2018 Judges

Ryan Alexander is a musician, percussionist, and former band director. He holds a Master of Music in Performance and a Bachelor’s in Music Education, both from the University of Central Arkansas. In college and as a music educator, he was very active and passionate about making students as well-rounded as they could be. Mr. Alexander is currently working in marketing with the Sentinel Record, but always comes back to music as his first love. He attends Hot Springs Baptist Church, where he has played drums and percussion in the orchestra/choir since 2008. As a freelance educator, Mr. Alexander remains involved with teaching area drum-lines, judging regional and state marching competitions, and assessing students in both solo and ensemble settings. He is married to Bethany, a teacher at Lake Hamilton Middle School. They have two children: Caroline, age 7, and Bennett, age 4.


Shirley Chauvin is a founder of the Hot Springs Jazz Society, and has emphasized the importance of music in our schools and assists in fund-raising for the society scholarship awards. Chauvin has toured the South and Mid-West with Buddy Morrow, Les Elgart, Charlie Barnett, Paul Neighbors and others. She managed and conducted her own Jazz Fusion and Swing Ensembles. She was also the opening act at the “Summertop” series in Dallas, Texas for Dionne Warwick, John Davidson and Mel Torme. She appears regularly with her own combo, S’Wonderful, at statewide venues sponsored by the Arkansas Arts on Tour. Shirley is the featured vocalist of the Arkansas Symphony Big Band. Chauvin’s tour schedule includes, the Hot Springs and Little Rock based Stardust Big Band and is the featured vocalist in concert with the Arkansas Jazz Orchestra. Chauvin’s unique style isn’t truly her own. Her interpretation of the classic Jazz big band charts is upbeat and contemporary. She lends a sensuous sultry blues feel to the ballads and vocalizes with humor on the special materials in her repertoire.


Clinton Coleman is a lifetime resident of Hot Springs where he has been very involved in the local music industry for over 45 years, spanning all genres. Clinton is a graduate of both Hot Springs High School and Henderson State University. Clinton has been employed by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission for 30 years, not quite as long as he has been married to the love of  his life, Janice, for 35 years!


Marsalis Weatherspoon is a native of Hot Springs. He is a 2006 graduate of Hot Springs High School. He teaches strings (5-12) and general music (5-6) for the Hot Springs School District. Weatherspoon holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition from Henderson State University (2012) where he is currently seeking a Master's of Arts in Teaching. During his undergraduate career, Weatherspoon, in addition to his composition focus, also participated in Concert Choir, Chamber Chorale, applied voice (baritone) and Opera Workshop.Very active in student life, he served as former vice president of the Black Students Association, former secretary of the Theta Kappa Chapter of Alpha Phi Alphia Fraternity, Inc., and former director of Henderson's Angelic Voices of Christ with the mission of "providing music education to people of all ages and all walks of life." He attends Living Waters Church of God in Christ and is a licensed minister. He is the Minister of Music for Malvern District and the Dean of Education for the Arkansas First Jurisdiction Music Department's Applied Studies Institute. He has been afforded the opportutnity to travel to various venues, reaching across denominational lines, and reaching both young and old. He is a highly sought-after worship leader, keyboardist, and workshop clinician.


Laura Lee Williard began her musical journey with violin lessons in a school-based Suzuki method program. Throughout the 1990’s she formed several bands, performing throughout the Kansas City area in coffee houses, house concerts, and community events. Performing regionally since 2002, Laura Lee has a soul-thrilling voice and articulate finger-picking guitar skills. She is a teaching artist through the Arkansas Arts Council using music to inspire critical thinking and to teach math, history and literacy. As a faculty member of Arkansas A+ Schools, she provides professional development to empower K-12 teachers to include arts-infused learning opportunities in their classrooms. Currently a freelance consultant, she provides custom-developed documentation and training to help companies manage legal risks, improve workforce morale and retention, and to ensure compliance with industry regulations. Laura Lee has a BA in Psychology and Spanish, and 5 years toward a PhD in Developmental & Child Psychology where her research focused on the effects of prenatal drug and alcohol exposure.  


This year is sponsored by: