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Music gives teacher new opportunities
Leslie Jackson has been singing since she could talk. In fact, she was singing church solos when she was only 4 years old.

Her love of performing in choir grew as she got older. Before too long, Jackson was singing in her middle and high school choirs.

"I began singing with the school chorus when I was in the seventh grade and was in the Georgia All-State Chorus," she said.

But it was in high school, where Jackson's talent was really noticed.

"In high school chorus, I began doing choreography for our concerts. I received a music scholarship to Valdosta State University, where I received a Bachelor of Music Education degree," she said. "I have always loved music and performing. When it was time to decide on a career, there was no other choice. I wanted to share my love of singing with others and hopefully have them feel the same way."

After college, Jackson jumped right into a musical teaching career. She taught at Thomas County Central High School in Thomasville for two years before moving to Glynn County. She has since become a teacher in the area, as well as getting involved with other local performance groups.

"I perform around the community and have also been involved with the Island Players for eight years, having last performed in 'Into The Woods,'" she said. "I am now beginning a new position as the choral director at the new Risley Middle School."

But she's also bringing music to students in a different way. Jackson is starting a community show choir for seventh- to 12th- graders.

The group, which will be called Vocal Arts Company, will include singing with choreography. Jackson says she wanted to give all local students a chance to be involved in a choral-type group.

"Not all of the middle and high schools in Glynn County have a chorus. If students are already involved in school chorus programs, and I hope they are, this will just give them more opportunity to practice their talents and do what they love, which is singing and performing," Jackson said. "This year's group will be charter members of a company. I am very excited that company will be awarding a scholarship to a graduating senior who will be pursuing a degree in the arts to help with their college expenses."

Jackson is also working with Jessica Gibbs-Zettler, an experienced choreographer who has worked with the Island Players in Brunswick and the Averitt Center for the Arts in Statesboro.

The two, who held auditions for the group Sunday, are hoping to get off to a great season.

"We will only rehearse once a week for two hours, and they will have to work hard. Being a member will help them learn about responsibility, diligence and teamwork, not to mention have fun," Jackson said. "Every member is important and makes meaningful contributions to the group. It will teach them what it is like to be part of a group who has to work together for a finished project."

To get involved, students and parents can look for the Vocal Arts Company audition page on Facebook.

Jackson said to email any questions about the group to vocalartscompany@gmail.com.



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