Southern Arkansas University has announced that Justin Nelson has been named the new Director of Choral Activities. A longtime high school choral director, Nelson is excited to mentor students who will become the next generation of music educators.
Originally from Rockwood, Tennessee, Nelson graduated magna cum laude from Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, Tennessee in 2000 with a B.M. in Music Education. As a student he performed with the Carson-Newman a Cappella Choir under the direction of Dr. Eric Thorson.
He graduated with honors from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, with a M.M. in Choral Conducting in May 2016. As a student at APSU, he served as the graduate assistant in choral music.
Following graduation from CNU, he enjoyed 13 years as the director of choral arts at Cherokee High School (CHS) in Rogersville, Tennessee. There he directed the CHS Chorale and Concert Choir, taught music theory, music appreciation, and musical theatre classes — as well as directing the annual spring musical production. While in Rogersville, he was recognized as the Teacher of the Year an unprecedented three times during his tenure. In 2014 he was additionally named the Hawkins County Teacher of the Year. He also served as the Lead Teacher in Fine Arts for Hawkins County and was instrumental in implementing the Tennessee Growth in Arts Measurement System in Hawkins County.
In addition to his work at Cherokee High School, Nelson served as the Director of Music Ministries at First Baptist Church of Rogersville.
“I am thrilled about coming to SAU,” Nelson said. “My dreams for the program include getting non-music majors involved in choral music, to make choral music vital to the culture of the university, and to help SAU’s students realize their full artistic potential.”
He praised the potential of SAU’s choral program. “With hard work and dedication, our students will achieve choral excellence that will add to the already great reputation of this university.”
Anyone interested in participating in SAU’s choral program can reach Mr. Nelson by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.