State Auditor, Shad White keynotes Jones College’s Spring Commencement Ceremonies

ELLISVILLE – Mississippi’s 42nd State Auditor, Shad White will be returning to his home county to be the keynote speaker at both of Jones College’s Spring Commencement Ceremonies on Friday, May 3.  The morning ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. for students whose last names begin with the letters “A” through “L” in the A.B. Howard/Bobcat Gymnasium. The second ceremony will be held at 1:30 p.m. for those students whose last names begin with letters “M” through “Z”.  Both ceremonies can be viewed live on the JC web page,, and the Jones College Facebook page.  Doors will open in the M.P. Bush Fine Arts Auditorium for overflow seating at 8:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.  All guests will be screened for safety purposes with the gymnasium doors closing at 9:55 a.m. and 1:25 p.m., or when capacity is reached.

About 670 students will participate in the ceremonies receiving either, an Associate in Arts degree, Associate in Applied Science degree, a Technical Certificate or a Career Certificate.

Graduates and guests will hear from the Sandersville native who was appointed by Governor Phil Bryant to serve as State Auditor, last July.  Previously, White has served as Director of Policy to then, Lt. Governor, Phil Bryant in 2011. He later practiced law in the private sector and served as a special prosecutor in Rankin County. While serving as the Director of the Mississippi Justice Institute, White filed and led cases against public officials when they violated Mississippi’s open government and ethics laws.  The Jones County native continues to serve the state as State Auditor with the mission of protecting the public’s trust by verifying the funds provided by taxpayers to state and local governments are used in a legal and efficient manner for their intended purpose.

White said he is looking forward to participating in Jones College’s commencement exercises and hopes to inspire students with his speech, “Leading the Way to Mississippi’s Future.”

“I’m thrilled to participate in this important day for the students and families of Jones College. It’s an honor to be invited to share in this milestone in their lives, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts about the future of our state and some lessons I learned on the road from being a college student to becoming State Auditor,” said White.

The Northeast Jones High School graduate continued his education at the University of Mississippi, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science, where he was selected for the prestigious, national, Truman Scholarship. As a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, White earned his Master’s in economic and social history before earning his Juris Doctorate degree from Harvard Law School.  Additionally, White has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

White and his wife, Rina and their daughter, Zara live in Rankin County and are members of St. Richard Church.

Java & Jazz at JC

ELLISVILLE- Continuing an eighteen-year tradition, Jones College’s Jazz Band along with vocal ensembles, JC Voices, and The Bridge will present “Java and Jazz” on Thursday, April 16, at 7 p.m. on the M.P. Bush Fine Arts Auditorium stage. The Java & Jazz concert will feature a variety of great music and is free and open to the public. A variety of coffee, soft drinks, and baked good refreshments will be available during the concert.

Java & Jazz is a concert blend of instrumental and vocal jazz ensembles including the Jazz Band under the direction of Dr. Ben Burge, with vocal ensembles, JC Voices and The Bridge under the direction of Dr. Susan Smith and accompanist, Dr. David Goldblatt. Dr. Smith is assisted by Jennifer Bruton for JC Voices and Greg Wascoe assists with, The Bridge.

The Jazz Band will perform jazz standards such as the Latin Jazz Chart, “Guantanamera,” and standards such as, “Birdland,” “Take Five,” and “At Last,” featuring vocal soloist, Reagan Dukes of Laurel. The band will also play some funk and rock charts including, “Down to the Night Club,” made famous by Tower of Power, and “Vehicle,” by the Ides of March.

“I am very proud of my students. They have really worked hard on this music and we are all looking forward to our concert. I’m confident the audience will enjoy the blend of jazz, pop and rock music,” said Dr. Burge.

Vocal jazz ensembles, JC Voices and the primarily a cappella ensemble, The Bridge will share the spotlight with the Jazz Band. These young vocalists will take you on a journey of folk, jazz, contemporary pop, blues, and Broadway tunes with selections like, Cole Porter’s, “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” Irving Berlin’s, “Puttin’ On the Ritz,” and Duke Ellington’s, “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” to the Blues of Lead Belly’s, “Bring Me a Little Water Silvy,” and the historically revered, “Four Brothers.”

Both vocal groups will be joined by guest faculty and student instrumentalists, Dr. Michael Boyd, (electric bass and banjo) and Zach Gregore-Petal (percussion).  Dr. David Goldblatt will also accompany JC Voices and Bridge students in Great American Songbook standards. Vocal students of Gregory Wascoe and Susan Smith, will also light up the stage with songs that have been covered by famous artists from Frank Sinatra and Michael Bublé, to Lady Gaga.

“For some of these students, this will be their last performance at Jones because they are graduating,” said JC Voices director, Dr. Susan Smith. “We’re excited to feature Davonzell Moncrief of Montrose who delights the audience singing, ‘I’m Gonna Live Till I Die, by Al Hoffman, Walter Kent, and Manny Kurtz. Also, Addison Nelms from Brandon and JD Bilbo of Ellisville cut a rug with, ‘I Won’t Dance,’ from Roberta by Jerome Kern.”

JC Voices is conducted by Dr. Susan Smith and accompanied by Dr. David Goldblatt.  Associate conductors are Jennifer Bruton (JC Voices) and Gregory Wascoe (The Bridge).  For more information about JC’s Fine Arts Department call 601-477-4203.

Jazz Band Personnel

Dr. Ben Burge

Joshua Anderson- Greenville

John Harrison – Laurel

Sydney Herrington- Enterprise

Anthony Shanks – Waynesboro

Brandon Pedersen- Petal

Bethany Miller – South Jones

Hayden Brewer – Waynesboro

Alex Graves – Laurel

Aimee Green – Petal

Brandon Broome – Sumrall

Logan Donald – Ellisville

Ryan Nowell – Ellisville

Nick May – Mendenhall

Michael Brown – Laurel

Matthew Dodd – Petal

Zack Gregore – Petal

Matthew Haight – Mobile, Alabama

Tristan Garret -Laurel

DaVonzell Moncrief – Ellisville

Amanda Flynn- Petal

Cortland Goff – Ellisville

JC Voices & The Bridge Personnel 

Dr. Susan Smith

Jennifer Bruton, Assistant Conductor

(JC Voices)

Mr. Greg Wascoe, Assistant Conductor Bass

(The Bridge)

Dr. David Goldblatt, Accompanist

Joshua Anderson, Sand Hill

Kalyn Bales, Stringer

Ella Barker, Hattiesburg

**James Bilbo, Ellisville

Faith Bufkin, Moselle

**Jorge Castillo, Ellisville

**Kassidy Chandler, Laurel

Mary Coats, Taylorsville

Hayden Dillistone, Laurel

**Reagan Dukes, Laurel

Matthew Haight, Mobile, AL

Victor Harris, Laurel

Della Jones, Hattiesburg

**Davonzell Moncrief, Montrose

**Addison Nelms, Brandon

Stuyuncey Nobles, Laurel

**Caleb Pearce, Ellisville

Shellie Roberts, Ellisville

**Kendra Stevison, Lucedale

**The Bridge Vocal Jazz Ensemble

JC hosts MCTM Jr. H.S. Math Contest

ELLISVILLE – Jones College’s Math department along with the Mississippi Council of Teachers of Mathematics recently sponsored the district level MCTM Math Contest for Jr. High School students.  About 40 students from ten Pine Belt schools spent the morning working out various math problems to earn a spot at the state competition in April.

Clara’s Kyle Carney took first place amongst eighth graders, with South Jones’ Tressie Richardson earning second place honors. Seventh-grader, Lauren Hunter from Northeast Jones won first place and South Jones’ Kaitlin Ellis from South Jones won second place amongst all of the seventh graders competing. These students will continue competition on the state level on April 6, at Hinds Community College.

Jones College sophomore music students perform

ELLISVILLE –Ten Jones College sophomore music students are inviting the public to hear their last solo performances before graduation.  Sophomores expected to perform are Sydnee Yates of Brandon; Matthew Haight of Mobile; Ryan Nowell of Ellisville; Scarlett Sandifer of Laurel; Addison Nelms of Brandon; Derrick Williams of Laurel; Jorge Castillo of Ellisville; Davonzell Moncrief of Montrose; Elizabeth Morrison of  Long Beach and Joshua Anderson of Leakesville.

On Tuesday, April 2, at 7 p.m. in the Foote Chapel, soprano, Sydnee Yates will join instrumentalists, Ryan Nowell on trumpet, percussionist, Matthew Haight, and flutist, Scarlett Sandifer for their individual final performances.

The following Tuesday, April 9, at 7 p.m. in the Foote Chapel, soprano Addison Nelms will be performing her last concert at Jones along with percussionist, Derrick Williams and Jorge Castillo on horn.

The final performances for tenor, Davonzell Moncrief, percussionist, Elizabeth Morrison and saxophonist, Joshua Anderson will be on Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m. in the Foote Chapel.

The recital is free and open to the public. These performances are a part of the sophomore music student’s degree requirements for JC.  For more information about the JCJC music program or the sophomore recitals call the Fine Arts department at 601-477-4203.

Jones College’s JC Voices perform spring concert in Laurel

ELLISVILLE – Jones College’s JC Voices will present their annual spring concert, “Live, Laugh, Love,” on, March 26, 2019, at First-Trinity Presbyterian Church in Laurel. The public is invited to the free, 7 p.m. concert featuring works by composers such as Brahms, Barnum, Copland, Rardin, Halloran, and Tallis.

“‘To laugh is to live profoundly,’ said the author Milan Kundera and JC Voices explore some humor through music in this program. From the ‘Four Whatevers’ to the familiar folk song, ‘Camptown Races,’ you will smile and maybe even sing along,” said Dr. Susan Smith, Director of JC Voices.

Drawing on Walt Whitman’s incomparable collection, Leaves of Grass, the chamber singers will sing, “My Spirit is Uncaged,” by Paul Rardin.  This joyous celebration of life will be followed by more songs of life, songs of love and songs of humor, from the Tallis masterpiece, “If Ye Love Me,” to the lively, finale’ from the opera, The Gondoliers, “Dance a Cachucha.”

In the “love” set, the chamber singers will perform a hauntingly, beautiful, Spanish love song, “Amor de me Alma,” text by a 16th-century poet, Garcilaso de la Vega, with music by twentieth-century composer, Z. Randall Stroope.  Selections from Brahms’ Liebeslieder Op. 52 will delight the audience as the chamber choir performs with a four-hand piano accompaniment featuring, Dr. David Goldblatt and faculty pianist, Dr. Theresa Sanchez.

“‘Brahms’ Liebeslieder (Love Songs) are actually waltzes, but Brahms imagined them as being sung.  He composed the piano part, however, so that it could be played without the voices,” said Smith.

For more information, contact the JC Fine Arts Division at 601-477-4203.