ASU: Dr. Jackson, Darneaud honored as William Winter Scholars at 35th Annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration

Dr. Bianca Jackson, voice coordinator and associate professor of music, and Azaria Darneaud, a senior music major, were selected to represent Alcorn State University as William Winter Scholars at the 35th Annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration (NLCC) held February 22-24, 2024, in Natchez, Miss.

Each William Winter Scholar is chosen by his or her college, university, or community college as the Humanities Division’s most outstanding student, faculty member, or professional. This award allows winners to attend most of the NLCC free of charge. The annual award also carries prestige and public acknowledgment of how highly each scholar is regarded by his or her institution.

“On behalf of the Alcorn State University Department of Fine Arts, it gives me great pleasure to celebrate Dr. Bianca Jackson and her student Ms. Azaria Darneaud,” said Dr. Sean Daniels, chair, Fine Arts. “Dr. Jackson is an outstanding vocal pedagogue and performer. She moves above and beyond the call of duty for the betterment of Alcorn State University students. Ms. Darneaud is a prominent member of the Alcorn State University Concert Choir. She has been awarded Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society membership, and she is an outstanding academic student and performer.”

Dr. Babu P. Patlolla, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, said, “Dr. Jackson’s dedication and passion for teaching voice are truly inspiring. Her expertise and guidance have made a significant impact on our students, and we are grateful to have Dr. Jackson on our faculty. We applaud her commitment to excellence and for enriching the lives of those she teaches.”

Jackson teaches several music courses and has a voice studio in the ASU Department of Fine Arts. She is a classically trained vocalist and current Virginia Humanities HBCU Scholars Fellow. Her research highlights Black composers of classical music. Some of her conference presentations include a lecture-recital at the MS Spring Conference of the National Association of Teachers of Singing at the University of Mississippi, Bethune-Cookman University’s Hip Hop Hurston Virtual Conference, and artist-in-residence at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Jackson is vice-president of an HBCU Opera & Musical Theater Collective. Honors include a Mississippi Arts Commission Artist Fellowship, Encouragement Award for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and finalist in New York City’s Career Bridges Competition. She is an alumna of the UNCF/Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers.

Darneaud is an international student from Trinidad who was recruited by Alcorn State University from the National Academy of Performing Arts in Trinidad to complete a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance. Her Alcorn State accomplishments include membership in the Pi Kappa Lambda Honors Society, Honor Council, National Society of Leadership and Success, and a three-time awarded President Scholar. She is currently a graduating senior involved in Alcorn State’s Chamber, Women’s, and Concert Choir and a prior member of the Mississippi Joint Honors Choir. She works as an English tutor and is a member of Trinity Episcopal Church’s Senior Choir in Natchez.