University of Mississippi Choirs

The University of Mississippi

Choral Faculty

Donald Trott, D.M.A.

Director of Choral Activities

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Donald Trott received his Bachelor of Music Education degree cum laude from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. He obtained both the Master of Music degree and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting from the University of Oklahoma under the guidance of Dr. Dennis Shrock, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities. While at Westminster, he sang under notable conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Raphael Kublik, Eric Leinsdorf, Joseph Flummerfelt, and Dennis Shrock. Following degree work he taught at: Lawton Senior High School in Lawton, Oklahoma; Rogers State College, (now Rogers University), in Claremore, Oklahoma; and Longwood College, (now Longwood University), in Farmville, Virginia.

His research in performance practice of the late eighteenth century resulted in two articles published in the Choral Journal and two lectures at regional and national College Music Society conventions. He produced a third article for the Choral Journal based on interviews with Alexander Bernstein, son of Leonard Bernstein and a fourth article appeared in summer/2012 issue titled “Choral Music in the White House.” His monograph sponsored and published by ACDA titled Nineteenth Century Choral Music – An Annotated Bibliography of Music Suitable for College and University Choirs was completed in 2010.

Dr. Trott’s choirs from Longwood College performed at VMEA state conferences and in the concluding performance of the 1996 ACDA Southern Division Convention. His choirs toured annually to venues that included the Cathedral of St. Patrick, Cathedral of St. John, the National Cathedral and the White House. At Ole Miss, the Concert Singers under his direction appeared at the 2005 Mississippi State Convention of the MENC/ACDA. In February 2006, the choir appeared at the ACDA Southern Division Convention, and in March 2007, the singers performed at the 2007 ACDA National Convention in Miami, Florida. In March 2010, the Concert Singers were invited to join with LSU and Loyola (New Orleans) and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Ken Fulton in a performance of Brahms’s Requiemat the ACDA Southern Division Convention. Both the University of Mississippi Men’s Glee and Concert Singers have appeared on MMEA/ACDA state conventions.

Ole Miss choirs have toured the northeastern United States on three occasions; 2003,  2008 and 2018 with performances in Carnegie Hall, St. Patrick’s Cathedral (NYC) and Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, D.C.). In 2010, singers from Ole Miss took an international tour with stops in Paris, Munich and Salzburg,  and in 2014 The Concert Singers toured Germany, Czech Republic, and Austria.

Masterworks have been an important part of the repertoire at Ole Miss including performances of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy and Ninth Symphony, Brahm’s Requiem, Faure’s Requiem,  Handel’s Messiah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms.

Dr. Trott is a past-president of the Southern Division of ACDA, past-president of Virginia ACDA and has held positions with the R&S areas of Men’s Choirs, Youth and Student Activities, and is currently a member of the Research and Publications Committee.

Debra Spurgeon

Debra Spurgeon, D.M.A., retired

Director of Choral Music Education

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Dr. Debra Spurgeon is Associate Professor of Choral Music Education at the University of Mississippi where she conducts the Women’s Glee and teaches choral methods and conducting. She has conducted high school and collegiate honor choirs in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia and Texas. Most recently, in 2011, she conducted the Louisiana Music Educators All State Women’s Choir. Prior to moving to Ole Miss, Dr. Spurgeon taught at Southwestern Oklahoma State University for eighteen years and in 1999 was named Oklahoma Choral Directors Association’s Director of Distinction. Her choirs have performed on state and division conventions. In 2008, the Women’s Glee performed on the Southern Division ACDA Conference in Louisville, KY.

She has been actively involved in leadership roles in the American Choral Directors Association. From 2007-2010, she served as the National Chair for women’s choirs repertoire and standards with the American Choral Directors Association. She was president of the Oklahoma Choral Directors Association and president-elect of the Southwestern Division of ACDA before moving to Ole Miss in 2001. Dr. Spurgeon’s numerous articles have appeared in the Choral Journal,Teaching MusicThe Journal of Singing, and The Journal of Music Teacher Education. She is the editor, compiler, and co-author of the 2012 GIA publication Conducting Women’s Choirs: Strategies for Success, which features the writing of many conductors and composers.

Dr. Spurgeon holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance from the University of Oklahoma where she was a recipient of the Benton Schmidt Voice Award; the Master of Music Education from the University of Arkansas; and the Bachelor of Music Education from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.

An active soprano soloist, her choral/orchestral solo work includes: Bach B Minor Mass, Mozart Requiem, Haydn Heiligmesse, Faure Requiem, Honneger King David, Rutter Requiem, Monteverdi Vespers, and Handel’s Messiah. She is a frequent soloist with the Ole Miss choral groups and the Mockingbird Early Music Ensemble.