HALL OF FAME
The Ethel Holden Brownstone Center for the Art is proud to honor the Fine Arts & Communications Department Hall of Fame. Each year, members of the Brownstone Center and Fine Arts & Communications Department meet to review the accomplishments of various PRCC Fine Art Alumni. Below are the chosen alumni for each Hall of Fame Class.
Class of 2023
Dale Beech attended Pearl River Community College from the Fall of 2009 to the Spring of 2011. While at PRCC, Dale was heavily involved in the Fine Arts & Communications Department with many of the performing ensembles, which include Concert Choir, River Road (show choir), The Voices, Spirit of the River, JazzCats, PRCC Brass Ensemble, and Concert band. He also enrolled in applied lessons focusing on voice, piano, and French horn. Finally, he was able to work as a work-study with the Fine Arts & Communications Department.
After earning his associate’s degree from PRCC (2011), Dale attended The University of Southern Mississippi to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education (2013). He continued with his education at the University of Mississippi to earn a double Master of Music in Choral Conducting & Music Education (2016). More recently, he earned an NBCT certification in Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood in Music (2021).
He began his teaching career as the assistant choral director at Starkville High School (2016) for just a year before moving to Hernando High School (2017-present). At Hernando, he co-teaches middle and high school ensembles. Between him and his colleague, they have five middle school choirs and five high school choirs. Their ensembles consistently earn superior ratings at choral festivals and competitions. In addition to conducting choirs, he teaches dual-credit music appreciation and sponsors the Tri-M Music Honor Society.
Some notable accolades of his choirs include 1st place Treble Choir, 1st place Men’s Choir, 2nd place Mixed Choir – Music in the Parks – St. Louis (2019); Men’s Choir Grand Champion, Bluff City Choral Festival (2021); Middle School Boys 1st place, Ole Miss Choral Festival (2021), HS Treble Choir 1st place & Grand Champion,
Ole Miss Choral Festival (2021, 2022); and Treble Choir, Southern Invitational Choral Conference featured performing choir (2022).
Dale is involved with the choral community in our state. He also regularly serves as a clinical instructor for Student Teaching Interns. Since 2020, Dale has been serving on the MS ACDA board as one of the high school All-State Honor Choir coordinators. More locally, he works with the MidSouth Music Institute (CoroRio) as a bookkeeper and grant manager. Next season, he will be the conductor of the TB ensemble, CoroFuente.
Thomas attended PRCC from the Fall of 1981 to the Spring of 1983 as a music major under the watchful eye of Mr. Archie Rawls. Thomas was involved with the jazz band, orchestra, marching band, and the Mother of Pearl rock group. Upon leaving PRCC he attended Auburn University and received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. While at Auburn, he began his career in advertising at a local advertising agency. Upon graduating, he then moved to a regional advertising agency where he managed major U.S. advertisers such as Walmart, Blockbuster Video, and CITGO. His last agency position had him as the Director of National Broadcast for one of the largest privately held advertising agencies in the world.
After many years of working for other companies, Thomas set out on his own in 1995, developing the business plan for what would become Media Management, Inc. or MMi, which he ran for twenty-seven years. Some of his accomplishments with MMi include the development of patented software unique to the advertising industry; managing a portfolio in excess of $10 billion annually; servicing the largest advertisers in the U.S., such as General Motors, AT&T, Walmart, Subaru, T-Mobile, Home Depot, Coca-Cola and many others; successful acquisition of MMi by a UK publicly traded firm.
As part of his giving back philosophy, Thomas was often a featured speaker at a variety of venues: Kimberly Adams – Marketplace on NPR; Wharton School of Business panel; Consumer pharmaceutical forum; The John Cook School of Business, Washington University; The University of Missouri Journalism School; Judge for the Collegiate World Series of Advertising; Institute of Internal Auditors Gaming Conference.
Along the way, Thomas never lost sight of what was a foundational part of his success, which was his love of music, specifically jazz. Leveraging his success in the business world, he and his wife Elizabeth set out to build a structure whereby they could sponsor A-List musicians to work with various universities around the country. Sponsorships are funded by the Thomas E. & M. Elizabeth Bridge Foundation and have included universities such as The University of Nevada Las Vegas, The Eastman School of Music, North Texas State University, and the University of Miami.
A few of the musicians sponsored include Butch Miles, legendary jazz drummer who worked with Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Dave Brubeck, Mel Torme, and many others throughout his career; Gregg Bissonette, currently on tour with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band; Gregg Field, eight-time Grammy© winner, one-time Oscar© winner and previously, the drummer for Frank Sinatra; Tommy Igoe, kicking off the First Annual Las Vegas Drum Show; Larry Aberman. Thomas and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Las Vegas, NV, enjoying time golfing, traveling, and spoiling their two rescue dogs.
Class of 2022
In spring of 1974, Mr. Charles Cater began his college studies at Pearl River Community College. During his time at PRCC, Mr. Carter was a member of the drum line for the Spirit of the River Marching Band under the direction of Mr. Ray Patten. Charles Carter, also known as “CC”, is a phenomenal singer and musician with over 30 years in the entertainment business. Charles started singing in his church choir as a child where he later became Choir Director. He began playing the flute in a beginner’s band with a flute handed down to him by his oldest sister. Later, as his interest in music continued to grow, Charles taught himself to play the alto and soprano saxophones, drums, and bass guitar. But his first love will always be the flute. Later, “CC” began to play with local bands under the leadership skills of Mr. John Corley where he became interested in “Sound” and, thus, learned to mix and set up sound systems. “CC” is well known locally and has performed in the New Orleans French Quarter, local restaurants, as well as many annual fundraising events, including Waiting for a Cure Breast Cancer Foundation, Homes of Hope for Children, Ribbons of Change Aids Services Coalition, March of Dimes & American Heart Association to name a few. He also serves in the community as Little League Baseball Coach and has served on the Mayor’s Youth Council.
Recently, Charles performed for various State School Boards Associations Regional Conferences, the International Black Broadcasters Association Convention, the Mississippi Black Elected Officials Caucus, the National Council on African American Affairs Conference and the Presidents Round Table for African American CEO’s/Presidents, and with the Mississippi Mass Choir at the Mississippi Grammys. Charles continues to serve faithfully with the nationally known Mississippi Mass Choir as well as in the Music and Choir Ministry at his local church where he also serves in the Youth Ministry. Over the years Charles has branched out and has established his own sound system business, Carter Sound and Music Solutions, LLC; and he has a One-Man Show, “Charles “CC” Carter “LIVE”. Charles has discovered his God-given talents and purpose in life: “To serve God with all my heart. To use all the gifts and talents God has given me, while remaining humble, and to sow LOVE, PEACE, JOY & HAPPINESS into the souls of everyone I meet.”
Originally from Lumberton Mississippi, Mr. Owen Hale was recruited by Mr. Ray Patten to join the Pearl River Community College marching band in the fall of 1970. At the time Owen’s primary instrument was the trumpet, and he received a full scholarship to attend PRCC. It wasn’t until he was in college that he became interested in playing drums and taught himself to play. In fact, Mr. Hale credited his 15 years playing the trumpet in developing his skill and ability to hear all the instrumental parts so easily in a song.
After PRCC, he moved to Jackson and started playing gigs, meeting people, and consistently trying to learn more and seek opportunities to work as a studio musician. Eventually his persistence paid off and his first break came when he was asked by Mike Daniels of North American Recording in Jackson, MS to play on a Marissa DeFranco session for Elektra records. After working in Jackson for a few years as a performer and studio musician, he was asked by Rick Hall, owner of FAME studios, to move to Muscle Shoals and start cutting demos. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and Owen jumped on it, launching his career as a studio and touring drummer for some of the most well-known artists in the world. Over the course of his impressive career as a studio musician in Muscle Shoals, Nashville, and as a touring drummer, Mr. Hale has played with artists including Tammy Wynette, David Allen Coe, Toby Keith, George Strait, Dolly Parton, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Mr. Hale is listed as the studio drummer on well over 100 recordings.
Class of 2021
Billy Carr is a 1996 graduate of Purvis High School. After graduating from Purvis, he attended Pearl River where he was a member of RiverRoad,The Pearl River Singers, and the Baptist Student Union. Mr. Carr has worked in the commercial construction industry since his time at Pearl River. He is currently a Senior Project Manager/Estimator for Hanco Construction in Hattiesburg Mississippi. Billy has been able to use his knowledge of performing arts and construction to engineer and build the sets for Spark, Petal Middle School’s award winning showchoir. In 2020 he was elected Parent of the Year at Petal Middle School.
Billy and Jennifer met during their time together in RiverRoad and are thankful for the opportunities and experiences they were provided by PRCC. The Carr are members of Asbury Church and enjoy serving together on the Asbury Praise Team. They live in Petal, Mississippi with their two children, Nate and Audrey Kate, who are students at Petal High School and members of the Petal High Showchoirs.
Jennifer Kilpatrick Carr is a 1995 graduate of Petal High School. She attended Pearl River Community College for two years. During her time at Pearl River she was a member of RiverRoad, The Voices, and The Pearl River Singers. She was also a Student Government Representative and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Following PRCC she attended the University of Southern Mississippi, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Mrs. Carr began her teaching career in Lamar County and spent thirteen years in the classroom teaching mostly middle school math. During her teaching career she used her experiences from her days in the Fine Arts program at Pearl River to start a showchoir group at Baxterville School. She enjoyed sharing her love of performing with other students. Mrs. Carr earned her Masters Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2012. She is currently serving as the Assistant Principal of Petal Elementary School.
Ancel Ray Patten, Jr, .was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi and spent his boyhood years in Rolling Fork, where his father (Ray) was the band director. Ray’s students referred to him as “chief”, and Buddy was around so much that they began to call him “Little Chief!” He began playing in his father’s band in the second grade, learning to play whatever instrument his father needed in the band. Eventually he settled on the euphonium, and he became one of the best players in the country. After moving to Poplarville, he was selected to be in the Lion’s Club all-state band all four summers in high school. He went on to graduate from Pearl River Jr. College in 1970 and from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1972, where he was president for a time of the Golden Eagles Marching band.
After graduation, Buddy enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a bandsman. He spent two years in Washington at McChord Air Force Base and two years in Washington, D.C. at Bolling Air Force Base. Following his time in the Air Force, Buddy returned to Mississippi as the band director at Purvis High School. However, he felt called into ministry and left after one year to attend seminary. While in school, he served as the music minister for First Baptist Church, in Vancouver, Washington. After graduation, he was called to a small rural community, where he served as pastor of the Boistfort Community Church for almost 20 years.
In 1999, Buddy left the ministry to return to being a full time music teacher. He taught everything from elementary school music to choirs and high school bands. His favorite position was as the elementary school music teacher in a school of less privileged kids. For him it was still a sacred calling to love those students and give them a good foundation in music. When he could no longer teach due to his illness, he would take his whistles and flutes down to the hospital and play for the patients who had to spend hours getting chemo and dialysis treatments. He would often play their requested songs and then just sit with them to help pass the time.
Class of 2020
Ray Patten was a native of Angie, Louisiana and a graduate of Bogalusa High School. He served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theater during WWII. He received his undergraduate degree from Southeastern Louisiana College, his Master’s degree from the University of Southern Mississippi, and completed post graduate courses at the Eastman School of Music. After first owning a music store, he began his career as a band director at Rolling Fork High School in 1949. In 1962, he became the band director and Chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Pearl River Community College and served in that position until his retirement in 1979. During his tenure at PRCC, the Fine Arts Department was moved to Moody Hall and a new band hall was constructed. He was the director of the Mississippi Jr. College All-State Band in 1976. Patten was the choir director at First United Methodist Church, a charter member of Poplarville Lions Club and was selected by the North Pearl River Chamber of Commerce as its Citizen of the Year in 1980.
Charles was a student at Pearl River Community College and a member of the Pearl River Concert Singers, RiverRoad, and The Voices from 2007 to 2010. He transferred to the University of Mississippi, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism, cum laude. While at the University of Mississippi he was on the Chancellor’s list in 2010 and 2011, named Who’s Who Among American Universities and Colleges in 2012, and a member of the Gamma Beta Phi, Kappa Tau Alpha, and Alpha Lambda Delta honors societies. He was a member of Ole Miss Men’s Glee and worked as a staff writer for the Daily Mississippian newspaper, assigned to the civil rights beat. He attended the University of Mississippi School of Law, where he earned his Juris Doctorate degree with a concentration in criminal law, cum laude, and received the William Gates Scholarship Award. In 2013, he studied abroad in the United Kingdom at the University of Cambridge. In 2014, he volunteered at the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office in Memphis, TN, prosecuting domestic violence cases with a limited practice license. He was admitted to the Louisiana Bar as an attorney in 2015 and worked as a felony prosecutor for the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office in New Orleans, LA, in 2015 and 2016. Since 2016 he has worked as a felony prosecutor for the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office in Lake Charles, LA. He has prosecuted thousands of felonies and held many jury trials, including several homicide cases and one capital case, State v. Kevin Daigle.
Class of 2019
Madelyn Lee dedicated twenty – three years of service to Pearl River Community College. During her time, she taught class piano, piano lessons, music appreciation, and music theory. Lee also took pride in educating students on how to pass the piano proficiency. She understood how the piano proficiency is an intimidating requirement to many music majors. Numerous students have passed the proficiency test and excelled in their careers thanks to her diligence. Lee retired in 2010 and has been enjoying retired life.
Donna Matthews earned her Bachelor and Master of Education degrees from Mississippi College and additional graduate work at William Carey University. Matthews moved to Pearl River Community College in 2001 as a part of the Fine Arts and Communications Department, where she taught public speaking, theater appreciation, and theater production. She retired in 2008 but continued teaching adjunct until moving to Columbia, South Carolina in 2014. Matthews taught public speaking at Midlands Technical College in Columbia until permanently retiring in 2017.
Isaac White started his fine arts career by studying theater at the Mississippi School of the Arts in its inaugural year. Upon graduating high school, he attended Pearl River Community College where he participated in Pearl River Singers, RiverRoad, art, and theater productions. During his time at Pearl River, White studied Visual Arts and pursued a degree in Art Education from Delta State University. Upon graduating cum laude from Delta State, White began teaching at Leake County Elementary School where he built an art program from the ground up with a minimal budget. White now teaches Art 1 to a variety of students at Northwest Rankin High School.
Class of 2018
Connie Holmes taught speech and drama courses at Pearl River Community College from 1971-2001, sponsored Delta Psi Omega community college theater honor society, and directed children’s theater as well as PRCC productions, including a dinner theater. Holmes directed the String of Pearls dance team for more than twenty years. After her retirement, Holmes taught part-time at the Forrest County Center.
Dr. Mark Malone served as Director of Choral Music at Pearl River Community College from 1985 to 2006. During his time at PRCC, his ensembles made three concert tours to Europe and performed widely in venues throughout the United States. Dr. Malone then joined William Carey University as Coordinator of Music Education and Professor of Music for twelve years. He now serves as Visiting Professor of Music at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. Dr. Malone serves on the board of directors for the Hattiesburg Art Council and Carey Dinner Theatre, is curriculum designer for the Mississippi Arts Commission, serves as pianist at Purvis United Methodist Church, and is the tenor section leader in The Meistersingers, a Hattiesburg based semi-professional chorus.
Howell Purvis played first trumpet at Pearl River Community College before graduating in 1955 and entering Navy flight training. His career included ten years as a Navy pilot and twenty – two years as a member of the U.S. Secret Service. During that time, he was on the protection details of five presidents, five vice presidents and numerous foreign heads of state. Following retirement, he began playing the trumpet again. Through his association with VFW Post 3036, he has played Taps at over 500 military funerals.
Archie Rawls not only graduated from Pearl River Community College but returned in 1980 as band director. When he retired in 2015, he was chairman of the Department of Fine Arts and Communications and director of the Brownstone Center for the Arts. He was instrumental in the planning and construction of the Brownstone Center, which opened in 2013, and also supervised reconstruction of Moody Hall following Hurricane Katrina. Rawls served as minister of music at Sandy Hook Baptist Church, is the director of the Pearl River County Community Band, and frequently adjudicates regional band festivals.
Michael Sprinkell was a talented euphonium player who had earned numerous honors in high school, including selection through audition for the Lion’s All-State Band for three years. As a music student at Pearl River Community College, he played first chair in the Community College All-State Band. Following his death in a traffic accident when he was a sophomore, his parents, Connie and Becky Sprinkell, established the Michael Sprinkell Memorial Band Scholarship at PRCC.
Brownstone Backstage is an initiative empowering individuals to offer support for the performing arts in their community. By joining the Brownstone Backstage you help our students create the best possible performances in the area, you help maintain the beauty and elegance of the facility, and you help to attract artists from all over to come and perform on the Brownstone stage.