, and Eddie Crews, junior music education major, both received third place awards and $250 for their performances. 

Other Jackson State students who participated included Amber Jones, junior piano performance major; LaBethani May, freshman music education major; Urshula Patrick, senior music education major; and Carroll McLaughlin, junior piano performance major. 

Judges for the competition were renowned concert pianists Graciella Kowalczyk and Jeni Slotchiver.  Accompanying the students to the competition were piano professors Harlan Zackery Jr. and Dr. Karen Laubengayer. 

The Hefner Piano Competition was created by Dr. James A. Hefner, former Jackson State University and Tennessee State University president who had the vision of providing a national piano competition for students of HBCUs throughout the country.


– JSU –

About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of the state of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.


4 thoughts on “Jackson State piano majors take top honors in national competition

  1. Congratulations to the Department of Music piano students and faculty for a job well done. Your ongoing successes prove that we should continue to show how important it is to gather more support to KEEP THE CLASSIC ARTS ALIVE on our campus. We continue to have students and faculty who excel to great heights in these genres.

  2. Great job students! You continue to make us proud to be Tigers with the dignified manner in which you carry yourselves. Thanks for choosing JSU – I DID!!!!!

  3. Represent “Tiger Nation”, Jackson State University. Music departement, you have always been a cut above all!

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