Alcorn sophomore O’Neil Jones takes second place in national voice competition

Alcorn State University sophomore O’Neil Jones is the latest student to excel in his field.

Jones, a music major and Montego Bay, Jamaica native, came in second place at the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) National Student Voice Competition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Tuesday, July 7. Jones is the first Alcorn student to become a finalist at the national voice competition.

Jones is familiar with singing competitions. In November 2014, Jones won first place at The NATS Regional Student Voice Competition at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he also became the first Alcornite to win first place at the regional level. Jones’ regional win made him eligible to represent the Southern region, which includes Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, in the national competition.

Representing Alcorn to his best ability was just as important as placing in the competition for Jones.

“I am very happy to have placed second in the national competition, but more so to have been given the opportunity to present the Alcorn brand on a national level,” said Jones.

Jones intends to do all that he can to perfect his singing abilities.

“I plan to continue to work hard on my craft. I also plan to continue competing at the state, regional and national levels of NATS. I want to enroll in summer opera programs that are aimed at giving training opera singers, such as myself, a springboard that will launch careers.”

Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Byron Johnson, who serves as Jones’ voice instructor, was proud of his pupil’s performance.

“O’Neil performed at an exceptionally high level,” said Johnson. “Competing at the national level and becoming a finalist is extraordinary. His success is a testimony of the quality work that occurs in Alcorn’s Department of Fine Arts and the University in general.”

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