ARTISTIC & EXECUTIVE STAFF
Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Nathan served on Morningside University’s faculty in Sioux City, IA, where he conducted 5 choirs, the college/community orchestra, the youth orchestra, and opera productions. Among these assignments was the artistic director and conductor of the Morningside Master Chorale, an 80 voice community chorus that performed a cappella, accompanied, and choral/orchestral literature.
Nathan says that “Choral music and singing are not exclusive to those with extensive university studies, and amateur music-making is a crucial element of a community’s arts and cultural health. The Mississippi Chorus offers a wonderful opportunity for trained and amateur musicians to join together for a greater cause – the 'transformative power' of music” – as evidenced by The Mississippi Chorus’s mission statement."
A native of Rayville, Louisiana, Dr. Angela Willoughby earned both the Bachelor of Music and the Master of Music degrees in piano performance at Mississippi College, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance at Louisiana State University. Prior to joining the faculty at Mississippi College in 1999, she taught at Grambling University (LA) and Belhaven College (MS). In addition to her teaching responsibilities at MC, she also serves as Chair of the Department of Music.
Highly regarded as both performer and teacher, Dr. Willoughby has also conducted extensive research on the lives of two teachers in her pedagogical lineage, Ernst von Dohnanyi and Edward Kilenyi. She has presented three lecture-recitals on the topic, and produced a documentary film, “Two Friends in Tallahassee: Ernst von Dohnanyi and Eddy Kilenyi.”
In 2009, Dr. Willoughby was the recipient of the Humanities Teacher Award presented by the Humanities Council of Jackson. In that same year, she was also recognized as the Mississippi College Distinguished Lecturer for Arts and Sciences. She is a long-time member of the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and the Mississippi Music Teachers Association (MMTA). She is Past-President of that organization and served in various positions on its Executive Board for fourteen years. Dr. Willoughby continues to be active as a presenter and adjudicator for keyboard festivals such as MTNA and MMTA-sponsored events and the Mississippi State Baptist Keyboard Festival.
Dr. Willoughby has served area churches as organist, organist-choirmaster, and choir director, and is currently organist at First Baptist Church in Clinton. She has been active as a collaborative pianist and chamber musician, having served as accompanist for the Masterworks Chorus of Monroe (LA) and the Jackson Choral Society here in Jackson. Her hobbies include biking and visiting her two grandchildren.
Assistant Collaborative Pianist
Born in Mobile, Alabama, Portia Davis showed a love and interest in music at a young age. She began learning piano at the age of 10 and quickly added flute and singing to her arsenal of musical talents. She was heavily involved in pre-college music programs through the University of Houston and other universities in the surrounding area.
Ms. Davis attended the University of Mississippi and received a Bachelors in Music Education with a concentration in Keyboard under the teaching of Dr. Ian Hominick. She then attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she completed two Masters of Music: the first in Piano Pedagogy under Dr. Reid Alexander and Dr. William Heiles and the second in Vocal Coaching and Accompanying under Professor Dennis Helmrich. Ms. Davis has accompanied countless vocal and instrumental recitals and numerous opera productions and choral programs.
She now resides in Jackson, Mississippi where she is the piano and written theory instructor at Power Academic and Performing Arts Complex. She continues to make music every day and looks forward to many more musical opportunities in her future.
Rachel Landrum is a graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi where she received her bachelor’s degree in Choral Music Education (2011) and her master’s degree in Music Education (2012).
At USM, Rachel performed with The Southern Chorale, The Chamber Singers, and The Southern Belletones. She was a voice student of Dr. Taylor Hightower and sang with the Chancel Choir at First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg under Dr. Larry Smith.
Rachel spent eight years as the Director of Choral Activities at Ridgeland High School. During her tenure there, her choirs and ensembles at Ridgeland scored All-Superior ratings at District and State Festivals every year. Her students were awarded All-Superior Gold Awards, Adjudicators Awards, Outstanding Choral Group and Choral Sweepstakes, 1st Place in the Concert, Chamber, and Men’s Choir divisions, and Overall Ensemble Grand Champions at local and national choral competitions.
Rachel was honored as the 2014-2015 Ridgeland High School Teacher of the Year and was named the Mississippi Music Educator’s Association’s Outstanding Young Music Educator for 2015. In the spring of 2019, Mrs. Landrum was named Ridgeland High School's STAR Teacher by one of her choir students.
Rachel served as the Mississippi ACDA All State Honor Choir Chair for the SSAA Choir from 2016 until 2020 and is currently the Treasurer-elect for Mississippi Music Educators Association.
Rachel is currently studying Surgical Technology at Holmes Community College. She will receive her certificate of training and become a Certified Surgical Technologist in June 2022. She lives in Ridgeland with her husband, Joshua, who is a band director at Brookhaven High School. Rachel assists with the children’s choirs and sings as a member of the vocal ensemble and adult choir at Madison United Methodist Church.