MECCA names new director of East Tennessee Children's Choir
July 11, 2007The Mountain Empire Children's Choral Academy is growing, which means changes in the academy's leadership. Beth Perkinson McCoy, artistic director of the MECCA and director of the East Tennessee Children's Choir since 1994, announced in May that she will step down as director of the ETCC beginning in August 2007. Succeeding McCoy is Jane DeLoach Morison, who has served as accompanist for the MECCA for the last three years.
McCoy will continue as artistic director of the MECCA, conductor of the Highlands Youth Ensemble, coordinator of the Pecs Choir partnership, and will serve as a guide and resource assistant to the preparatory choir directors.
"For the MECCA to expand to our next level and be able also to host the Pecs [Hungary] choir in 2008, growth needs to occur," McCoy said in announcing the changes. "For us to add two to three preparatory choirs, we will need additional directors and accompanists. For us to host the Pecs Choir, we will need sponsorships, grants, collaborators, and a coordinator of the Pecs partnership. So, the time has come to share the baton."
In announcing Morison's appointment, McCoy said, "When Jane joined as accompanist of the ETCC three years ago, I sensed that she was the perfect person to take the ETCC to a new level of accomplishment. Jane has all the right qualifications, and she has proven over and over that she will be far better than I as the director of the ETCC."
The Pecs Choir partnership began in 2006 when Dr. Peter Hoppal, director of the Reform School Choir in Pecs, Hungary, invited the HYE to compete in the 20th International Chamber Choir Competition. In May 2007, 14 members of the HYE along with McCoy and several parent chaperones traveled to Pecs, stayed with the Reform School Choir choir for four days and competed in the competition. To reciprocate, the HYE will play host to the Hungarian choir members when they will travel to Virginia and Tennessee in 2008.
The preparatory choirs will consist of second- and third-graders in smaller choirs located in cities throughout Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, as directors and accompanists become available. The goal is to have these choirs serve as preparation for audition into the East Tennessee Children's Choir.
Morison graduated summa cum laude from East Tennessee State University with a bachelor's degree in music education and and received a master of music degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She has also studied at L'academie de musique de Sion in Switzerland where she performed at the Tibor Varga Festival and the Foundation Pierre Gianadda.
Morison studied choral conducting with Thomas Jenrette and was a piano student of Donald Conflenti at ETSU. The recipient of a four-year performance scholarship, she was twice named Most Outstanding Music Student. A member of the Delta Omicron music fraternity she was also named to the academic honor society of Phi Kappa Phi. She studied with Joseph DiPiazza at UNC-Greensboro, where she was inducted into the musical honor society of Pi Kappa Lambda. She also has studied with Barbara Lister-Sink and Clifton Matthews.
For nine years, Morison was on the faculty of the Southern Park Music School in Charlotte, N.C. While living in Charlotte, she also taught at Central Piedmont Community College, was a guest lecturer at Winthrop University, and twice served on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro summer music camp.
While a member of the North Carolina Music Teachers Association, Morison was awarded the Certificate of Professional Advancement. She also holds permanent national certification with the Music Teachers National Association. She served as president of the Charlotte Piano Teachers Forum and held the office of state secretary for NCMTA.
This summer, Morison was again on the faculty at the Music in the Mountains Suzuki Institute at Emory & Henry College where she has in the past five years served as accompanist as well as instructor in music theory, and music and movement.
A licensed Kindermusik teacher for the past 11 years, she has been the director of the School of Music at Sullins Academy in Bristol since 2001, and has taught piano and Kindermusik there since 2000.
Before her tenure at Sullins Academy, she taught at St. Anne's Catholic School in Bristol, where in addition to teaching general music, piano and Kindermusik, she directed and wrote semi-annual concerts. In her first year there she also directed the middle school in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
A member of the Organization of American Kodaly Educators and Music Teachers National Association, Morison and her family are members of Central Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Va., where she has served as the director of children's choirs.
Morison will step down as accompanist for the ETCC. Angee Woody will succeed her in that role. Morison will continue as accompanist for the HYE.
The ETCC was formed by Dr. Carl D. King in 1987. It was his dream to instill in children a love of music from a variety of cultures. Later, the ETCC was further developed by Laura Ann Warner, former president of the ETCC board of directors, and McCoy.
McCoy holds a master's degree in music education from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University and is a published author and composer. She is a diaconal minister of music in the United Methodist Church and teaches private piano and voice lessons.
In 2000, she received the Conductor's Award from the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra and in 2001, Composer of the Year Award from the Appalachian Music Teachers Association.
The HYE was formed in 2003, and the MECCA was established as a non-profit organization encompassing both the ETCC and HYE in 2006. For more information, please visit www.meccacademy.org.