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Dr. Sharon J. Willis

Author, Composer and Arranger

Raised in Atlanta, Georgia by maternal aunt, Lillie Mae Thrasher in Eagan Homes in the Vine City Community of Atlanta, the composer attended English Avenue Elementary School and Washington High School. Willis credits her elementary school music teacher Ms. Ina Mae Martin for giving her a dynamic first choral experience; then Mr. William Revere, her Girl’s Chorus Director for giving her the foundation in theory and sight singing skills which enabled her to matriculate successfully at Clark College where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree.

Willis began composing in high school and received her piano training from Ms. Daisy White on Ashby Street, and later with her college mentor Prof. John DeKoven Killingworth. She was classically trained as a lyric soprano by Dr. Cecily Evelyn Marie Reeves Beasley. Dr. Willis received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Georgia, Athens; Master of Music in Theory from Georgia State University; and a Master of Church Music from Scarritt Graduate School in Nashville, Tennessee. She recently retired from Clark Atlanta University where she served as Chair of the Department of Music for 11 years until June 2016. She is now the returning Chair of Music at Morris Brown College. Dr. Willis is the Founding Director of Americolor Opera Alliance and has composed and premiered more than 14 operatic works and 9 plays; and the only woman in the United States to have done founded an opera company and been its principal composer.

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