Our Choirs

Honors Choir Festival

16th Annual First Coast Honors Choir

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Mandarin Presbyterian Church | 2501 Loretto Road, Jacksonville, FL 32223

The Jacksonville Children’s Chorus's (JCC) one-day event to honor local fourth through seventh grade children who have been recognized by their music educators for their singing ability, musical aptitude and strong work ethic. The children spend the day rehearsing with a nationally recognized clinician and conductor. The event culminates in a performance of the newly-formed Honors Choir. 

Held in conjunction with the Honors Choir Festival, JCC holds the Midwinter Music Workshop with our guest conductors to provide enrichment and continuing education to area music educators. This free breakfast and education seminar is open to all Florida public and private school music teachers.

For participating singers, the registration fee is $40.00.  The fee includes the music, t-shirt and lunch.


Teacher Registration

Registration for Honors Choir singers is now closed.


 The Honors Choir Festival Day Schedule for participants:  

10:15-10:45am  Check-in at Mandarin Presbyterian Church

11:00am-12:30pm  Rehearsals with Guest Conductor (songs that singers have been practicing)

12:30-1:30pm  Lunch and Break

1:30-3:30pm  Rehearsals

3:30pm-4:45pm  Stage Walk-Through/Rehearsal

5:00pm  Concert

The doors will open for general admission seating at 4:45 pm. The concert will begin at 5:00 pm. Admission is $10.  Parents will be able to purchase tickets upon singer check-in at 10:15 AM or at the door in the afternoon.

Contact Information:  

Honors Choir Performance Coordinators

Michelle Akser


Diana Wooten


Phone: 904.353.1636, ext. 6

About the Guest Conductors

Girl's Ensemble Conductor 

John Tisbert

Esther F. Garrison School for the Arts, Savannah, Georgia

John Tisbert, a National Board Certified Teacher, directs choirs at the Esther F. Garrison School for the Arts - Garrison Voices and has taught vocal music since 1983. He has a Specialist in Education Degree from the University of Georgia, a Master of Arts in Music Education with an emphasis on the Orff Approach from The University of St. Thomas, a Bachelor of Music degree from the Crane School of Music and Kodaly training from the Hartt School of Music.

In addition to directing Garrison Voices to critical acclaim throughout the Savannah area, John conducted the ensemble in a solo spotlight performance at Carnegie Hall for the 2018 Choirs of America Nationals for Top Choirs. He is the Festival Director of Savannah Sings, Savannah’s annual invitational choir festival promoting vocal music education with the hugely popular Men’s Festival Chorus and includes spotlight performances by top school and community Choirs. He has conducted Elementary, Middle and High School Honor Choirs throughout the Northeast, Georgia and Florida; and is past associate director of The Savannah Children’s Choir. Additionally, Garrison Voices consistently scores superior scores at Georgia Music Educators Association’s Performance Evaluations as well as participates in Georgia All State Chorus every year.

John was Garrison’s 2016 teacher of the year as well as a former technology coordinator for Georgia Music Educators. He presented Computer Assisted Composition sessions at the National Education Computing Conference, the International Society for Music Education Conference, the Georgia Music Educators Association In-Service Conference as well as vocal improvisation workshops for The Vermont Music Educators Association.


Boy's Ensemble Conductor 

Dr. Charlie Toomer

Edward Waters College, Jacksonville, Florida

Dr. Charlie J. Toomer, Jr., currently serves as the Director of Choral Activities at Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, FL. His experience as a choral director for over fifteen years has enabled him to effectively build and manage successful choral programs. He has a proven history of implementing strategic recruiting practices that have led to the growth of choral programs under his tutelage. His positive professional presence in rural, suburban and urban communities is evidenced in the array of top vocalists that he’s been able to recruit to his choirs nationwide.

Dr. Toomer’s teaching career in choral music education led him to Palmetto, FL where he served as Choir Director for the Manatee School for the Arts.  Under his direction, he was able to triple the number of students in the choral program the very next year.

He has served as Director of Choral Activities at Florida A&M University where he taught Applied Voice, Conducting, Choral Techniques, and also directed the FAMU Concert Choir and the FAMU Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He was instrumental in building partnerships between the university and neighboring public school systems by hosting workshops, adjudicating district and state festivals and holding master classes with various choral groups. He consistently worked with public and private school choral directors to enhance the appreciation of choral music.

Under his direction the FAMU Concert Choir performed at the Florida Music Educators National Conference now known as the National Association for Music Education in Tampa, FL, in Anchorage Alaska for BP and Exxon Mobile and at the invitation of Rita Marley, the choir performed at the 65th Birthday Celebration of Bob Marley in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. One of Dr. Toomer’s biggest achievements was his selection to serve as the Director for the All-State High School Men’s Choir in Florida.

Dr. Charlie J. Toomer, Jr. holds a Ph.D. in Choral Conducting /Music Education and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting performance degree from Florida State University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Florida A&M University. He is a member of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA), National Association for Music Education (NAfME), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity of America, and Kappa, Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity. He also serves as Director of Music at Woodlawn Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville, FL. 




“Through music and your leadership, these children learn to perform in different languages while experiencing the diversity of an array of world cultures. The understanding they gain will serve them well as they enter adulthood.”

R. Randall Onstead, former President/CEO of Winn-Dixie

“Being a part of the JCC has not only allowed Christian to experience the fun, excitement and pleasure of singing with friends, it has also helped him to develop a sense of confidence that comes from life skills of hard work and perseverance.”

Elaine Bourne, JCC Parent

“Music plays a major role in the full development of a child. Not only does it enrich lives, it also serves as a pathway for students to express themselves and explore new ways to communicate with others. For 20 years, kudos to the JCC for molding the lives of young artists, and I look forward to the next 20 years.”

Tim Cost, President, Jacksonville University

“It is gratifying the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus program covers so much of what is not available to children in the Duval Public Schools. The children who have an opportunity to participate in your Chorus are very fortunate to have this outstanding musical training available to them. The entire community benefits from your talent and that of the children.”

Dr. Frances B. Kinne, Chancellor Emeritus and Past President, Jacksonville University

“The Chorus expands your musical horizons and helps you grow as a person. You are surrounded with other young people who have something in common…their love of music. I have learned that music does, indeed, bring people and cultures together. The music we sing brings people hope for a better future of understanding and cooperation.”

Jasmine, 16, Touring and Concert Choirs