Photo by Kelly Atwood: Pictured, left to right, back row, are Jones College’s Newspaper staff writers and editors with their awards from the Mississippi Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest: Shannon Barbin of Hattiesburg, Mackenzie Gunter of Hattiesburg, Megan Matthews of Richton, Erin Fairchild of Seminary, Keenon Simmons of Laurel, Opinions editor Jennifer Shirley of Waynesboro, Photography editor Montanah Middleton of Mize, Copy editor Olivia Norwood of Laurel; front row, News editor Bryce Dupree of Raleigh, Sports editor Presley White of Quitman, photographer Bralynn Newell of Newton, and Features editor Mikayla Rainey of Ellisville. Not pictured is Kyle Manseill of Waynesboro.
ELLISVILLE – Jones College competed in the Mississippi Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest for colleges and brought home the General Excellence award in the community college category.
Jones students received 11 awards, with Southwest Community College earning three and Holmes Community College received two awards. For most of the categories, these three participating community colleges competed against universities, including the University of Mississippi, Mississippi College, Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi.
The Jones newspaper, the Radionian, won first, second and third place in the news category. Tori Ellis was the second and third place winner for her stories on COVID-19. The Radionian also swept the Features category. Mikayla Rainey received first place, Dariyel Johnson of Leakesville received second place, and Olivia Norwood received third place. In the Feature Photo category, Bralynn Newell won first place and Montanah Middleton won second place.
In the General Interest Column, which included both two and four-year colleges, Mikayla Rainey received third place for her column on mental health. In the Website category, which included both two and four-year colleges, the Jones website bobcatpress.com received third place. Under the Use of Social Media category, which included both two and four-year colleges, Bryce Dupree and Presley White received first place. In all three of these categories, the others who placed were all from universities.
The General Excellence award has both a university and two-year college winner. Mississippi State University joined Jones College in the win.
“I’m happy to see my students are able to successfully compete on the university level,” said newspaper advisor Kelly Atwood. “Newspaper staffs are getting smaller at colleges nationwide, but my students are always in demand. With more people accepting social media, partisan websites and newstainment TV as official news sources, it’s getting harder to find objective journalism, but it is so important for our nation. Today’s guest speakers were perfect examples of why society still needs professional journalists. Regardless of the medium, professional, objective, responsible journalists will always be needed to preserve democracy and place the public good above everything else.”
Before the contest, the 24th annual O.C. McDavid Journalism Summit was held with speakers Geoff Pender of Mississippi Today, Emily Wagster Pettus from the Associated Press, cartoonist Ricky Nobile and keynote speaker Jerry Mitchell from the Mississippi Center for Investigative reporting.
Atwood is currently taking applications for the Fall 2022 staff. Interested students should email her at Kelly.email@example.com.
ELLISVILLE – Live, theatrical performances of the popular, Disney movie, “High School Musical,” presented by Jones College’s theater department, are expected to attract large crowds as Covid-19 regulations are easing. Musical performances will be on Friday, April 8, and Saturday, April 9, at 7 p.m. and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, in the M.P. Bush Fine Arts Auditorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12 years of age. Jones College faculty, staff and students are admitted free of charge with their Jones College ID. Tickets will be available for purchase online. Check the Jones College Arts, Music, and Performance Facebook page for details. Additionally, information regarding current Covid-19 Health Department and CDC guidelines and mask requirements can be found on Jones College and the JC Arts, Music, and Performance department’s social media in April.
Following a smaller cast show, “Godspell” in 2021, and the cancelation of 2020’s musical, “Momma Mia,” because of the Covid-19 pandemic, JC musical theater director/producer, Dr. Jennifer Bruton said she wanted to bring as many students as possible on board for a popular show that would be enjoyed by both the performers and audience.
“This generation of students grew up with the ‘High School Musical’ franchise which includes three blockbuster movies and several spin off series,” said Bruton. “The original, ‘High School Musical’ movie, which the musical is based upon, was in theaters in 2006, and vaulted Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, and Ashley Tisdale to stardom.”
One of the lead characters, Troy is played by Conner Smith of Ellisville. He is portrayed as one of East High’s most popular students and a star basketball player. The new girl in town, Gabriella is played by Natalie DeWitt of Laurel. This shy, smart girl is also a great singer and upstages Sharpay, played by Anna Leigh Ragsdale of Mize. Everyone soon learns Troy has a hidden talent that also threatens Sharpay and her brother Ryan’s (played by Wesley Nelson Carmical of Ellisville) popularity and starring roles in the school’s musical. Troy isn’t exactly ready to shine on the stage but he likes performing with Gabriella as their relationship blossoms.
Musical hits from the original soundtrack include, “Breaking Free,” which landed as #4 on the pop charts. Other songs like, “Wildcat Cheer,” “We’re All in This Together” and “Get’cha Head in the Game,” will also likely have the audience singing along with the cast.
“I knew we were going to have a great turn out for auditions when we started playing, ‘We’re All in This Together’ and the students broke out into the dance moves from the movie!” said Bruton.
The Jones Colleges musical theater production of “High School Musical” features 30 students and a live band. Additionally, Musical Theater incorporates the talents of various Jones College programs, including the commercial and residential maintenance program, and the band and cheerleaders to help make this production come to life.
Familiar to the JC theater stage, is sophomore mechanical engineering major, Conner Smith. As Troy, played by Zac Efron in the Disney movie, the veteran singer and theatrical performer is familiar with playing the lead role in theatrical productions. In fact, Smith has a lot of experience being cast in the lead roles as Jack Kelly in “Newsies,” Kerchak in “Tarzan,” and Doodie in “Grease” during his high school acting career at South Jones. Most recently, last spring, Smith played the double role of John the Baptist and Judas in “Godspell” at Jones College. He said he is looking forward to being the star basketball player in this year’s musical.
“I’ve always loved the Disney movies, ‘High School Musical’ so I thought I would enjoy being in this production,” said Smith. “It’s fun playing a character that’s not that different from who I am.”
His female co-star, Gabriella played by Natalie DeWitt of Laurel, is a freshman, pursuing a degree in speech pathology. She is also no stranger to the theater stage.
“I love being able to bring Gabriella to life and play a character that I haven’t performed before. I feel that we can all see a bit of ourselves in Gabriella, however, as an extrovert, getting the opportunity to play a character like her has been different and exciting,” said DeWitt. “I have had a love for performing and have been involved in many plays throughout my life. It is truly so special to work with such a talented cast like this!”
Feeling insecure about the new girl at East High is the fashionable and feisty, Sharpay. She is portrayed by music education vocalist, AnnaLeigh Ragsdale of Mize.
“‘High School Musical’ has been one of my favorite movies since I was little with Sharpay being my favorite fashionable character. Being able to play her character is a dream come true!” said Ragsdale. “Sharpay’s bitter attitude has been a fun way to step out of my comfort zone during rehearsal.”
Coming to Gabriella’s rescue is her best friend in the movie, Taylor McKessie, played by Wayne County’s Mya McLain. The sophomore pre-law major has no problem playing the smart girl with real-life roles as the President of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and being selected for the JC Hall of Fame and Letter “J” academic honors.
“I love Taylor McKessie! She’s too smart for her own good sometimes and she has to show her edginess and strong spirit in subtle ways that don’t put her in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. She’s blunt, hard working and knows what she wants. I get compared to her a lot actually!” said McLain.
As everyone seems to demand Troy and Gabriella’s time, they find little time for each other which works perfectly for Sharpay and Ryan, who devise a plan to disrupt the new couple’s opportunity to shine on the stage.
To learn how the drama at East High unfolds, buy your tickets in advance, online by checking the Jones College Arts, Music and Performance website and social media pages. For more information about the Jones College Arts, Music and Performance department, call 601-477-4203.
ELLISVILLE- Jones College’s Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery in Ellisville is featuring the artwork from community college students statewide who have submitted artwork in the annual, Mississippi Community College Art Instructor Association’s (MCCAIA) Student Art Competition and Art Show. More than 170 pieces of artwork is featured from students competing in eight categories of artwork from painting and mixed media to drawing, 2D Design, 3D Design, Digital/Computer Art, Photography, Printmaking and Ceramics. All entries will be on display throughout March, with the winners presented with ribbons and cash awards at the shows’ awards presentation and reception, on April 1, at 9:30 a.m. in the Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery.
“The quality of the work in the show is an indicator of the excellent art instruction students can receive at the community college level,” said Jones College art instructor and the MCCAIA President, Melanie Eubanks.
The art gallery is filled with the submitted work from full time students from Co-Lin Community College, East Central Community College, East Mississippi Community College, Gulf Coast Community College, Hinds Community College, Holmes Community College, Itawamba Community College, Jones College, Meridian Community College, Northwest Community College, and Southwest Community College.
For more information about the JC art show or to arrange a visit to the gallery call, 601-477-8401. The Eula Bass Lewis Art Gallery is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., and Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. The gallery is closed during the holidays. If you want to know more about the Jones College Art Department, go to the JC Art Department’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/JCJCFineArts/ and on Instagram @artatjonescollege.
ELLISVILLE –Jones College’s visual arts instructor, Melanie Eubanks was recently honored as Jones College’s 2021-2022 Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher of the Year. Each community college and university select a faculty representative that the MHC honors with a cash award and certificate.
“In 1972, the MHC Humanities Teacher of the Year program was founded to not only reward our teachers but to also show the importance of the humanities in creating engaged and informed citizens. This is also an investment by the MHC in scholarships at this level. Additionally, the honored teachers create a pool of scholars for our speaker’s bureau,” said Assistant Director of the Mississippi Humanities Council, Carol Andersen.
During Eubank’s presentation, “Getting to Creativity Through Ceramics,” she shared the history of ceramics and pottery and the creative process. The long-time educator even demonstrated her pottery throwing skills for the audience who gathered to see her be honored for her work. Eubanks said she’s overwhelmed by the MHC award which names 30 Humanities instructors across the state that will be honored by the Mississippi Humanities Council during the MHC’s annual gala.
“It’s a little overwhelming but a great honor validating so many things that are important to me, primarily, the role of the arts in examining what it means to be human,” said Eubanks. “I teach art appreciation and hopefully I can instill some appreciation of art for those students who have not been exposed to it before. It is enjoyable spending time with students and working with them and opening their minds.”
During the Pascagoula native and current Hattiesburg resident’s presentation, she explained ceramics may have been discovered accidentally in China in 20,000 BC and in Japan in 10,000 BC.
“Pottery may have been discovered accidentally but it’s continually being developed and changing. People were basket weaving for practical purposes long before pottery, however, chards of baskets with clay contents have been found. It is believed that accidentally or on purpose, these baskets lined with clay to help hold the contents of the basket were dropped in the fire and the clay remained and hardened,” said Eubanks.
As for Eubanks, her love of ceramics began in Mize with her Smith County cousins while playing with the clay from a creek bed.
“As a child, I was OCD about getting my hands dirty. However, I was at my cousin’s house in Smith County and the boys were five or six years older than me and playing in the creek bed. They were making animals out of clay. It was counterintuitive for me to get my hands dirty, but I was hooked! I didn’t even realize my hands were dirty because it was fun creating clay animals!” Eubanks shared. “However, I was a freshman in college before making anything again with clay as an art major.”
While primarily a ceramics artist, Eubanks paints and has tried many different materials and crafts. Amongst her new favorites are weaving and hot glass/lamp work. Over the years, she has worked on several, “Empty Bowls” projects in Laurel and Hattiesburg, she is a board member for the Hattiesburg Civic Light Orchestra, worked in community theater, and Eubanks is a member of the Women’s Art Collective and the Mississippi Art Colony. Eubanks currently serves as the president of the Mississippi Community College Art Instructor Association, which hosts a student competition each year.
In 1992, Eubanks earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in painting and drawing, and a minor in art history from the University of Southern Mississippi. She earned her master’s degree a year later and began teaching at JCJC in the fall of 1994.
Additionally, Eubanks has been honored with the Lamplighter Award in 2016 and is a ceramics adjunct instructor at William Carey University. For USM’s theater department, she assisted with the set painting for the 2017 play, The Phantom of the Opera. Melanie is married to Mark Rigsby and they have one child, Hank Rigsby who is a sophomore in high school.
ELLISVILLE – Music will fill the air once again on the Jones College campus during April. The musical feast featuring musicians from the region and music from around the world, composed centuries ago to the present, will be heard on Fridays in April at the Foote Chapel. The annual Spring Recital Series begins on Friday, April 1, at 12:30 p.m. and will continue each Friday through April 29. All concerts are free and open to the public, following COVID-19 guidelines. For more information call the JC Fine Arts Department at 601-477-4203 or online at https://www.facebook.com/JCJCFineArts/
On Friday, April 1, at 12:30 p.m. in the Foote Chapel, the Series opens with, “The Hattiesburg Flute Consortium,” featuring flutists, Rachel Ciraldo, Noah Cline, Lindsey Keay, Danilo Mezzadri, and Susan Ruggiero. The Hattiesburg Flute Consortium is a diverse collaboration of local professional flute performers and teachers living in the Hattiesburg area. Their program includes an assortment of uniquely orchestrated flute duos and larger flute ensemble pieces that display the versatility and beauty of the flute and auxiliary instruments such as the bass flute, alto flute, and piccolo.
Dr. Danilo Mezzadri is a flute professor at USM. Dr. Susan Ruggiero teaches flute and voice at William Carey University. Dr. Lindsey Keay is an Assistant Director of Bands and flute teacher at Jones College. Rachel Ciraldo and Noah Cline are free-lance flutists.
The Friday, April 8, at 12:30 p.m. in the Foote Chapel, features a performance by “The Impromptu Piano Trio,” with Stephen Redfield on violin; Alexander Russakovsky on cello and Theresa Sanchez on piano. This trio will perform Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, a beautiful Romantic era virtuosic standard of the chamber music repertoire.
A unique program, “Keys, Bow, and a Slide – Music for Violin, Trombone, and Piano,” will feature Anne-Gaëlle Ravetto, on violin; Douglas Mark, on trombone and Jung-Won Shin on piano, on Friday, April 22 at 12:30 p.m. in Foote Chapel.
This program showcases original works for an unusual chamber ensemble grouping, with uniquely adapted timbres for a special blend. The performance will include three works, Double Concerto in F by Anthony O’Toole, Refrains for Three by Robert Patterson, and What’s Next by Rodrigo Camargo. The latter two selections were expressly written for this ensemble.
The final serving of the musical feast will be, “A Mezzo’s Three-Course Meal.” Rachel Gibson, a mezzo-soprano and pianist, Patience Pierini perform a quick exploration of the mezzo-soprano’s sonic palate through German art song, pants role arias, the ultimate vixen aria, and jazz, on Friday, April 29, at 12:30 p.m., in the Foote Chapel.
MORE ABOUT MUSICIANS:
Impromptu Trio Violinist Stephen Redfield has taught violin and chamber music at the University of Southern Mississippi School of Music since 1996. He spent 2011-12 on leave as Chair of the Music Department at the New Mexico School for the Arts, where he is also concertmaster of the Santa Fe Pro Musica. Each summer since 1992, Stephen has performed with the Victoria Bach Festival. He is a long-standing participant in the Oregon Bach Festival, often featured as concertmaster, and in numerous recordings, including the Grammy Award-winning disc “Credo.” Stephen plays with his faculty colleagues in the Impromptu Piano Quartet and Trio and performs regularly as a Baroque violinist with the Albuquerque Baroque Players and with the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra. He has also performed concerts with the Smithsonian Chamber Players and the Newberry Consort. His Sebastian Ensemble with harpsichordist Kathleen McIntosh has performed throughout the US, and in Spain, Cuba and Peru.
A graduate of the Yale University and the University of Santa Barbara, Alexander Russakovsky has appeared in numerous solo and chamber music performances in Russia, Israel, Europe and the United States. A founding member of the Jerusalem Academy String Quartet, he also performed in the Chamber Music Series of the Spoleto Festival in Italy, the Barge Music in New York City, and the Western Slope Music Festival in Colorado. In the fall of 2001 Dr. Russakovsky joined the music faculty of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. He also has served on the faculties of the Adriatic Chamber Music Festival in Bonefro, the IV Violoncello Biennal in Peru, and the CICA Chamber Music Festival. Most recently, Dr. Russakovsky has given master classes and recitals in Taiwan, Israel, and Latin America. His disc, featuring Russian works for cello and piano, was released by Brilliant Classics in April 2014.
Pianist Theresa Sanchez pursues a varied performing career as a soloist and collaborative musician. She has performed as soloist with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, the University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra (including the Southern Nights CD) and The Wind Ensemble. With the Meridian Symphony Orchestra, she premiered and recorded Carey Smith’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Dr. Sanchez was the founding Artistic Administrator for the Vicksburg Chamber Music Festival and performed in each series with various outstanding artists.She has been a faculty member at Jones Junior College since 1995 and is a past president of the Mississippi Music Teachers Association. She currently serves as Chamber Music Coordinator for the Hattiesburg Concert Association and FestivalSouth and is listed on the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Touring Artist Roster.
April 22 Keys, Bow, and a Slide – Music for Violin, Trombone, and Piano
Anne-Gaëlle Ravetto, violinist, is an adjunct faculty member of the Delta State University Department of Music. She serves as a collaborative artist, provides instruction in the music education curriculum and maintains a private teaching studio.
She has performed at numerous music festivals and academic conferences including the Atlantic Music Festival, Heidelberg Castle Festival, the Ohio Light Opera, the College Music Society-Southern Region, the Big 12 Trombone Conference and the American Trombone Workshop. Regional recital appearances include Rhodes College, University of Memphis, Henderson State University and UT- Martin, among others.
Before moving to the US, she held numerous faculty positions in her native country, including Professor of Violin at the National Music School of Le Havre and National Music School of Notre Dame de Gravenchon. As a performer, Ms. Ravetto was active throughout France. Her credits include engagements with the Lyon Opera under Kent Nagano, the Orchestre Philharmonique des Pays de la Loire under Marc Soustrot, the Orchestre des Prix, and the Orchestre Colonne.
Ms. Ravetto was a Resident Artist of the Banff (Alberta, Canada) Centre of the Arts, and received her Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music.
Douglas Mark trombone, serves as Associate Professor of Trombone/Low Brass at Delta State University, in Cleveland MS. He provides instruction in applied trombone, euphonium and tuba, directs the DSU low brass ensemble and teaches brass methods and music appreciation courses. He has held similar positions at the Hochstein School of Music, Hamilton College, Nazareth College, and Colgate University, all located in western NY.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Dr. Mark has performed with several orchestras, including the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. Regionally, he has performed with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Tupelo Symphony and the Delta Symphony. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts.
Dr. Mark received his DMA from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with John Marcellus. He earned his MM from the New England Conservatory of Music and undergraduate degrees in music performance and sociology from Northwestern University. His musical training also included studies with John Swallow, Frank Crisafulli, and Per Brevig.
Dr. Mark is an artist/clinician for Antoine Courtois Paris trombones.
Pianist, Dr. Jung-Won Shin has appeared as an active solo and collaborative pianist with a large range of repertoire for solo, vocal, and chamber music at recitals and concerts in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, and Korea. Her recent projects include a recital series of Beethoven piano sonatas and concertos and an anthology of Korean art songs. She has been a prize winner or finalist at several solo, chamber music, and concerto competitions including the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition, and the Annual Kankakee International Piano Concerto Competition. She has been invited to adjudicate several regional, state, and local solo, concerto, and chamber music competitions.
She has earned degrees in piano performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (D. M. A.), Indiana University (M. M.), and Seoul National University (B. M.). She is currently Associate Professor of Music at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, and Vice President for Pre-College Evaluations at the Mississippi Music Teachers Association.
April 29, 2022 Rachel Gibson grew up singing in Tupelo, MS. During her undergraduate studies at Millsaps College, she cultivated a love for classical music, and performed in her first opera. She continued her studies at Southern Methodist University, where she performed the role of Cherubino from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and also The Dallas Opera’s weekly children’s outreach program. Singing for kids and seeing their awe and joy in response to opera was inspirational. In her doctoral studies at USM, she performed in many operas (including singing the title characters in Bizet’s Carmen and Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel). She also performed in Italy and Germany, where she won the International Performing Arts Institute’s Aria Competition. She has performed professionally with Mississippi Opera (Carmen, Verdi’s Rigoletto, Leoncavallo’s Cavalleria Rusticana), Mobile Opera (Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Haydn’s La Canterina, Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segretto), and Opera Huntsville (Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore).
Patience Pierini holds an M.M. in Choral Conducting and a B.M. in Piano Performance, both from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is currently an Instructor of Music at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Harrison County Campus where she teaches private piano, sophomore music theory, and music appreciation. She is also the collaborative pianist for the concert choir and small ensemble. Alongside her departmental duties, Ms. Pierini is an Honors Faculty Fellow for the Harrison County Honors College and Honors Advisory Council. Ms. Pierini performs actively throughout the Gulf Coast as a collaborative pianist in addition to maintaining a private piano studio and serving as Vice-President of the Gulf Coast Music Teachers Association. Presently, she is most excited about founding and directing the MGCCC Music Academy, whose start date is scheduled for Fall 2022.