Music Educator/Adjudicator/Clinician


Jimmy Cheek was a 10th grade high school drop-out that eventually earned a Ph.D.

Here’s his story.

Jimmy was raised in a musical family and is the eldest of five children. His father was a striving record producer/promoter and mother sang background in a local group managed by his father, known as the Daydreams. While growing up, his early music listening experiences were provided by his father, whom would often bring music projects home and play the songs repeatedly on the record player. Jimmy was often asked to identify the various instruments. When in 5th grade, Jimmy joined the school band and learned to play saxophone. During his 7th grade year, he got into a fight at school and was suspended for a week. His father thought that he needed something to do while at home that week, so he decided to take advantage of an instrument rental plan being offered by a local music store and rented an organ. Jimmy’s father told him, he could keep the organ if he could play a song on it by the end of the week.  Jimmy would sit at the organ for several hours each day and practiced. At the end of the week, not only was he able to play a song, but he had his 3-year-old sister, Paula singing as he played.  The duo continued to practice and began to perform in local churches. They eventually became so popular that they held a full concert in the Greensboro Coliseum’s Town Hall and later opened for the renown gospel artist, Shirley Caesar at a concert venue in Durham, North Carolina.


While in middle school, Jimmy continued to play saxophone in the school band and he also joined the school chorus. He loved singing and developed a passion for chorus class. Upon entering high school, he continued with chorus instead of band. During his 10th grade year, Jimmy struggled to deal with factors associated with the divorce of his parents. As a form of rebellion, he started to skip school. These excessive absences resulted in his failure to pass the 10th grade. After being retained, Jimmy decided to quit school. He was always competitive and soon he realized that his friends would have a high school diploma and would be afforded opportunities that he wasn’t qualified to obtain. It was this realization that inspired him to get a General Equivalency Diploma (GED).  After getting his high school diploma, Jimmy joined the United States Airforce in intelligence communication and after serving his country, he received an honorable discharge.  As he applied for jobs after his military service, he realized that he was being told no from most of the jobs he sought to obtain because the position required a college degree. It was the “no, not qualified” that inspired him to eventually enroll in college and continue until he had the highest possible degree in his field of interest, which always was music.






The effect of race and racial perception on adjudicators' ratings of choral performances attributed to racially homogeneous and racially heterogeneous groups

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Singing Brothers of Stilwell to perform in Texas

Clayton County Public Schools

about a month ago


Clayton County Public Schools is proud to announce that Martha Ellen Stilwell School of the Arts (MESSOA) students Cardell Smart, Kalissa Hernandez and LinDell McFadden have been selected to participate in the National Association of Music Educator’s (NAfME) 2018 All-National Honors Choir! Designed to be a representation of talented musicians across the United States, the choir will perform as part of the NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles Program at Disney’s Coronado Spring... See More