MSU professor training the next generation of music teachers

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – A Mississippi State University professor is making music and memories with his students.

Dr. Gary Packwood has been using music to bring people together for more than three decades – as a professor in university music departments and in venues across the country and all over the world.

“I go to South America a lot. So I’ve been to Brazil maybe eight or nine times conducting and teaching,” he said.

Packwood has been at Mississippi State for the past 11 years and is the director choral activities in the music department. He says teaching has always been his passion.

“I never wanted to be a performer. I just didn’t get all the feels that I do when I see a student achieve. Even now after 31 years – when I see a student achieve – that’s what gives me the feels.”

He says one of his greatest joys is directing the MSU Singers, choral group of about 50 students. They perform and tour regionally to help recruit new students.

Packwood says part of instructing and directing the group is helping the singers gain a deeper appreciation for different genres of music.

He said, “Whether it’s teaching them the discipline of it or accolades or whatever it is we have to do. So I think the best way we can teach our students to have passion is to show them our passion.”

The MSU will perform Tuesday night at First Baptist Church in Starkville at 7:00pm.

The choir will present a special Black History Month concert featuring songs – both sacred and secular – by African American composers.




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