Meet the Directors

Ja’Shon Burks

Ja'Shon Burks

Ja’Shon Burks is the Director of Choirs at Lafayette Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Indiana. He directs Varsity Singers concert choir, and The First Edition mixed show choir. He is also the co/assistant director for the Accents women’s concert choir and the Expressions women’s show choir. He received his Bachelor of Music Degree in Choral Music Education from 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 various productions, including “A Charlie Brown Christmas” through the Huntington County Theater Guild, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and “Once Upon A Mattress” through the Pioneer Jr-Sr High School Theater Company, and “The Little Mermaid” 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. He also had the opportunity to serve as the guest clinician/conductor for the 2020 Circle the State with Song Festival (district 3A). 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 two fur-children, Samson and Sarabi. He is very humbled, honored, and privileged to be able to serve as a director here at Jeff High School and be a part of the Broncho Family.

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.

Charis Vander Plaats

As a proud ‘97 graduate and former member of both First Edition and Varsity Singers, Ms. Vander Plaats is thrilled to be serving the students of Jefferson High School as choral director.  She comes to Jeff High School with over twenty years of teaching both private voice and piano lessons, in addition to elementary and middle school music director for the Lafayette Catholic School system.  She studied at both Ball State University, majoring in music education and Purdue University, majoring in elementary education.  She is currently working towards a Masters in Secondary Education from BSU.  Ms. Vander Plaats also serves as a service musician for both Brown St. United Methodist Church and St. Mary Cathedral.  She has served as piano and vocal judge for local and statewide competitions, served on the Indiana Federation of Music Clubs board, and served as president of the Tippecanoe Music Teachers Association.  Over the past 20 years, she has served as musical assistant and accompanist for many area high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, including Jefferson High School, where she currently serves as an accompanist and vocal director for the fall musical.  She is the Director of Expressions Show Choir and A Cappella.  She is also the instructor for Piano Class 1, Piano Class 2 and Honors Piano Class 2 in the JHS piano lab.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, Dustin and their five children, Michael, Gabriel, Raphaela, Amelie and Maddy. She has two dogs, Butters and Dunkin.