We want to hear from you! The Miss State University Choral area is stronger because we stand on your shoulders. We are proud that you chose Miss State and prouder that you were a part of choral excellence. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide us with updates concerning your life, career, and fond memories
Kourtney Holmes, B.M.Ed. in Voice, 2018.
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I’m in my second and final year of my Masters of Music Performance at LSU. I’m actively pursuing a career as an Opera singer and am beginning a very exciting audition season. While at LSU I’ve had the opportunity to be cast in some amazing shows, and I’m currently in the cast of the LSU Turner-Fischer Center for Opera Collegiate Premiere of Jake Heggie’s “Two Remain”. I’ve also had the opportunity to perform outreach on behalf of Opera Louisiane and was a part of their production of Carmen this past spring. I also did a program in Italy this summer (Opera Festival di Roma) and am currently learning German.
My 3 1/2 years (Fall 2014-Fall 2017) being in choir at MSU really shaped me as a musician and as a person. I discovered a sense of purpose and was reassured that Music is what I wanted to pursue as a career. During my time in choir we really focused on the concept of “healing”. Healing the audience, each other, and ourselves. This is something I think of often and what pushes me to not give up on this very difficult, competitive, and expensive dream. MSU choir gave me the opportunity to travel the world, strengthened my love of Music Education and teaching and allowed me to meet lifelong friends. It is truly a unique environment full of genuine and supportive people. As I venture off into the world, I remember the lessons I learned in that choir room. I remember to stay true to who I am, to be a good person, and to heal any and everyone I can reach through the gift of Music.
Thank you for your influence and wisdom,
I'm AJ Binney and I was in Men of State from 2015 to 2017 and then State Singers from 2017 to 2019. I am currently training in Wisconsin for a limited time position in Decatur, Alabama as the Whooping Crane Outreach Program Assistant. My job will be to travel around the Northern Alabama area, and potentially further to talk to people about the world's rarest crane, the Whooping Crane. In my time as a member of the choir at Mississippi State University, I was reminded of how much music means to my story. Having been without choir for the entire month of August has been weird. College is a stressful time and choir was a chance for me to recharge and go back to the grind. The most special moments that happened to me while in college are all associated to choir performances, even though I normally had no one there to see me individually. Being able to see and feel the healing in those performances was something that no words can describe. So, I would like to thank you for allowing me to be a part of this incredible organization and I know that there is some much more that the choral program at Mississippi State will accomplish.
I sang for the Women of State for four years, from fall 2014 to spring of 2018, and I can honestly say that being a part of the Women of State is my favorite memory from Mississippi State. The Women of State were a little family, and I will never forget my last homecoming concert singing the words, "Will the circle be unbroken?" hand-in-hand with my very best friends in the world.
I adored every moment of singing with MSU choirs and the State Sings program, and I believe wholeheartedly in the program as a means to spread healing and love throughout not only the students. I will treasure it forever. <3
I am now teaching English I at Meridian High School in Meridian, Mississippi. I work to instill a love and appreciation for literature in my students, and I carry the spirit of State Sings with me all the time.
I am also in the process of publishing my third novel, Project Emma, and I am very excited about it!
It's so good to hear from you!!! I miss y'all so much - singing in the choir was such a HUGE part of my existence for so long... I miss it every day!
I was in State Singers from Fall 2012 through Spring 2017 and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I remember deliberately leaving the job I had freshman year so I could find something that would allow me to be in choir because having the creative outlet was SO important throughout my college career. One of my favorite things about choir was just being able to create beautiful music with people who quickly became like family. Getting to see my dad light up at the first notes of “Seven Bridges Road” will stick with me for the rest of my life.
I also appreciated you as a director. You poured your wisdom and love into us every single rehearsal and I constantly remember little pieces of advice or encouragement from you as I move throughout my own life. You have more passion for your work and for your students than any other director I’ve met, but you also are understanding of our struggles as students. I can’t express how much I appreciate to this day the way you accommodated my grad school schedule so I could still be in your choir. I see videos from performances past and even just rehearsals we would have and I’m always moved by how much of an impact the time with Singers had on me.
As far as what I’m doing, unfortunately I’m not involved in a choir at the moment. My job has some pretty tough time restraints but it’s a job I look forward to doing every single day. I work in athletic operations and guest relations at the University of Colorado Boulder. I started as an intern a couple years ago and have been full-time since last January. I get to manage sporting events for a few of our teams (soccer, tennis, basketball) as well as manage a program that provides guest relations staff for all of our events whether athletic or non-athletic. It’s a little daunting at times overseeing a staff of 80+ people but I try to channel the energy you have every day so that I can engage my staff as well as you engaged us. Every week I get to see the impact our staff has on the lives of people who attend our events and it reminds of the many ways people can find to connect with each other.
I love seeing the updates you post and how well the choirs are all doing, it’s a part of my life I truly miss and am so grateful for. I don’t seem to have any pictures that don’t include the boyfriend but here you go!
Carly Herm | Event Operations and Guest Relations Program Manager
Department of Intercollegiate Athletics | University of Colorado Boulder
I'm Lauren Scott, formerly Lauren Marshall. I was in choir all of my semesters at MSU from Fall 2012- Spring 2016. Choir was honestly my favorite class. I loved the different pieces we got to perform. I looked forward to singing every semester, and I really enjoyed the cool things we got to do for it. Choir was so special to me because it wasn't always just rehearsals and regular fall/ spring concerts. I loved that sometimes we got to sing in different venues around campus, whether it be a special concert in the Chapel of Memories, singing in Lee Hall with an orchestra, or halftime with the Famous Maroon Band for the annual patriotic show to honor our veterans. Currently, I am working as a GIS analyst at HX5 primarily making maps. I also am involved in a weekly volunteer role as a high school life leader (mentor/ small group leader) with my church. I recently got married to my best friend. I hope all is well with you and the current choir, Dr. Packwood! It has been really cool seeing all of the updates.
I saw your Facebook post and decided to email you. I was in choir from August 2011 until it would not work in my schedule for my last year of school. I graduated Spring 2017 with a degree in Chemical Engineering. I am currently working as an Environmental Engineer at the TN Air National Guard in Memphis, TN.
Choir held a special place in my college career because I have always loved singing and being in choir and it gave me the opportunity to do what I love to do while working on a degree that took a lot of time. My favorite memories from choir was always the concerts. We worked so hard preparing for them and then got to show everyone an awesome show.
I also really loved the football game we sang at every year. It was fun running off the field to avoid being trampled by the band.
I don’t look much different than I did but I attached a picture!
My name is Dustin Semore - I was a bass member of the Mississippi State Chorus and Chamber singers from 2007-2009.
I attended MSU in order to play tuba for the Famous Maroon Band, and in all honesty, I joined the chorus in order to impress a girl in it. But I stayed because of the beautiful music we made. Some of my best friends were in choir with me under Dr. Lesley.
After my time at MSU (where I was a music ed/ tuba performance major as well as a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia), I attended seminary at Freed-Hardeman University where I obtained my degree in Biblical Studies.
I’m now the pulpit minister for the South Thornton Church of Christ in Piggott, AR.
As you can see from my email address and signature I’m still hanging around on campus working full time and pursuing my PhD.
I was in choir from 1998 until 2002 under the direction of Mr. Jerry Williams, and Dr. Jeff Pappas. I had choir scholarship and was a music major and Linda Karen Smith was my voice teacher.
I was part of the MSU Concert choir from 1998-2002, Madrigals from, and later Chamber Singers from 1999-2002.
Musically, I have worked as a musician (vocalist) for hire particularly for weddings but also a couple of funerals and have taught voice lessons to kids.
I have 3 kids at SHS all three are in the SHS Singers and my oldest daughter is a Senior at SHS and has been accepted to MSU for fall 2020 and will be auditioning for MSU Choirs. J
Jennifer Carruth, MS
Administrative Assistant II; Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems
Instructor & Doctoral Candidate; Department of Sociology
Tiphannie McKinion here! I was at MSU from 2012-2015. Currently I am a stay at home mom to a three and one year old. We are an Air Force family of 5 years going through our first deployment.
Choir was special to me because I got to learn so much from you and others who led us. I learned a lot about singing and friendship and just about people in general in my time spent in the different choirs. I loved it!
I am in my first year of graduate school, getting my master’s in vocal performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I was in choir from Fall 2014- Spring 2019. What was so special about my at State is the experiences that I will remember for a lifetime. Singing at White House, visiting Spain, student teaching, singing the national anthem at my graduation, and performing the lead role in Puccini’s “Suor Angelica” are moments that helped me grow and that I will cherish forever. Performing solo with the Starkville symphony was the highlight of my five years. I had the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from the best professors there are. What I love about choir is that we not only were making beautiful music, but we were becoming better people. Dr. Packwood set a standard of excellence that inspired so many. State singers felt like a family. I met my very best friends in choir and I know I can depend on them no matter what. I thank God for my experience at MSU. I wouldn’t be where and who I am today if it weren’t for MSU and the faculty. If I could I would go back and do it all over again! #HAILSTATE
I attended MSU and the MSU choir from August 2012 till my graduation May of 2016.
Shortly after graduation, my fiancé and I moved to Nashville, TN where we still live. It’ll be two years come December. During this time, I joined a great company, RJ Young, working within the HR department. Earlier this year I also became an entrepreneur and started my own dog training business, Champion K9 Training, LLC. On top of all that, my fiancé and I are four weeks from our wedding day, Oct. 12th!
The last few years have been a roller coaster and I truly miss and wish I was still apart of something bigger then myself. That’s what choir was for me. To be with others with the simple goal of singing music that could move people both emotionally and spiritually, at times. It was definitely my peaceful escape. Especially, on hard days. MSU has a special place in my heart. It’s where I met and fell in love with a man would come to be my perfect half. From, 2012 to 2016 he never missed a single home choir performance despite “being lulled to sleep” from time to time, lol. In regards to choir, I learned so many invaluable life lessons there; some hard. Many specifically given under your direction, Dr. Packwood. It felt like family. A home away from home. Honestly, I don't think I would be nearly the person I am today without the time I spent in the MSU Choir. I could go on and on, however, my time with the MSU Choir definitely impacted my life in a positive way.
I am currently teaching 8th grade science in Huntsville, AL. I sang in choir from 2015-2018. I began in Women’s, moved to Schola, and finished in Women’s due to interning. During my time in choir, I met so many awesome people. We had an opportunity to bond and become family. From the days of laughter, to the support we gave each other, the choral department was like a second family to many of us. I can’t wait to come back to visit you all!!
If customers can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. I'm currently working in Frederick, MD as the Assistant Director of Outdoor and Environmental Education for Bar-T, a company that provides year round programs for kids. I do all sorts of environmental education in and out of the classroom, as well as team building and high ropes programs.
I was at MSU and in choir from 2011 to 2015. I loved my time spent there and thoroughly enjoyed feeling like and being a part of so many "families" - MSU itself, my major (Wildlife and Fisheries), and choir.
- Choir allowed me to continue singing with my sister, something we had been doing since elementary school. It was nice to be able to have a class with her for two and a half years and share that experience with her.
Choir and Madrigals
Minister of Music
Trinity Baptist Church
Jerry Williams was one of a kind. I see myself, even 30 years later, acting like him in rehearsal. Every now and then a little "Jerry-ism" comes out and I have to stop for a second and giggle to myself. My choir doesn't understand the smile or giggle, but I do and remember the incredible times I had at MSU.
My name is Emily Wiltshire Schallock. I love your new site. I especially enjoy being able to look at all the people with whom I used to sing. It’s awesome to see their stories and look at where they are in their lives now! Being involved in the MS State Choral groups from 2013 to 2015 instilled in me a passion for music that I could not have had otherwise. It even directed the path of my future career. I am now the Choral Director for Belmont High School in Belmont, MS. My goal is to instill that same sense of passion and purpose that was once so graciously given to me in my own choral students. Sincerely, I thank you for all you do and all you did for me in not only providing good quality singing and performances, but, also, inspiring students to reach beyond themselves and obtain greatness! MS State Choral Activities will always hold a very special place in my heart!
I am Jennifer Landreth Duke, a 2013 Mississippi State graduate with a Bachelors in Vocal Music Education. I am currently in my second year as the Director of Choral Music at two middle schools in Walker County, Georgia. Prior to this position, I worked 4 years at schools in Mississippi and Tennessee teaching both elementary music and middle school chorus. My husband, David, and I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with our sweet Golden Retriever, Gus. David and I serve as the worship leaders at Relevant Church in Chattanooga. We are excitingly awaiting our first child’s arrival this fall—a little girl who already has her first cowbell!
My time in the choral program at MSU was nothing but wonderful. Those 4 years spent singing at State will always hold the fondest memories in my heart…we cried, laughed, and created together. The choral program was truly a family. I could not have made it through those tough years of school without the support of the people who made music in that room with me every afternoon! My favorite memory of my time as a State Singer was performing “Peace Like A River”…that song still sends chills down my spine and puts tears in my eyes.
I currently teach general music, concert choir, and show-choir at Jackson Academy in Jackson, Mississippi. I attended Mississippi State from 2015-2019, and I miss my State Sings family greatly. During my time in the choral department, I grew so much as a musician, but also as a person.
Preparing a diverse repertoire, singing with opera workshop, and singing at NATs conferences prepared me for my job teaching different genres and styles of singing. Singing in choir and studying to be a music educator helped me understand the importance of human connection. It was such a joy to be healed as we sought to heal others.
One of my favorite moments with State Singers was the MMEA conference in the spring of 2019. I’ve never felt more connected to every soul in the room during a performance, and I thank Dr. Packwood for teaching us to sing well, but also to sing with our hearts.
I love Mississippi State University Choirs!