Jacksonville Opera Theatre had very meager beginnings. Starting in the spring of the 2003-2004 school year, two one act operas were produced on a grand budget of $200.00. These productions were put together on a shoestring and a prayer. The residents of Jacksonville, AL had not seen an opera performed in their performance spaces for over 15 years. The overwhelming response from the audience allowed for us to return opera to Jacksonville.
Since 2003, Jacksonville Opera Theatre (JOT) has presented vibrant, professionally staged productions featuring the amazing musical talent from the David L. Walters Department of Music. All of our productions have been conducted, directed, and designed by passionate faculty and staff. Countless students have participated and performed in our productions. Our audience has expanded from an initial 150 patrons to over 3,000 patrons. Our production wowed audiences in multiple venues in Pell City, Jacksonville, Tuscaloosa, and Gadsden. We have also seen the launch of the annual Richard Armstrong Vocal Competition and Alumni Concert Series. Our alumni from across the country have helped our vision of improving the arts in Northeast Alabama become a reality. We hope you become a patron of the arts for Northeast Alabama by supporting our organization.
Nathan Wight joined the Music Department of Jacksonville State University in the fall of 2003. He is a baritone from Kermit, Texas. Dr. Wight received his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Performance from Arizona State University, his Master of Music from Rice University and his Bachelor degrees in Voice and Biology from Abilene Christian University. Dr. Wight has performed with the Houston Grand Opera, including a production of Four Saints in Three Acts for the 50th International Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dr. Wight participated in the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Artist Program for Singers. He has also performed with Opera-To-Go, an education outreach program of the Houston Grand Opera. The Houston Gilbert and Sullivan Society also regularly featured him. He has also performed in productions at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England and with the Lyric Opera Theatre of Arizona State University.
Dr. Wight is the founding director of Jacksonville Opera Theatre. Under his artistic guidance the company has flourished from it's initial production with 128 people in attendance to a company that performs for more than 2,000 patrons each year. Dr Wight has shaped JOT so that it has become an advocate for arts education in Northeast Alabama though the integration of children into performances, the youth apprentice program, and the children's opera productions.
Teresa Stricklin, soprano, joined the Music Department of Jacksonville State University in the fall of 2001. She teaches Applied Voice, Class Voice and assists with the opera program. She was vocal coach for the yearly musical produced jointly by the JSU music and drama departments from 2001-2011. Stricklin received her Master of Music Degree in vocal performance from the University of Louisville and her Bachelor of Arts Degree in vocal performance, communication and drama from Jacksonville State University.
tricklin’s singing roles include Liesl in the Sound of Music, Antonia in Man of La Mancha, Laetitia in The Old Maid and the Thief, Marsinah in Kismet, Lucy in The Telephone, the title role in Little Mary Sunshine, Sadie in Slow Dusk and Erisbe in L’Ormindo. Her oratorio performances include soprano solos in Dubois’s Seven Last Words, Brahms’ Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo. Since 2005, Stricklin has concertized with Dr. Gail Steward, premiering Steward’s original art song works. She performs regularly with University groups as a soprano soloist.
Stricklin has performed with the Alabama Symphony, the Atlanta Pops Symphony and was a district finalist for the Metropolitan Opera auditions. After her year of service as Miss Alabama 1978, she toured Europe and Southeast Asia as a featured performer for two Miss America USO tours. She also toured the Soviet Union as soprano soloist.
Dr. Dani Jones teaches Applied Voice, Introduction to Music, and Song Literature and assists with the opera program at Jacksonville State University. Her degrees include a Doctor of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy from The University of Mississippi, a Master of Church Music and Vocal Pedagogy from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Pedagogy from The University of Louisville.
Jones’ singing roles have included Rudi in The Gift of Song, Anna in The Consul, the Mother in Amahl, the Baroness in Der Wildschütz, and Patty in You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. She has toured as soloist with the Lane College Choir, performed the soprano solos in the University of West Georgia production of the Lord Nelson Mass, and was vocal director and actress for the Birmingham Arts/Miles College world premier of Sky Sash, So Blue.
Other directing and teaching responsibilities of Jones have included applied voice studios and touring choirs at Bevill State Community College, Blue Mountain College, Miles College, and the University of West Georgia, developing and directing an opera program and a music major at Miles College, and directing church choirs in Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama.