Father & son “band” at Jones College

ELLISVILLE – The bond between a father and son is special. However, Jones College’s Director of Bands, Dr. Ben Burge not only gets to bond with his son Max who is a freshman at Jones, but he also gets to “band” with him.  When the younger Burge contemplated playing in the band in middle school, his proud father, who was the High School Director of Bands at Northwest Rankin School District was hopeful.

“He actually tested high on all of the instruments. He could have chosen any one of them. I thought it was cool for him to pick the saxophone,” said Dr. Burge, who also plays the saxophone.

While Max said he will not follow in his dad’s footsteps in the role of drum major for Mississippi State University or Pearl River Community College, his younger sister Emma has come the closest as the drum major at Oak Grove High School this season. A career around music is also not likely in Max’s future because he is pursuing a career in graphic design with aspirations of becoming a storyboard artist. Regardless of his career decision, the father and son duo are uniquely bonding for the first time in the Jones College band.

“I have never been my son’s band director, even though I may have been teaching at the same school.  I have conducted maybe a piece his band was performing, but I’ve never been his teacher.  This is really unique and I love it!” said Dr. Burge.

After playing throughout his high school career at Oak Grove High School, Max realized high school and college marching bands are very different; but not because his dad is his director.

“I prefer concert season over marching season because it’s hot and agonizing. However, at Jones, it’s more relaxed here. I like playing for the audience and not judges. If high school band was like this I may have stuck it out because preparing for high school band competitions was very stressful!” said Max. “My dad pushes us but it’s more enjoyable at Jones.”

Dr. Burge noted his son doesn’t get special treatment in his band. In fact, he said he expects more out of his son.

“He takes criticism well and makes adjustments as needed. He is a very good student and we’re very proud of who he is. He knows I expect a lot out of him.”

Some of Max’s bandmates said he’s just part of the family. They don’t look at him as the director’s son.

“We treat him like everyone else.  In fact, the older students watch out for him. He’s cool,” said super-sophomore, Cheyenne Fraun of Moselle.

On the first day of band camp, the father-son duo shared an awkward moment. They did not discuss how to address each other in this new situation they were sharing for the first time. While Max said he wanted to be respectful of his father, his new name for his dad was perfect and set the tone for the year.

“I called him ‘Doctor-father.’  I didn’t know what else to call him!” said Max, while his dad snickered at his explanation. “My dad will tell you I’m the ‘grammar Nazi’ too.  I text him his mistakes so he doesn’t embarrass himself, especially in front of the band,” added Max.

Max admitted there were some things he didn’t really like about growing up as a band director’s son, like the long rehearsals. However, both said they are glad they are able to share this priceless experience bonding in the band.

“It is a very special thing for me to have Max in my band at Jones! I get to see him every day!” said Dr. Burge. “We may not speak to each other but I’m able to tell my wife he looks good marching around with his bandmates. Band has taken so much time away from my family over the years. Having him here with me during his college years is very special!”

While music may always be a part of Max’s life in his future endeavors, his true passion is art. Dr. Burge explained, when Max was very young, he would kneel at his bed and draw. He was always drawing, even when cooking. Max is talented at making “pancake art.” Without hesitation, Max said he is not interested in being a traditional artist. His plans include creating a very specific type of art.

“Giving life to the art or creation through animation is really what I love. As a storyboard artist, I visualize the story,” said Max. “The movie, ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ made me see things differently. I became more interested in seeing how they created the movie in the bonus features and the behind the scenes clips than the actual movie. I especially have huge respect for the stop-action movie directors,” said Max.

Growing up, the Burge family followed dad to the school on weekends for concerts or games. They often traveled on the road for football and basketball games too. Even though mom is a speech pathologist for the Lamar County School District, Cindy Burge has supported her husband coaching color guard students and dance teams, or just being a fan. Traveling most likely will continue for the ladies in the Burge household as the father-son duo cherish doing “band” together at Jones College for the next two years.




Competition ramps up in the last weeks of Jones College’s Bobcat Math League

ELLISVILLE – The competition ramped up this week after most high schools had two weeks off for Fall Break and school activities. The Science Division’s ranking for the top three teams changed this week for the fourth time this season, leaving West Jones wondering if they can regain the division’s top spot. The Mustangs succumbed to the Northeast Jones Tigers in a close match, 39-36, with the Tigers claiming the victory in the “Jungle.”  Instead of moving up to the second or top spot, Northeast Jones had to settle for third place because of the tie with Presbyterian Christian High School earlier in the season.

After a four-week reign in first place the Mustangs’ loss to the Tigers, moves the Bobcats of PCS to first place as the new Science Division leaders. With aspirations of moving up the ranks too, the Laurel Tornadoes tried to sweep the Presbyterian Christian Bobcats off the map in its match this week. However, the Bobcats won the heated match, 46-45 leaving Laurel to settle for fourth place. Raleigh had the week off to contemplate a strategy to climb the rankings.

Sacred Heart couldn’t fend off the fiery darts from the Oak Grove Warriors in its cross-town rivalry. The Warriors beat the Crusaders in a tight match, 57-55. Each team keeps its division ranking with Sacred Heart as Technology Division leaders and Oak Grove remains in second place in the Engineering Division. The Crusaders also have the most cumulative points with 197 but Technology Division leaders, the Wayne County War Eagles are closing in with 194 points.  Oak Grove has 179 points.

In the cross-county rivalry between Wayne Academy and Wayne County, the War Eagles had no trouble keeping the Jaguars at bay with the 58-27 win. Both Quitman and Heidelberg capture their first victories this week. The Panthers of Quitman and Perry Central Bulldogs keep their division rankings despite the Panthers claiming the top prize with the 38-8 victory. The Heidelberg Oilers struck a win as they managed to stop the Columbia Academy Cougars from seizing their prize as the Oilers defeated the Cougars, 28-19.

Crusader, Benjamin Dunn is the Most Outstanding Player this week with a 73.33 percent accuracy average in the individual competition.  Fellow Crusader, Remy Porrier and Laurel’s Maxwell Dobbs earn second place credits with a 63.33 percent average. Four students tied for fourth place honors with a 60 percent average.

In the last week of team competition, West Jones will be on the hunt for the lead in an effort to knock off the Presbyterian Christian Bobcats who managed to earn the first place ranking in the Science Division this week. Look for the two teams to tangle for the last opportunity to secure a spot in the playoffs. In the Technology Division, the outcome between the top two teams, Sacred Heart and Columbia Academy will also determine who heads to the playoffs in that division. Engineering Division leaders, Wayne County will try to keep their playoff bid in sight as they face Oak Grove in a battle for the division leader’s spot. Other matches next week include Laurel hosting Raleigh, Wayne Academy hosting Perry Central, and Quitman hosting Heidelberg. Northeast Jones has the week off waiting to see if they have an opportunity to make the playoffs, November 7, in the Jones College Fine Arts Auditorium.

Results will be posted on the JC Bobcat Math League web page under “Division Standings/Schedules at: http://www.jcjc.edu/bobcatmathleague/ and scores in real time will be posted on the Bobcat Math League Facebook page: Bobcat Math League – Facebook. Weekly results can also be found in local media outlets.  For more information about the Bobcat Math League contact Dr. Jessica Bunch (JC Bobcat Math League Commissioner) at 601-477-5422 or email at jessica.bunch@jcjc.edu.

Madrigals and More October concert

A genuine October treat is being offered by our talented JC Voices many others on Tuesday evening, 10/30 at 7 p.m.  The concert will be held at downtown Laurel’s First-Trinity Presbyterian Church.  Renaissance Music, including voice ensembles and solos, will be performed by JC faculty and students as part of the annual “Madrigals and More” concert.  Audience members will experience the sounds of wind and brass ensembles and the chance to see and hear rarely heard instruments of the period  The concert is free of charge.

“A Louisiana Holiday Lunch & Learn” features president and publisher of Louisiana Kitchen & Culture magazine

ELLISVILLE – The Culinary Arts department at Jones College is welcoming the President and Publisher of the magazine, Louisiana Kitchen & Culture, Susan Ford to campus to share her new holiday recipes on Tuesday, October 30. The event, “A Louisiana Holiday Lunch & Learn” will feature the New Orleans resident’s recipes in the upcoming holiday edition of her magazine in the Culinary Arts Dining Room located in the Information Technology Building at Jones College. The 1986 Jones alumna and Laurel native will discuss how the recipes are developed as the meal, prepared by 21 students in the culinary arts program supervised by Chef Micah Gatlin, will be served to a limited number of guests.

The menu includes smoked duck and andouille sausage gumbo, a holiday salad, Steen’s cane syrup glazed pork chop with apple demi-glace, potato and parsnip puree, roasted asparagus, Boston cream pie, ginger crackle cookies and more.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for my students to network with Susan Ford before and after the Lunch & Learn,” said Chef Micah Gatlin.  “It’s all about introducing them to a variety of career options such as working for various magazines that employ chefs in test kitchens.  It also helps students learn more about the contributions from chefs in our region.”

The cost of this special Lunch & Learn, which begins at 11:45 a.m., is $30. To make reservations for, “A Louisiana Holiday Lunch & Learn,” call 601-477-4206 and for more information about the menu or event, call Chef Micah at 601-477-4209.

Susan Ford was born in Laurel and then moved to Pascagoula when her father took a job at Ingalls Shipyard in 1969. The East Central High School graduate came to Jones in 1984.  She graduated with an associate’s degree in business and transferred to USM on a full academic scholarship. While at USM, she changed her major to journalism with a public relations emphasis, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and a minor in business.

She started her publishing career in 1990 when she went to work for a commercial real estate magazine in Novato, California.  While there, she was on the “launch team” for numerous magazines, websites and email newsletters, in both the high-tech and lifestyle categories.

After Hurricane Katrina, she left the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to New Orleans to bring her publishing expertise to Louisiana in 2007, as a consultant with Louisiana Cookin’ magazine. Becoming immersed in the Louisiana seafood, travel, tourism, hospitality, and culinary industries inspired her to form the business, Our Kitchen & Culture, LLC. In 2011, Ford launched “Louisiana Recipes,” a free, weekly email newsletter with more than 37,000 subscribers, and companion website, louisiana.kitchenandculture.com before her own magazine debuted in April 2012.  The magazine is published six times a year and has paid subscribers in 50 states and several foreign countries.  It is available nationally through North America’s largest newsstand distributor.

She has served on the membership committee of the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association since 2008, and she served a year as the first Associate Board Member of that association. Ford served two years as the chairman of the Louisiana Travel Political Action Committee and currently remains a board member. Ford has close ties to Louisiana’s most influential chefs, restaurateurs, and tourism professionals.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for their talents, and the perfectionist attention to detail they devote to their craft. I’ve made some great friends, I’ve learned a lot, and I look forward to continuing to create a magazine that celebrates the unique culinary culture, heritage, and cuisine of Louisiana,” said Ford.


Jones College Students Choose Chambers and Woullard as Mr. and Miss JC

Jones Hall

Students at Jones College recently chose two people, BreAnna Chambers and Jared Woullard as the best representatives of the college, as Mr. and Miss JC.  This honor is bestowed upon a sophomore who is not only involved in college activities but who also exemplifies Jones and is considered a role model by their peers.

“Miss JC,” BreAnna Chambers is from the Buckatunna community of Wayne County and is majoring in speech pathology and audiology. At Jones, she is a member of the Student Government Association, Baptist Student Union and JC Diamond Girls. While a freshman at Jones, Chambers was a member of the yearbook staff and a Resident Assistant for women’s housing. Her plans following graduation from JC and USM include owning a private practice for children with speech disabilities in Wayne County.

Greene County’s Jared Woullard can add another accomplishment to his growing list as JC students selected him to be “Mr. JC.” The engineering major is a member of the academic honor society, Phi Theta Kappa and Sigma Kappa Delta English Honor Society. For the last two years, Woullard has been a member of the Concert Choir, Engineering Club, Bobcat Brigade, the student ambassador and recruiting organization, the Presidential Student Advisory Task Force and the Charles Pickering Honors Institute.  Woullard proudly served students as the Freshman Class president, was voted as one of the Freshman Class Favorites, and he is currently serving as the Student Government Association president. The Letter “J” Award recipient also finds time to play intramural volleyball, football, soccer, basketball, and softball. His future plans include becoming a chemical engineer after earning his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University.