ACTC talent showcased in local concert on March 16 | ACTC

ACTC talent showcased in local concert on March 16

Published on Mar 7, 2024

Ashland Community and Technical College is proud to share that both a former professor, an alumna, and the son of a current professor will be taking part in an upcoming local concert on Saturday, March 16. With the help of Dr. Denine LeBlanc of Louisville, KY, the women of the First Presbyterian Church are hosting the event to promote the arts in the Ashland community.

The concert will take place at 3:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church in Ashland. 

Max Jackson, Kim Willis Whitman, Calvin Riggs, and Denine LeBlanc will be sharing their music during the free concert.

Max Jackson is a native of Ashland and a graduate of Ashland High School. He attended Ashland Junior College for one year prior to transferring to Georgetown College (KY), where he earned a BA in Music with a concentration in organ. He also holds an BMus and MMus with a concentration in organ from the University of Kentucky, and a MMus with a concentration in choral conducting form Southern Methodist University. 

He taught music at Ashland Community College for 31 years, conducted choral ensembles, and was the music director for the College Theatre. In addition, he has also taught at the University of Kentucky and Georgetown College. 

“I was always impressed by the quality of the faculty at Ashland Community College,” Jackson shared. 

He has served as an organist and/or choir director at churches in Harrodsburg, Lexington, and Ashland, as well as in Havelock, NC and Ironton, OH. He is currently the organist at First Presbyterian Church in Ashland.

ACC alumna Kim Willis Whitman will be playing the flute during the upcoming concert. 

“As a freshman student at ACC in 1974, my goals were to broaden my skill set in office work. I had been a college prep high school student, so typing, shorthand, office machines and basic requirements were my main focus,” Whitman shared about her time at ACTC. “I had very good teachers. My first experience with work study and tutoring was during this time and I enjoyed it all.”

Whitman went on to earn a BA and MA from Marshall University. 

Calvin Riggs, a Marshall University student, will be featured on the piano. He is the son of ACTC faculty Dr. Mark Riggs, professor of Math, and Jennifer Johnson, former Religion instructor. Riggs is very interested in helping people cultivate their passion for music, just as Max Jackson has done for him.

“Max Jackson had a huge impact on me,” Riggs noted. “His playing every Sunday gave me the ears for the kind of music I study now. Those services inspired me to study piano more seriously in high school, and then further at college. I credit him for really teaching me how to appreciate music.” 

Pianist Dr. Denine LeBlanc holds a D.M.A. from the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, a MMus from the University of Louisville, and a BMus from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She teaches music in the city’s public school system where she has taught for over 25 years. 

She has played both traditional and contemporary concerts throughout the United States and in Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Poland. Dr. LeBlanc will be performing collaborative programs in Brasilia, Brazil this May. “I have been generously blessed by music in my life,” Dr. LeBlan shared. “Its impact on audiences and on students is a powerful experience.”

First Presbyterian Church is located at 1600 Winchester Avenue, Ashland KY. There will be a reception following in the Narthex.