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Music student continues family tradition at JSU


Some things just run in the family. Just ask Jessica Lister, a second-generation Music Education student at JSU.

Lister is a Vocal Music Education major, and her father, Roland Lister, was an Instrumental Music Education major when he attended Jacksonville State. According to Jessica, her dad was a big reason she chose to attend JSU. “He loved it,” she said. “He actually went here in the 1960s, and he was in Southerners.”

Lister has been involved with different choral groups during her time at JSU. She is a member of the A Cappella Choir, the Chamber Singers, has been in the Calhoun County Civic Chorale, and is part of the Jacksonville Opera Theater.

She was in the chorus for JOT’s production of Romeo et Juliette last spring, which was sung entirely in French. “It was hard,” said Lister, who didn’t speak French prior to the show. “We have to take diction classes where we learn to pronounce that stuff.”

Lister is currently preparing for her first principal role in a JOT production, as Pitti-Sing in The Mikado this summer.

Lister says that she has been singing her entire life, but that she started taking voice lessons when she was a junior in high school. She will present a vocal recital on March 3rd at 3:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Anniston.

Lister’s father taught music in the Gadsden city school system for several years, and she intends to follow suit. “I’d really like to teach elementary music,” she says. “Or high school or middle school choir. But elementary is where I want to be.” Although she says that she would be open to a teaching job elsewhere, she adds, “I think Gadsden would be pretty cool. I don’t know that I would want to move way out. But if I had to, I would.”

Lister intends to graduate this December, and says that there are many things she has enjoyed about her experience at JSU. “I love the feeling when you’re walking past Mason Hall, and you hear someone playing music on the porch. It just gets you in the mood to learn.” She adds, “I even loved taking basic classes and getting to know people outside of the Music department.”

On her career choice, Lister says, “If you love music, you won’t be happy doing anything else. I sincerely considered doing something else, like History or English or even another Education field, but music was where my heart was. But that’s what just about anyone will tell you: you just don’t feel like you can do anything else.”

Lister says that if a JSU student approached her and asked her about becoming a Music major, “I would tell them to just go for it, if their heart is really in it. It is a lot of hard work, but if it’s really what you want to do and you’re dedicated to it, you’ll succeed. The faculty is wonderful, and they will help you every step of the way.”

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