Presenter Bios

Dr. Jason Max Ferdinand

Director, The Aeolians

Oakwood University

MASTER CLASS: Conducting

Saturday | April 28th 

3PM & 3:45PM

Jason Max Ferdinand is an Associate Professor, Chair of the Music Department, and Director of Choral Activities at Oakwood University where he conducts the Aeolians of Oakwood University. He also co-conducts the Orchestra, and teaches theory and advance choral conducting. A native of Trinidad & Tobago, Ferdinand received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Piano from the Oakwood College (now Oakwood University) (1999), the Master of Arts in Choral Conducting from Morgan State University (2001), and the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting with a minor in Orchestra Conducting from the University of Maryland (2015). 


As a doctoral student, Dr. Ferdinand was privileged to have studied under the heedful eyes of Dr. Edward MaClary who is a protégé of the late Robert Shaw and also studied and collaborated with Helmuth Rilling, Margaret Hillis and Robert Page. During his time at the university, he served as co-director for the University Choir and was an assistant conductor for the Chamber Singers and the Maryland Chorus. In addition, he taught

undergraduate conducting classes.  In the summer of 2006, Ferdinand was selected to lead the Summer Choral and Orchestral Festival Program at the University of Maryland. Jim Ross, a former pupil of Kurt Masur and Leonard Bernstein served as his orchestral conducting teacher.


Under Dr. Ferdinand’s baton, the Aeolians of Oakwood University have graced stages the world over. Their repertoire of choral music which ranges from the Baroque era to the 21st century has been sought after and performed at venues throughout the USA, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Poland, Romania, Great Britain, Russia, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Hungary.  Capping off a successful 2011 – 2012 Concert Series which saw the Aeolians visiting Moscow, Russia as part of the Russia-US Bilateral Presidential Commission on development of cooperation between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, they made their inaugural entrance at the 7th World Choir Games held in Cincinnati, USA, resulting in the choir earning gold medals in all three categories of entrance and the overall championship for the Spiritual category. 


In October 2015, Ferdinand made his debut at Carnegie Hall conducting the Aeolians, the Altino Brothers Concert Chorale and the Beyond Boundaries Symphony Orchestra. Later that month, Ferdinand directed the Aeolians as they accompanied the world acclaimed soprano, Kathleen Battle at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center in her, “Underground Railroad: A spiritual Journey” Concert Series. In January 2016, Ferdinand directed the Alabama Symphony Orchestra as they accompanied the Aeolians in a collaborated annual Martin Luther King Jr. tribute at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center in Birmingham, Alabama. 


The summer of 2017 was a highlight in Dr. Ferdinand’s career. Having attended the LLangollen International Musical Festival, in Wales, UK as a doctoral student with the University of Maryland in 2007, he returned as the director of the Aeolians of Oakwood University and won the coveted “2017 Choir of the World” award along with the event’s first ever “Most Outstanding Director” award.


Ferdinand maintains an active schedule as a presenter, adjudicator and guest conductor for high schools, collegiate, and church choirs throughout North America, Europe, and the Caribbean. He is a former board member of the Alabama American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), and a current member of the national ACDA.  He continues to actively compose and to mentor up-and-becoming composers. His greatest passion is watching those who he has mentored as conductors and composers, become conductors and composers in their own right.

Dr. Julie Moore Foster

Mezzo-Soprano & Vocologist

Director, Voice Studies

Oakwood University


Saturday | April 28th 

3PM & 3:45PM

Julie Moore Foster, sees the voice as a canvas. New York Times opera critic, Bernard Holland described her performance as the Ghost Mother in Cesti’s La Dori as, “a striking bit of tone painting.” John Holly of the Trenton Symphony Orchestra chose her to perform a portrait of the legendary contralto Marian Anderson, entitled, “The Lady from Philadelphia”. The Times of Trenton/Princeton, Music Critic Donald Delany stated, “Ms. Moore, was faced with the daunting, really impossible task of attempting to recreate the aura of Marian Anderson, but she did a remarkable job…a wonderful instrument, which she produced without effort from top to bottom”. 


As a featured soloist for the Michigan Opera Theatres, summer “Opera at Chene Park”, Julie was chosen as the Mezzo-Soprano soloist in a B.B.C. televised performance of Bernstien’s Chicester Psalms with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Sir Charles Groves. She was the featured soloist in the Brahms Alto Rapsody with the Markham Philharmonia under the direction of Christopher Cotton at Convocation Hall in Toronto, Ontario.

She has studied and Coached with opera professionals including Joan Dorneman of the Metropolitan Opera, and noted opera conductor and vocal coach Benton Hess, to name a few. She has performed sacred works from Bach to Durufle.  In Huntsville, she performed as mezzo-soprano soloist with the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Mozart’s Requiem.


As the director of Voice Studies at Oakwood University, Julie has expanded the Vocal Pedagogy Program with a lecture and facility visit at the Wilkerson Voice Center at Vanderbilt University Hospital. She has enjoyed the success of her students, who debuted at the New York City Opera, Chicago Lyric, and others.  Her students have been accepted into leading graduate programs in this country, and have won the National Classical Singer Competition, Metropolitan Opera Competitions, among many other awards. She was invited to participate as Graduate Committee member, for Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University.


Julie holds a BA in Performance from Marygrove College, in Detroit, an MA in Vocal Performance from the Mannes College of Music in New York City, and a Doctorate in Vocal Pedagogy from the Catholic University of America, Washington D.C. Julie is a Certified Vocologist.

Recently, Julie has Production of Soul Songs:  A Study of Songs That Move Us, digital recording.


Saturday | April 28th 

3PM & 3:45PM

Dr. Wayne Bucknor

Songwriter & Professor of Piano

Oakwood University

Wayne Bucknor is associate professor of piano, a position he has held since 1998. He is also an active songwriter and accomplished a feat of composing a song a day for the 2016 calendar year.

Bucknor was born in Queens, New York, and grew up in Orlando, Florida. Raised in a musically talented family, he was the first to seriously pursue formal study in music, starting with piano lessons at age 6. He continued music study in Orlando with Drucilla Engel at the Iris Engel Daniel School of Music.

Bucknor graduated from Oakwood College in 1994 with a BA in Music and a BS in Computer Science. Bucknor completed a Masters in Music Education at Alabama A & M University in 1998 and a Doctorate in Musical Arts in piano performance and pedagogy at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2008.

Bucknor is a concert pianist and has had the opportunity to perform the Beethoven 3rd piano concerto with members of the Huntsville, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. symphony orchestras. He is also a songwriter, producer, and arranger for

soloists and groups, including Virtue (I Must Tell Jesus, Angels Watching Over Me, Till You Believe (piano), the Madison Mission Mass Choir (Great and Marvelous, Open Praise, Lord We Have Come, etc.), Ann McCrary, Duawne Starling, Darwin Hobbs (God Restores) and others who have included his work for them on their recordings. In September and October 2006, he toured in Japan with the nationally known Grammy award-winning group Take 6, where he substituted for the ensemble's baritone Cedric Dent. He substituted for Khristian Dentley for a Take 6 Christmas tour in December 2015. In December 2013, he served as music director, orchestrator, and arranger for the Michael Card and Phil Keaggy Christmas Tour. He is also an accompanist for the award-winning Aeolians of Oakwood University.

Bucknor completed a CD album entitled '40 Years: God Is Good'. The songs were all written, arranged, and produced by Bucknor and includes a couple of piano solos, and original songs featuring Duawne Starling, Tamara Bodie, Committed, Sherice Tomlin, Carmen Hope Thomas, Milton Doggette, Jamel Strong, Robbie Pressley, Theron Thomas, Bryan Cordell, Kevin & Shavonne Sampson, and the Bucknor Kids. He is a published writer through GIA publications and self-publishes through his company, Bucknor Publishing.  Bucknor is married to Carmen Byars. They have three children, Nina, Wayne II, and Cameryn.

Mr. Terrell Hunt

Songwriter, Recording Artist

Worship Leader

Terrell Hunt is a Stellar Award nominated worship leader and recording artist based in Nashville, TN. 
As the Founder of ArkBearers International, a music ministry leadership consulting firm, Terrell serves as a consultant to new artists and music ministries alike. He travels abroad offering a master class series called “Carrying the Ark…Changing the Atmosphere: The Levite Perspective” which also consists of training and development workshops for worship leaders and worship leading teams. His coaching comes complete with strategic planning and "roadmapping" for growth and development on both music industry and music ministry forefronts. 
A recording artist with over 20 years in the music industry, Terrell has had the privilege of working with some of the greatest in the industry, and has lent his "gospel-meets-soul" vocal stylings to musical works all over the globe. With 2 EP’s releasing in March 2018, "You Did It" and “Moments”, Terrell has no intentions of slowing down. In fact, he says, "I'm just getting started!” 

MASTER CLASS: "Carrying the Ark...Changing the Atmosphere: The Levite Perspective"

Saturday | April 28th 

3PM & 3:45PM

Choir Management & Organization –

“Long Live the Director”

Saturday | April 28th 

3PM & 3:45PM

Mr. Cleveland "Murphy" Wilson 

Director, Inspirational Choir

Huntsville First SDA Church

On December 26, 1971 Murphy Wilson and the former Antoinette Snodgrass were excited about the vows they had just exchanged.  Under normal circumstances the two might have never met, however, both admit that their meeting had the hand of the Lord in it.


Murphy was born Cleveland Thaddeus in New Haven, CT to Pastor and Mrs. Russel Wilson. The oldest of three children, Murphy (a name given pre-birth by his father) was exposed to music at a very young age. It would be a move to Buffalo, New York that would prove most influential.  At his father’s church Emmanuel Temple, his childhood involvement with Fred D. Willis Sr. and family further helped him appreciate all types of music, which he still stays close to today.


When Murphy attended college, unknowingly six miles from the future love of his life, he continued his involvement with music. While attending a then Oakwood College, Murphy immersed himself in its musical culture while making a mark all his own. He became the founder and director of the “Capelle Choral,”

that combined his love of both a capella and gospel music. Not too long after this, Murphy met Antoinette Snodgrass and they married shortly thereafter. From that moment on, the two were rarely apart.  


By 1975, Murphy and Antoinette started the First Church Young Adult Choir lovingly called “Murphy’s band of Mercenaries” by Pastor D. B. Reed. After growing larger, and getting older, the name was changed to “The Inspirational Choir.”


Although music is a huge part of his life, he celebrated his love of teaching even more. Murphy, who taught sixth grade for more than thirty years in the Huntsville City School System, took humor, life lessons and sometimes music into the classroom to create an environment every child was comfortable in. Although retired, Murphy never strays too far from the classroom.


On March 12, Murphy lost the love of his life. While this was a great lost, which sent waves throughout the choir and gospel community, was expected to stop his ministry, Murphy accepted a calling on his life to continue God’s work. His testimony, “What Is Your Day,” has changed lives, brought people to Christ, and grown what was already a massive music ministry to greater heights.


Today, Murphy can still be found in front of the Inspirational Choir on 4th Sabbath. He also lends his directing and musical talents to the Gospel Choir at St. John A.M.E. Church every second Sunday. This brother, father, grandfather, award-winning educator, and “Minister of Music” remains humbled about where he is now. “We never set out to be here,” he admits, “but clearly, the Lord still has something for me to do.” We couldn’t agree more, Murphy. We couldn’t agree more.