Meet the Directors

Ja’Shon Burks

Ja'Shon Burks

Ja’Shon Burks is the choral director of Varsity Singers, The First Edition, A Capella and Accents. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Choral Music Education while at Huntington University. While at Huntington, Ja’Shon was also the founder and director of the Huntington University Gospel Choir where he finished his 18th year of directing gospel choirs. Throughout his career, Burks has had the opportunity to serve as the musical director for “A Charlie Brown Christmas” through the Huntington County Theater Guild, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” through the Pioneer Jr-Sr High School Theater Company, “The Little Mermaid” through the Logansport Junior Civic Theater, and “Annie” through the Logansport Junior Civic Theater. Throughout his career, Ja’Shon has had the opportunity to direct many wonderful students and help lead them to multiple GOLD ISSMA ratings in singing and sight-reading, First place/Grand Champion, and National Championship awards. Also, during his career, Burks has performed professionally and has been featured as the tenor/baritone soloist in the 2014 performance of Theodore Dubois’s Seven Last Words with the Huntington University/Community Choir and Orchestra, as well as the featured tenor soloist in the 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Huntington University/Huntington Community Choir and Orchestra; He also had the honor to serve as the conductor of the same choral work in 2015. Ja’Shon continues to work as a music educator, professional performer as well as a freelance choreographer, adjudicator, and clinician for various show choirs and concert choirs throughout the state of Indiana. He resides in Logansport, Indiana with his wonderful wife Larissa and their three fur-children, Tala, Maui, and Sarabi. J

John Satterfield

John SatterfieldJohn Satterfield is the choral director of The First EditionCSN and Accents, and also teaches courses in piano. John received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education from Illinois State University and his graduate degree from Eastern Illinois University. John has taught vocal music in several schools throughout Illinois and Indiana for the past 25 years and has served as a vocal clinician at several music festivals and show choir competitions.

In 1991, Mr. Satterfield studied opera performance throughout Germany and Austria. Mr. Satterfield has performed in several operas, operettas, musicals, and appeared as a soloist for several major oratorios. He has performed the roles of Albert Herring in the opera Albert Herring by Benjamin Britten, Basilio in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Nanki-Poo in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, John Adams in 1776 and most recently as Prof. Harold Hill in the Civic Under the Stars’ production of The Music Man.

Verda Slinkard

Verda SlinkardVerda Slinkard is the choral director of Expressions and A Cappella, and also teaches courses in piano. A graduate of Indiana State University (B.A. in Choral Education), Verda earned her Master’s Degree in Guidance Counseling at Indiana University. Before coming to Jefferson, she taught at Edgewood High School (Ellettsville, IN) for 36 years.

During her tenure at EHS, Ms. Slinkard developed four outstanding choral groups: Edgewood Singers, a small mixed ensemble; New Edition, a beginning show choir; Sophisticated Ladies, a female show choir; Music Warehouse, a mixed show choir. For many years Ms. Slinkard’s groups have long been regarded as major trend setters in the nation. Many innovations in the show choir idiom originally began at Edgewood High School.

In addition to her duties as a public school music educator, Ms. Slinkard has had the opportunity to share her love of music and performance by serving on the staff of Show Choir Camps of America for the past 32 years. In April 2012 she also was the recipient of FAME Lifetime Achievement Award.