Jay Champion, Choral Director
Elise Davis-Crowe,
Assistant Director
700 Old Mountain Road, Kennesaw, Georgia 30152

Dr. Lenora Nyeste, Principal

Proud to be selected to perform at the
2010 and 2019 GMEA Statewide In-Service
and 2012 Inaugural Georgia State University
Invitational MidSingFest

J. Champion, Director

    Joseph Albert Champion was born and raised among very strong choral traditions in Edinburg, Texas. His music education started at age 6, when he began taking piano lessons with Alice Hury. He joined the choir in the fifth grade. His middle and high school directors were Viginia Adair, Barbara Fairbanks, and David Custer. In addition to many musical activities he was also a member of the basketball team and track and field team. Mr. Champion graduated as part of the first graduating class of Edinburg North High School in 1992.
    After offers from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio, Mr. Champion left Texas to study music at the Louisiana State University School of Music in Baton Rouge, LA. At LSU, Mr. Champion sang in the acclaimed LSU A Cappella Choir, acclaimed as one of the premier collegiate ensembles in the country, for four years under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Fulton. As a part of the LSU A Cappella Choir, Mr. Champion gave invitational performances to standing ovations in March, 1995 in both the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the DAR Constitution Hall at the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Washington, D.C. and in June, 1994, they sang the featured concert of the 50th anniversary celebrations of D-Day at St. Mary's Cathedral in Southhampton, England. He also proudly sang in the LSU University Chorus, and LSU Glee Club under the direction of Dr. Sara Lynn Baird. He studied private voice with Prof. Robert Grayson, composition with Dr. Stephen David Beck and Dr. Dinos Constantinides, and jazz improvisation with Dr. Bill Grimes. While at LSU, Mr. Champion served as Vocal Representative to the School of Music College Council, Composition Representative to the School of Music College Council, and President of the American Choral Directors' Association Student Chapter. As a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, he served as President of the Beta Omega chapter  and as Collegiate Province Representative of Province 14.
    After much hard work and lots of tailgating at LSU football games, Mr. Champion received a Bachelor Degree in Music Education as a voice major in 1996, and a Bachelor Degree in Music as a composition major in 1997. He earned his Master's Degree in Music Education, and Education Specialist Degree at the University of Georgia.
    Mr. Champion taught middle school chorus and general music at McKinley Middle School in East Baton Rouge Parish for one year before deciding to move to Cobb County in efforts to live life and see the world. He served as choral director at the West Cobb School for its two-year run, and in 2000, became the Director at Lost Mountain Middle School.
    Mr. Champion has always been involved in Music Ministry. His professional music ministry career began at age 15 when he began playing piano on Sunday Mornings for a Salvation Army Church in McAllen, TX. While at LSU, he served as cantor and pianist for Christ the King Catholic Student Center, where he eventually served as Music Director. As Music Director, Mr. Champion developed the choir into it's largest size in years, and composed and arranged for a string quartet on a weekly basis. After singing and playing for several churches in the Atlanta area, Mr. Champion has served as Associate Director of Music for Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Atlanta from 2004 to 2016. He currently serves as part of the music staff at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Marietta.
    Since arriving in Atlanta in 1998, Mr. Champion has sung with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chamber Chorus. As a part of the chorus, he has sung under the direction of Robert Shaw, Robert Spano, Donald Runnicles, Charles Dutoit, Alan Gilbert, Roberto Abbado, William Fred Scott, Norman Mackenzie, John Nelson, Yoel Levi, Marin Alsop, Howard Shore, and John Adams. Has sung on the ASOC recordings of Dvorak's Stabat Mater, Mahler's Symphony No. 2, Vaughan Williams' Sea Symphony, Mass in G Minor, and Serenade to Music; Orff's Carmina Burana, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Berlioz's Requiem, Golijov's Oceana, Mozart's Requiem, Theofanidis' The Here and Now, Sibelius' Kullervo, Adams' On the Transmigration of Souls, Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem, Gandolfi's QED Engaging Richard Feynman, and Puccini's La Boheme. The Sea Symphony recording won three Grammy Awards in 2003 for Best Classical Album, Best Choral Performance, and Best Engineered Album. The Carmina Burana was nominated for Best Choral Performance and Best Engineered Album. As a result of this recent acclaim, Mr. Champion traveled with the ASO Chorus to Berlin for performances with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem in December 2003, Berlioz' Requiem in May 2007, and Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem in December, 2010. The chorus has given one or two performances a year at Carnegie Hall in New York since the early 2000's. Several memorable performances include April 2004 for a repeat performance of the Sea Symphony, Mozart's Requiem with the ASO Chamber Chorus and the Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie Hall in October 2005, and Verdi's Requiem at Carnegie Hall in March 2006. The ASOC finished the 2005 season with the North American premiere of the Lord of the Rings Symphony in June 2004 with Oscar-award winning composer Howard Shore conducting. Other memorable performances include a special a capella concert by the Chamber Chorus at the Ojai Festival in California in June 2006 and a reprise of the Sea Symphony for the ACDA National Convention in Miami in 2007. Mr. Champion is a member of Coro Vocati, Atlanta's premier chamber choral ensemble.

    In 2002, Mr. Champion completed the soundtrack to Daryl Hury's one-man production of "2001 Reasons to Live", a self-told story of Mr. Hury's survival of a brain tumor. In doing so, Mr. Champion has worked with Todd Weaver and other members of popular Atlanta rock bands  to create new arrangements of songs including  American Pie, Back In Black, Rusty Cage, Love and Happiness, Just Like A Woman, and Peace Frog, to name a few. Active as composer and arranger, Mr. Champion's recent compositions include "Gesu Bambino" performed by Cantamos! under the direction of J. Hooper at the Robert Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech with featured bass soloist Morris Robinson of the Metropolitan Opera Company; and "Orange You Funky?", premiered by the LMMS Chamber Orchestra at the 2010 GMEA In-Service in Savannah, GA under the direction of guest conductor, Joe Tarentino.
   Mr. Champion is a frequent presenter at colleges, workshops, and conferences. He has presented reading sessions for middle school ensembles, grading and assessment in the choral classroom, and how to learn music quickly and effectively. He was a contributing writer to "Growing Musicians: Teaching Music in Middle School and Beyond" by Dr. Bridget Sweet, Associate Professor of Music Education at University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.
   He is in demand as a choral clinician, and guest speaker about the use of technology in the music classroom. In 2003, Mr. Champion was featured in the "Spotlight" section of the Fall issue of Georgia Music News, the official publication of the Georgia Music Educators' Association (GMEA) describing Mr. Champion's use of Technology in the Music Classroom. He has taught classes to his peers on the use of technology in the music classroom. In 2010, he was a presenter at the Ohio MEA convention held in conjunction with the National Convention for the Technology Institute for Music Education (TI:ME) on how to start an Electonic Music Ensemble. Mr. Champion also serves as Camp Director of Encore Choir Camp, a four-day camp for singers grades 6-10 at Emory University featuring some of the best choral directors in the state of Georgia.




Elise Davis-Crowe, Assistant Director

  Elise Davis-Crowe