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.


Dr. Elizabeth Hearn

Elizabeth Hearn, Ph.D.

Director of Choral Music Education

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Elizabeth (Libby) Hearn is Assistant Professor of Choral Music Education at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) where she conducts the Women’s Glee ensemble and teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in choral music education and conducting. In addition to her responsibilities at Ole Miss, Dr. Hearn also serves as the conductor of CoroArroyo; a treble choir comprised of young singers that is one of six ensembles in the CoroRio choral organization.

Prior to joining the faculty at Ole Miss, Dr. Hearn received a Ph.D. in music education from the University of Alabama where she served as assistant conductor of the UA Women’s Chorus. She also taught classes in music education, choral methods, and she facilitated the Chamber Choir. Her collaborative work with Dr. Marvin Latimer, included the National Conferences chapter in Excellence in Choral Music: A History of the American Choral Directors Association, published by Hinshaw Music Inc. and released at the 60thanniversary ACDA national conference in Kansas City.

Dr. Hearn previously held the position of Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Marian University in Indianapolis where she taught music education courses and was the conductor and founder of Knight Fusion Singers and the University Chorus. Her career in secondary education began in Hueytown, Alabama where she served as the choral music director at Hueytown High School from 2003-2010.

Dr. Hearn is an active conductor, presenter, clinician, and adjudicator. She has presented her research at national, regional, and state conferences and recently conducted the UA Women’s Chorus at the Alabama Music Educators Association conference. Her research interests include assessment in the music classroom, singing accuracy, ensemble identity, ACDA history, and job mobility in music education. Her most notable accomplishment is being Mom to Catherine (9) and Andrew (5).


Graduate Assistants

Eric Johnson, was the choral director at James E. Holmes Middle School in Eden, NC where he directed a vibrant choral program for over nine years.  He is currently pursuing his PhD in Music Education at the University of Mississippi.  With degrees from Appalachian State in Music Education, and Sacred Music Performance, as well as masters in Music Education from the Florida State University, he is very active in the musical world as an educator, clinician, and presenter.  Eric also served on the executive boards for NCMEA and NC ACDA and in various capacities with children’s and church choirs.

Stellah Mbugua comes from Nairobi, Kenya, where she taught at the Kenya Conservatoire of Music, was a mentor for Safaricom Choir, and performed and toured extensively with the Nairobi Chamber Chorus. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Music Education at the University of Mississippi, where she also obtained her masters in Choral Conducting degree. Stellah holds a bachelor of Music degree from Kenyatta University. She is an active member of ACDA, and a composer/arranger.

Ben Schneider is a new graduate from Drew University in New Jersey, where he served as assistant to the Choral and Vocal Studies Department, and as the Music Director of his student run collegiate a cappella group, 36 Madison Avenue. Originally from Connecticut, he is pursuing his Master’s of Music in Choral Conducting at the University of Mississippi.

Riley Smith most recently served as assistant choir director at Terry High School where he directed freshman choir, taught music appreciation, and helped direct the varsity choir and chamber choirs. Currently, he is pursuing a masters in Music Education at the University of Mississippi, where he also obtained his bachelors in Music Education. While teaching in the Jackson area, he continued building his musicianship skills by serving as bass section representative for The Mississippi Chorus, singing with the Jackson Choral Society, and being a member of American Choral Directors Association and Mississippi Music Educators Association.