JSU performs in 105 Voices of History National Choir

JSU performs in 105 Voices of History National Choir

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University Director of Choral Services Willenham Cortez Castilla, along with three students, Jerome Wilson, a senior music education major, LeBethani May, a sophomore piano performance major, and Mary Thompson, a sophomore education major, will travel to Washington, D.C., this week to perform a concert with the 105 Voices of History National Choir. This choir will perform at the historic Mellon Auditorium at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 21.

The 105 Voices of History National Choir features students who represent the nation’s best choral singers from the ranks of the respective 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  This years’ program will include a wide range of music such as classical, spiritual, jazz, Hebrew and African.  Musical composers represented will include Randall Thompson, Duke Ellington, Eric Whitacre and Jester Hairston.


The Sept. 21st performance will be the first of three concerts to be performed this year.  The second concert is scheduled to be held in February 2013 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., culminating with a finale concert at The Grand Ole Opry in the summer of 2013.  All three students are members of the nationally and internationally acclaimed Jackson State University Chorale and were selected through stringent regional and national auditions for these performances.

Castilla will serve as a national conductor for the three performances.  For the past three years, Castilla has served as regional director for the Southeastern Region, which included Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama.  In this role, Castilla, with the assistance of two other directors, prepared the students from colleges and universities within the region for annual performances at the Kennedy Center.

“The excitement and anticipation of the upcoming performances have captured not only student interest and support, but have spread across the nation among alumni and friends who are contacting and spreading the good news about Jackson State University and this great news in Choral Music,” Castilla said.

– 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.


5 thoughts on “JSU performs in 105 Voices of History National Choir

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  3. Dear Friends:   It is with great honor that I write this letter of congratulations. Please be advised that this is a signal honor for Jackson State University’s music unit.  I’m happy to congratulate Mr. Willenham Castilla and the three students involved for receiving such a prestigious national honor.  Please give my regards to all the participants and wish them well as we continue to foster the level of excellence in music education.   Respectfully,   Jimmie James, Jr., Ph.D. Chair, Department of Music (Retired) Jackson State University

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