USF, ACDA to Host Music and Social Justice Presentation on April 5

Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) Music and Performing Arts Department and the Illinois chapter of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) will host Jason Max Ferdinand, DMA, for a special virtual presentation and discussion on the intimate connections between music and social justice in a session for choral directors, students, and the community on Monday, April 5 at 7 p.m. CDT.

Ferdinand’s book, “Teaching with Heart: Tools for Addressing Societal Challenges through Music”, will serve as platform for the discussion, which will delve into Ferdinand’s experiences as conductor of the Aeolians of Oakwood University and as an agent for cultural change.

Paul Laprade, USF Music and Performing Arts Department chair, said the presentation and discussion hold a special significance within the USF choral curriculum.

“We have been among the first schools to incorporate Dr. Ferdinand’s work into our choral curriculum this year, so this is a special honor for all of us.  The ACDA grant, which has made this event possible, supports the costs of hosting, advertising, and bringing Dr. Ferdinand–a 2020 Grammy nominee for his choral work–to our classroom and to the wider ACDA organization,” Laprade said.

To sign up for the event, visit or contact Paul Laprade, USF Music and Performing Arts Department chair, at for more information.

About Jason Max Ferdinand

Jason Max Ferdinand is the director of choral activities, professor, and chair of the music department at Oakwood University. He directs the Aeolians of Oakwood University and, as evidenced by noteworthy awards, has distinguished himself on the national and international choral stages.  In 2017, he earned the Outstanding Director and Choir of the World awards at the Llangollen International Musical Festival, in Wales. In 2018, his choir won three gold medals at the 10th World Choir Games held in South Africa, and also won the competition’s overall championship in both the Spirituals and University Choir categories. He is a published composer with GIA publications, and is exhilarated about  his new choral series with Walton Music. In 2018, he was named “Teacher of the Year” by Oakwood University. The Aeolians made their first appearance at the national conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in 2019 and the term “they broke ACDA” was used to describe their outstanding presentation. “Teaching with Heart” is a new book released by Ferdinand and is a useful choral compendium for all choral directors. Ferdinand holds non-terminal degrees from Oakwood University, Morgan State University, and a doctorate in choral conducting from the University of Maryland.

: :

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 51,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

# # #