Transforming the World Through Music: Morris Brown Choir

Morris Brown College Department of Music
The Department of Music at Morris Brown College offers students an opportunity to develop their talent as defined by their own career goals.

The Department of Music embraces our African American Music Legacy while building on the traditional music values that the Morris Brown College Department of Music has embraced over the last 100 years including presenting Handel’s Messiah with students, faculty and alumni every December.

The Department of Music offers one degree program consisting of a curriculum of applied instruction, music technology courses, music theory and history course sequences, 18 hours of music electives, internships and a culminating capstone senior recital or senior project.

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This year, graduating senior Jody Mayfield, composer, jazz pianist, and film-scorer, chose to create a video montage of the alma mater. He integrated aerial views of the college with various MBC participants (faculty, a student and an alumni group) singing the alma mater. The video montage also focused on historical photographs of the college’s history. The video, below, has already received some 2,000 views.

Another graduate, Julie Daniel-Pizarro elected to present a lecture-recital titled Lady Sings the Blues. In this presentation, Ms. Pizarro featured three great African American songstresses: Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, and Etta James. She presented a PowerPoint presentation on each singer, then re-enacted a performance of hit songs from each character. Both senior projects were phenomenal and were evaluated for their creativity, professionalism, and research.

Department Admissions Criteria

Admission Requirements
Students seeking admission into the Music Program must first satisfy the College’s admission and financial requirements. Then, prospective students must satisfy the Department’s entrance requirements by completing the following criteria:

Contact the Music Chair via e-mail or telephone to arrange an interview and complete the advisement session;
Prepare two contrasting repertoire pieces for the audition (voice or instrument); and
Students must take the Theory Placement Test to determine theory and musicianship level.

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Music Faculty

Dr. Sharon J. Willis, Department Chair of Music
Composer, pianist, and classically trained soprano is the Founding Director of Americolor Opera and Theater Arts. To date, she has composed 14 original operas based upon African American and Americana history and culture. Dr. Willis is the only woman composer in the United States to have Founded an opera company and been its principal composer. Some of her professional highlights: The Celebration Mass, Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. commissioned by the DeKalb Choral Guild; The Agora Organ Suite, commissioned by the American Guild of Organists Convention, 2006, Chicago; Transcendence, Suite for Organ, Piano and Voice, commissioned by the Georgia Music Educators Conference, 2014. Willis was just recently awarded The Composer of the Year by the National Pen Women, Atlanta Chapter, and selected to present selected compositions at the Second Annual Women Composer’s Conference at Mississippi University for Women.

Dr. Alfred Pinkston
Dr. Pinkston is the former Chair of Music at Florida Memorial University. After retiring, he, with his wife, relocated to Atlanta where he joined the music staff at Antioch North Baptist Church. He joined the music faculty at Morris Brown College as an adjunct faculty to support the arts at the college. Dr. Pinkston is a published composer and recording artist with several choral arrangements and instrumental compositions in his catalogue. In 1996, Florida Memorial College President Dr. Albert E. Smith restructured the Music program by reengaging Dr. Alfred Pinkston to serve as director of the program. Dr. Pinkston, had at the time recently retired as Supervisor of Music for the Broward School District – the fifth largest school district in the nation. While in that position, he was credited by Downbeat magazine and similar publications for the music program of Broward County, Florida being recognized as the “number one” music program in the nation for music and technology. Dr. Pinkston was also serving as the Dean of Music at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale (with a membership of approximately 9,000). Additionally, he had served as a music consultant for the United States Air Force in Europe, where he conducted choir and organ workshops throughout England and Germany

Prof. Stacey Barrett
Director, and Voice Instructor at Morris Brown College graduated from MBC in 2004, after which she earned her Masters of Music degree from Bowling Green State University in 2007. She has been a member of both Americolor Opera and Atlanta Opera Companies; studied abroad at the Universite de Touraine, France, 2006; and Cultural Learning, Zambia, Africa, 2009. Barrett has received many outstanding awards in music and service including the MBC 2012 Award of Excellence, and the Atlanta Professional Business Women’s’ Award, 2003. Barrett was a Tom Joyner Scholar in 2003, a U.N.C.F. Scholar and was Miss Morris Brown College, 2003—2004. Professor Barrett has taught at the Winans’ Academy of Performing Arts in Detroit before returning to her Alma Mater to serve as Music Instructor and Program Coordinator from 2009 until present. Professor Stacey Barrett brings a wealth of synergy and creativity to the Department. Her outgoing spirit has led her to make fabulous connections with people all over the United States including Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Harvard University renowned scholar; and Ms. LaJune Montgomery Tabron, CEO of the Kellogg Foundation.

Prof. Amarylis Sueing
Amarylis J. Sueing is a graduate of Georgia Southern University and holds a Masters degree in Music Technology and received her Bachelor’s of Art degree in Commercial Composition from Clark Atlanta University, 2012. She is connected with PhD. Studios owned and operated by two-time Grammy Award winning arranger Phil Davis. Ms. Sueing was hired as a Music Technology Representative at Sweetwater in Indiana, 2015 before relocating to her hometown in Atlanta where she teaches in the after-school music program in the North Fulton County School System. Amarylis is a much sought after saxophonist and plays throughout Greater Atlanta for many programs and special occasions. She is also a member of a corporate band that tours throughout the Southeastern United States. Ms. Sueing brings a professional knowledge of the Music Technology world to Morris Brown College. The Department offers collaborative instruction and internships with professional Recording Studios such as Ph.D. Studios and Orange Room Recording Studios. These partnerships allow the Department to offer first rate experience in professional settings. Internships of this nature provide a gateway into Music Industry career development with potential ventures into entrepreneurships. Prof. Sueing is also the entrepreneur of Amped Audio Technologies in Atlanta; and is currently working on a costume recording of favorite religious and popular selections.

Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White is Director of Digital Strategy for the Tom Joyner Foundation, a writer and editor.

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