Dear Parents and Students:
It has been my honor to serve as the Choral Director at Walton High School for the past eighteen years. I am very proud of all that we have accomplished. Our choirs have been invited to perform at the state music education conference five times (this is the choral equivalent of winning the state championship), we have consistently earned top ratings at choral evaluations, we have performed in some of the most prestigious venues in Europe and the United States, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, with the Atlanta Master Chorale and for the Braves and Hawks. But, most importantly, we have created a family in Walton Chorus. A place for students to work for beauty, find joy, strive for excellence, and feel valued.
Next year will be an opportunity for a new beginning as we will finally be able to sing again as a choir! It is the right time for new leadership. I came to this community in 2003, the year that this yearâ€™s seniors were born, so it seems fitting for me to â€œgraduateâ€ with them. I am retiring and will be moving to Lake Oconee. You will still see me in East Cobb on Wednesdays and Sundays, as my husband and I will continue to be the music director and organist at St. Catherineâ€™s Episcopal Church.
Our fantastic Mrs. Allyn, Mrs. Taylor and Mrs. Harrell will all be continuing next year. I cannot thank Mrs. Allyn enough for all that she is and means to me. As you know, she is the best! I so enjoyed being her teacher and then getting to work with her the past eight years â€“ well, it has been a great ride!
And, I am thrilled that Walton Chorus is in terrific new hands. Mr. Wes Stoner, whom I have also known for eighteen years, has accepted the position. You are going to love him! He is a fantastic musician, has a heart for young people, and is a consummate professional. We are very fortunate to have him as the new choral director! Here is his bio:
â€œA native of Canton, Georgia, Wes Stoner is the Director of Choirs at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet School in Nashville, TN. At MLK, Wes conducts three high school and two middle school choirs for the 7-12 grade school. Before teaching in Nashville, he attended the University of Miamiâ€™s Frost School of Music and is a candidate (ABD) for the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting. Wes earned his bachelor degree in music education from the University of Georgia and his masterâ€™s degree in music education from Michigan State University.
Prior to pursuing the DMA at UM, Wes taught high school choral music for fifteen years in both urban and suburban areas of metropolitan Atlanta, including schools in the Clayton County and Cobb County school districts. In addition to teaching, Wes maintains an active choral performing schedule as a singing member and Assistant Director of the Atlanta-based professional chamber ensemble Coro Vocati, which was chosen to perform for the 2018 Southern Region Conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Louisville, KY. He also sang ten seasons with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and ASO Chamber Chorus, performing numerous times in New Yorkâ€™s Carnegie Hall, Washington D.C.â€™s Kennedy Center, and on two occasions with the Berlin Philharmonic in the Philharmonie in Berlin, Germany. Wes is also a member of the professional choral ensemble that performs for the triennial C.S. Lewis Institute OxBridge Conference in Oxford and Cambridge, England.
Having the opportunity to serve in leadership positions within the state of Georgia and the southeast, Wes is quite familiar with the rich tradition of school choral programs and fine directors that lead them. Wes served as the Choral Division Chair for the Georgia Music Educators Association. Wes has also served on the board for the Georgia chapter of the American Choral Directors Association.â€
Thank you, students, parents, Walton Chorus Boosters, Mrs. Allyn, Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Harrell and Walton faculty and administration.
With gratitude and all best wishes,
Dr. Jana Williams
May 11, 2021