The Jackson Choral Society was founded on June 27, 1961 by longtime friends and former Milsaps Singers Leonard Metts, Dr. Cecil and Patsy Jenkins, Jane Ellen and Richard Naef. The group later met Miriam and Lowell Bylar at St. Luke’s Methodist Church, where Miriam herself was the staff accompanist, and Lowell, the choir director.
The first official Jackson Choral Society concert was held on November 26, 1961 in the War Memorial Building in Jackson, MS. The well attended concert featured Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise. Today, the Jackson Choral Society is a non-profit, non-auditioned organization of volunteer professional musicians, music lovers, and anyone else who enjoys singing.
The Jackson Choral Society has served the metropolitan Jackson area for the last sixty years with over 106 concerts, providing imaginative programs of quality musical literature. The Jackson Choral Society has collaborated with several music groups in Jackson, including the Mississippi Chorus, Mississippi Opera and the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. The Jackson Choral Society has also toured Europe on three occasions.
& Bar Mural
By Jason Jenkins
JCS Board Members: Left to Right: Debbie Padula, David O'Steen, Terri McKie, Dale Driver, Kara Driver, Frances Nelson
*Not Pictured: Joanna Hunt, Treasurer; Fr. Joseph Dyer, Member at Large
Debbie Padula, as a Vocal Performance major, has been an opera, choral group and symphony soloist in Mississippi for many years. Debbie serves as Mississippi Federation of Music Clubs Recording Secretary, a Vice President in MacDowell Club of Jackson, as well as a member of Chaminade Club of Jackson.
Terri McKie started singing with the Jackson Choral Society when she was sixteen years old. Over the years, she has served JCS in multiple board positions including secretary, vice-president, and president. Terri also sings in the chancel choir of Galloway United Methodist Church, where she has been a member since the mid-1980s.
David O’Steen received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and Master of Music from the University of Alabama. He serves as Organist/Choirmaster for St. Philip’s Episcopal Church and is a private instructor of voice. Currently he is on the Board of Directors and is Treasurer/Registrar for the Mississippi Conference on Church Music and Liturgy, as well as a member and past Dean of the American Guild of Organists and the Association of Anglican Musicians.
Joanna Hunt holds a B.M. from East Carolina University and an MEd from the University of Arkansas.
She also completed extensive graduate studies in choral conducting at the University of Oklahoma. She has taught and directed choirs in college, churches, and high schools. She founded and directed the Children's Choir of Mississippi.
Frances Nelson has been Secretary for the Jackson Choral Society since 2022. Ms. Nelson is a member of the MacDowell Music Club and the Chaminade Club of Jackson. She holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in piano and serves as organist/choir director at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson.
Ms. Nelson is the Past President of the National Federation of Music Clubs.
Member at Large
Dale Driver has been a member of JCS for the past eleven years. She learned to play piano and clarinet at an early age. Currently, Dale sings at Central United Methodist Church, where she has been a member of the Chancel Choir for twenty-two years.
Member at Large
Fr. Joseph Dyer
Joseph Dyer has been a Member at Large for the Jackson Choral Society since 2022.
All About Membership
St. Philip's Episcopal Church
5400 Old Canton Road
Jackson MS, 39211
Tuesday Evenings 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
ALL Rehearsals begin promptly at 7:00 pm
JCS asks that ALL Members be responsible to sell 5 tickets per concert
Dues by Semester: $35.00
Full Season Dues (Fall&Spring): $70.00
Student Scholarships Available: Contact JCS
ALL MEMBERS purchase music per semester (Music Cost Established Annually)
75% attendance is required to perform in each concert. There can be up to 3 excused absences per semester. If you require additional time, you MUST contact our Artistic Director.
Attendance required for ALL dress rehearsals.
Women's Concert Attire
Full-length plain (no bead/stones) black dress, top with a full-length skirt, or evening pants (palazzo pants) in matching black fabric. Closed-toed black shoes. Three-quarter to full-length sleeves. Modest neckline.
Men's Concert Attire
Black dress shirt, black dress slacks, black socks, and black shoes
Music Concert Etiquette
Black Music Folder for ALL concerts