February 5, 2004

Cotton Performs With Missouri All-State Choir

Jessie Cotton, a senior at Scotland County R-I Schools, performed with the Missouri All-State Choir on January 24. The All-State Choir performs at the State Missouri Music Educatorís conference every year. The choir was under the direction of Dr. Jerry Blackstone, who is the Director of Choirs and Chair of the Conducting Department at the University of Michigan School of Music, teaches conducting at the graduate and undergraduate levels, directs the Chamber Choir, and administers a choral program consisting of 11 choirs. Dr. Blackstone has also written a Choral Series that presents works by several composers in a variety of musical styles. Dr. Blackstone is considered one of the countryís leading choral conductors and has served as a guest conductor from coast to coast. Internationally, he has performed in 12 foreign countries.

Jessie completed two extensive auditions, which consisted of solo performances, melodic and rhythmic sight-reading skills, and knowledge of key signatures. The first audition was held in Troy, in September 2003. Following the audition, Jessie was selected as a soprano for the Northeast District Choir, which was held in Moberly, in November. Jessie had an opportunity at District Choir to audition for State Choir. Only four sopranos are selected from the Northeast District. The scores from the District and State auditions are added together to select the finalists. Jessie was competing for a spot with schools from Columbia, Troy, Hannibal, Moberly, and all other Districts north of these schools. At the end of the District Choir Concert, the District vice president announced that Jessie was one of the four sopranos selected. Jessie then traveled to Tan-Tar-A on January 24 to begin rehearsals for State performance. Every District in Missouri went through the same auditions to select the top singers in the state. The choir was composed of approximately 200 junior and senior students.

While at Scotland County R-I, Jessie has participated in jazz band, concert and marching band (Drum Major), choir, Missouri Fine Arts Academy, and district music festivals. She also participated in softball, Little Paws (captain), basketball (captain), Gee Jaze, TATU (president), FBLA, FCCLA, Spanish Club, and NHS. Miss Cotton is the reigning Miss Clark County.

Jessie is the daughter of Tom and Teresa Cotton of Memphis.

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