Graves Co. schools' performing arts center director uses her tal - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Graves Co. schools' performing arts center director uses her talents to showcase students

(Source: Paul Schaumburg, Graves Co. schools) (Source: Paul Schaumburg, Graves Co. schools)

Graves County Schools’ performing arts center director Casey Jones reaches the mid-point of her first year with the PAC’s Season Events Series, as 2015 comes to a close.

She brings a variety of talents to the job, including her own performing arts skills, but more than anything else, this position is a way she can help bring young talent in the schools and the community together.

“I’ve been on the job since September,” she said. “‘Graves County’s Got Talent’ was my first experience with the PAC and it gave me a chance to work with students from all our schools.”

GCGT is very loosely based on TV’s “America’s Got Talent” and features students from all seven of the district’s elementary schools as well as Graves County Middle and High schools.

“I’m really excited to be a part of what’s going on here,” she explained. “There is a lot of wonderful talent to work with – people who are wonderful at what they do and are excited about it. It’s just good to be around that and to be a part of that, to see what is going on in our school system. I’m glad to be a part of a school system that supports the arts and administrators who support the arts. That’s huge.”

“Starry, Starry Night,” was the second show this fall. As with all Season Events Series shows, each year it features student-performers from some or all of the GCHS arts programs that include band, choir, drama, forensics, orchestra, television and visual arts.

“These were the first shows here that I have seen,” Jones said. “First of all, to see the talent coming up from the elementary schools and then the wonderful and touching program of ‘Starry, Starry Night’ that included some excellent collaboration. It’s already been wonderful. What struck me about these performances is how much these teachers strive for professionalism, how hard they and their students work, and how professional the performances really are. The caliber of performers they are producing is remarkable! Considering the all-state awards some of these students have earned recently, it’s clear that we have some tremendous talent to highlight and share with the community.”

Originally from Taylorsville in Kentucky’s Bluegrass region, she graduated from Spencer County High School, outside Louisville. She came to Graves County with her husband of 11 years, Jared Jones, a 2000 GCHS graduate. They have a son, Gavin, who is 6 years old, and a daughter, Ella, who is 4.

Jones brings her own performing talents to the PAC.

“I started playing the piano when I was 5 and started performing publicly and professionally when I was young as well – singing, playing piano competitively,” she noted, with a smile. “After high school, I went to the University of Louisville. I majored in music education and studied piano and vocals there. I had played clarinet in high school as well and loved that.”

After attending college, “I received more and more opportunities to work with music in churches,” she said. “I’ve been a worship leader since I was 16 and was offered opportunities to be in full-time music positions at churches and to lead whole music ministries. So, I’ve directed bands, choirs, and drama groups. I tell people I’ve done everything from opera to Southern gospel,” Jones concluded, with a laugh. “I still teach vocals and piano privately and I still participate in choirs. The performing arts always have been a big part of my life.”

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