Department of Music

Delta State University Honor Choir Festival

February 8-10, 2024

The Delta State University Honor Choir is a special offering, sponsored by the DSU Choirs, for outstanding high school vocal students in Mississippi and the surrounding states. The festival takes place in the Bologna Performing Arts Center, a state-of-the-art performance venue located on the campus of Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi.

Guest Conductor – Carlos Brown 

Carlos B. Brown, D.M.A., Conductor, Scholar, Lyric Tenor, and Composer, is a native of Atlanta, Georgia where he received his musical foundation. After earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Benedict College in South Carolina, he received the Master of Music degree with distinction in Choral Conducting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). While there, he served as the Assistant Conductor for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln University Singers and Varsity Men’s Choruses as he completed his secondary studies in orchestral conducting with a focus on choral master works. Brown went on to earn the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting and Sacred Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).


He studied conducting with mentors who developed his depth of interpretation, proper execution of style, clarity of approach, baton technique, score analysis, and technical acuity under such conducting specialists as Dr. Kenneth G. Bodiford, (Jacksonville State University); Dr. Linda L. Kershaw (Benedict College), who mentored with Natalie Hiinderas; Dr. Peter A. Eklund, (Director of Choral Activities, UNL); Dr. Tyler G. White, (Orchestral Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Dr. Earl G. Rivers (Director of Choral Activities University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music); Dr. L. Brett Scott (Associate Director of Choral Activities CCM); Dr. Kevin Holzman (Wind Conducting Professor CCM), and Dr. Aik Khai Pung (Orchestral Conductor Professor (CMM ). He has taken conducting master classes with David Rayl, Jo-Michael Schiebe, Jean-Sebastien Valle, Grammy Award Winning conductor Jason Harris, Professor Andreas Hermann (Hochschule für Musik und Theater München) and Distinguished American composer and conductor Dale Warland. He has also pursued additional score study and conducting performance practices with his mentors Dr. Lloyd B. Mallory, Jr., Dr. David E. Morrow, and Dr. Roger McMurrin.

Currently, Brown serves as Director of Choral Activities at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, where he conducts the acclaimed Concert Choir, Madrigal Singers, Gospel Choir, and teach choral and graduate conducting courses. Brown previously served as Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he conducted the Grammy Nominated Central State University Chorus, and The Marauder Singers (Chamber Ensemble). Prior to his tenure at CSU, Brown served as Director of Choral Activities at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, where he conducted the acclaimed Wiley College A Capella Choir, and served as a Lecturer of Music at Atlanta Metropolitan State College.

He is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Angelic Master Chorale a semi-professional chamber ensemble dedicated to the performance and preservation of African American choral music and European classical music, Cincinnati, Ohio; He is also the founder of the Brothers In Song Glee Club (Columbia, SC). He has performed works ranging from traditional classical masterworks to thrilling performances of Negro Spirituals. He is the leading scholar on the TTBB Choral Music of Uzee Brown, Jr., an African American composers and arranger from the late1900s to the present.

Conducting and Professional highlights include The National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) Conference presenter July 2023 (Dallas, TX). The International Conductors Guild Conference presenter January 2023 (Valencia, Spain). The National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) Conference presenter July 2022 (Atlanta, GA). Dr. Brown and the Grammy Nominated Central State University Chorus performed at the invitation of the Ohio Choral Directors Association (OCDA) June 2020 and 2021; the Central State University Chorus performance with Grammy Award winner Kanye West for the Dayton Sunday of Hope Service, Dayton, OH, August 2019; performing the Doctor of Musical Arts Lecture-Recital titled God, Give Us Men! An Examination and Introduction to Seven Contrasting Pieces for Men’s Chorus by Uzee Brown, Jr., presented by Dr. Carlos Brown, April 2018; Te Deum, Op. 103, by Antonin Dvořák, Dr. Brown, Conductor, The College Conservatory of Music’s Choral Concert Series, February 2018; Artist-in-Residence at Bethel Missionary Church, Dayton, OH, culminating in a celebration concert titled, Celebrate the King: An Easter Celebration,” January 2018-April 2018; Magnificat in D, Op. 486 by Franz Schubert, The College Conservatory of Music’s Choral Concert Series, November 2017; Geistliches Lied, Op. 30 by Johannes Brahms and Elegischer Gesang, Op. 118 by Ludwig van Beethoven both with string quartet, October 2016; one of the featured conductors for the College Conservatory of Music’s annual Feast of Carols Holiday Concert conducting Gloria with Brass and Organ by Randol Bass, December 2016.

Because of Dr. Brown’s predilection for developing young conductors and his devotion to the preservation of African American music, especially the Negro Spiritual, he was invited to publish an article in The Liturgical Journal titled “Perspectives on Choral Conducting: Exploring the Conductor’s Head, Hand, and Heart”; Dr. Brown’s Dissertation: God Give Us Men: An Examination and Introduction to the Life, TTBB Choral Music, and Scholarship of Uzee Brown, Jr., is being submitted for publication later this year. He also served as a panelist for the Black Music Matters Summit, Virtual Conference based out of Chicago, 2020.

In addition to Dr. Brown’s choral activities and teaching, Brown is a published composer and owns several choral copyrights including “We’re Climbing Jacob’s Ladder,” TTBB; “I’ve Been in the Storm for so Long,” TTBB; “If I Got My Ticket Can I Ride?” TTBB, SATB, and Solo Voices; “I’ve Never Seen the Righteous Forsaken,” SATB; and “We Shall Overcome,” TTBB (Choral Fanfare). Publishers of his music credit the composer with having a great respect for the traditional choral setting of the spiritual while infusing innovative use of harmonic sequences and atypical rhythms.

Professional memberships include Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society (ODK); National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc. (NANM); Chorus America; American Choral Conductors Association (ACDA); International Conductors Guild; Ohio Choral Directors Association (OCDA); Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., and Board Member of Americolor Opera Alliance, Incorporated, which is a non-profit theater arts performance organization.

Auditions for DSU Honor Choir 

For general inquiries, please contact Dr. Julia Thorn, Director of Choral Activities.

  • Thursday, October 26, 2023 @ Richland High School, Richland, MS. Register to audition at Richland HS. For information on this audition site, contact Christian Millwood at
  • Arrange an on-campus audition at Delta State University for any date before November 6, 2023 by contacting Dr. Julia Thorn

Timeline for DSU Honor Choir Auditions:

* October 20, 2023: Deadline to register for auditions

* October 26-30, 2023: Auditions in various locations

* November 10, 2023: All participating directors will be notified of accepted students

* December 22, 2023: Deadline to submit festival registration fee to DSU $50 per student.

Audition Form

Print this audition, complete legibly & bring to the audition. There is no audition fee.

DSU Honor Choir Audition Procedures (for high school teachers):

The audition consists of two parts, both sung in quartets:

  • Prepared audition excerpts
  • Sight-singing

For the prepared excerpts, each student will be evaluated as member of an SATB quartet. (If you are not bringing any students in a particular voice part, students will not audition in quartets. For example, if you do not have any tenors auditioning, then your students will audition in soprano-alto-bass trios.) If you bring an uneven number of students per voice part auditioning, some of your students may sing in multiple quartets.  Students singing in multiple quartets will be evaluated only on the first quartet in which they sing.

For the quartet sight-singing, each student in the quartet will be given a simple, four-bar, major-key, diatonic exercise. They will have one minute to look over and practice the exercise before singing it; teachers may coach students during this minute if they wish. Students may sing on solfège, numbers, nonsense syllables, or whatever system they wish. The quartet will sing together. This will be an easy but 4 part example.

Audition Material

Lamentations of Jeremiah – Measures: 18-38 | Piano Accompaniment: Lamentations of Jeremiah

Let Their Celestial Concerts all Unite – Measures: 1-16 | Piano Accompaniment: Let Their Celestial Concerts all Unite

Honor Choir Repertoire

Lamentations of Jeremiah – Z. Randall Stroope

Light Shall Lift Us – Paul Moravec

Let Their Celestial Concerts All Unite – George F. Handel

Sometimes I Feel – Alice Parker and Robert Shaw

Out In The Fields – William Levi Dawson

Hold On! – Uzee Brown, Jr.