Dr. Leslie J. Blackwell – Artistic Director
Dr. Leslie J. Blackwell has served as the Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music and Music Education at Kennesaw State University since 1998. Dr. Blackwell’s duties include conducting the KSU Men’s Ensemble and KSU Chamber Singers as well as teaching advanced choral conducting and literature. A native of Georgia. Blackwell received the Associate of Arts degree from Gordon Junior College (1982), the Bachelor of Music in Music Education from West Georgia College (1984), the Master of Music from Georgia State University (1991), and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kentucky (2002).
Choirs under Dr. Blackwell’s direction have performed at National, Regional, and State conferences of the American Choral Directors Association as well as numerous Georgia Music Educators Association State Conventions. In 2010 Dr. Blackwell presented Songs of South America for the American Choral Directors Association with the KSU Chamber Singers, featuring music of South America based upon her choral research and work in Argentina. In October 2013 the KSU Chamber Singers were selected to perform at the National Collegiate Choral Organization 5th National Conference.
Recognized for her work with men’s voices, Dr. Blackwell served six seasons as the Artistic Director of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, conducted the 2013 Georgia All-State Men’s Chorus, and established the annual KSU Male Chorus Day at Kennesaw State University, bringing upwards of 200 high school male students to campus. Under Dr. Blackwell’s direction the KSU Men’s Ensemble, a non-auditioned ensemble, has achieved prestigious accomplishments on a State, Regional, and National stage. Most recently, the Kennesaw State University Men’s Ensemble was selected to perform at the 2013 American Choral Directors National Conference in Dallas, Texas and the 2014 American Choral Directors Southern Division Conference in Jacksonville, Florida. The KSU Men’s Ensemble recently performed at the 2016 American Choral Directors Southern Division Conference in Chattanooga, TN.
Influential musicians with whom Dr. Blackwell has worked are Robert Shaw, Ann Howard-Jones, Yoel Levi, Norma Raybon, John Haberlen, Rodney Eichenberger, David Maslanka, Ola Gjeilo, Ethan Sperry, Brian Schmidt, and Jefferson Johnson. In addition to her commitments at Kennesaw State University, Dr. Blackwell is active as a clinician and adjudicator and holds memberships in MENC, GMEA, and ACDA She also serves on the Board of Directors for Georgia ACDA. Currently, Dr. Blackwell is the Artistic Director and Founding Director of the Kennesaw State University Community and Alumni Choir.
Sherri N. Barrett – Principal Accompanist
Sherri N. Barrett received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan and her Master’s Degree In Piano Performance from the University of Tennessee. She studied with Eugene Mancini from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Arthur Rivituso from the Juilliard School of Music Ms. Barrett has recorded two solo piano CD’s entitled From His Hand and At Peace.
She has been an active soloist, accompanist, and adjudicator in the Atlanta area for over 20 years. She has performed both in the United States and Europe as soloist, in chamber ensembles and accompanist for various choral groups. She maintains a large teaching studio out of which severai students have won international piano competitions. She is presently serving as pianist for two local Atlanta churches, the Kennesaw State University Chamber Singers and Chorale and the Kenne- saw State University Community Alumni Choir under the baton of Dr. Leslie J. Blackwell. Ms. Barrett is a member of the National Music Teachers Association and the International Music Fraternity Delta Omicron.