Chris Cross is currently in his 7th year of teaching, and in his 6th year at Jacksonville High School in the newly formed Jacksonville North Pulaski School District. He serves as the director of the Jacksonville High School vocal music program known as JHS Vocal Soul. The program features Rising Trebles Chorus, Titan Trebles, Fellas Chorus, Honors Chorus, Chamber Singers, and Vocal Jazz. Chris & students established the program brand “Vocal Soul” in 2012 based the following anonymous poem: “Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.” The mission of the program has become to develop students musicians to perform and use music that speaks, soothes, heals and builds community. This has become a brand and beacon of hope that many students have become a part of simply to become part of the family. The program prides itself on its diversity of style, genres, performance opportunities, and literature to help provide a space where ALL students can sing regardless of stylistic preference and difference. JHS Vocal Soul has consistently had scholars placed in the ArkCDA all-region and all-state choirs. They have also received superior ratings at local Choral Performance Assessments, state and national festivals obtaining “6A Best in Class” for large female chorus and “6A Best in Class” overall large chorus in 2016. The programs a cappella jazz group, Vocal Jazz, has become renown after just two years in existence. The group has won superior division 1 ratings at regional assessments, state competitions, and at national competitions. They have also performed live on KABF 88.3 public radio, Fox 16’s News Music Mondays morning show, Arkansas Gifted And Talented Educators State Conference and have been frequently requested to perform at local venues. JHS Vocal Jazz was the first Arkansas based group to make top 6 finalists of the Voicejam International A Cappella Music Festival where they tied second for the Voicejam Crowd Favorite.
Chris is a proud native of Rixey, AR and a graduate of Jacksonville High School (2003). He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Music, History/Political Sciences (2008) and a Master of Arts in Teaching Vocal & Instrumental Music K-12 from Arkansas Tech University (2014). He is also a licensed (2003) and ordained (2005) minister. He currently resides in Jacksonville, AR with his wife Arlene and three children Kailee (5), Christopher (3), and Elias (2). Chris serves as Visionary & Lead Pastor at Christ Community Missional Fellowship church plant in Jacksonville, AR. As most of his a cappella experience is rooted in gospel music quartets and choirs, he has also served as a gospel music clinician and director, helps other churches develop outreach and youth programs. He has served as director of the Arkansas Youth Chorale during in 2014-2015 season, ArkCDA Region 2 All-Region Clinic Chair, and formed the central Arkansas Community in Unity Chorus. Chris has been selected by his region to be a participant in the ArkCDA Leadership Academy, received the Region 2 Senior High Director of the Year Award (2016), and will serve as ArkCDA Region 3 all-region clinician. Chris actively participates in ArkCDA (Arkansas Choral Directors Association) and is an active member of the Arkansas and national chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and the Acapella Education Association. Chris believes all music is pivotal in cultivating community, building authentic harmonious relationships, and in the healing of the human soul.