Southwest Tennessee Community College

August 17, 2004

For information contact: Kimberly Stark (901) 333-4023


If Miss Mississippi, Jalin Wood, wins the crown in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City this September, her list of people to thank is sure to include Dr. Steve Katz, professor of music at Southwest Tennessee Community College. Her well-honed talent is the piano, and her teacher is Katz. “I think she has a good shot at it,” Katz said. “She is an attractive, well-rounded individual, very poised, and presents herself well. And she has quite a charming piano presence.”

Wood is one of Katz’s private students. He not only rehearsed her for the competition, he arranged her talent piece, “Cumana,” a contemporary Latin-American composition by Ernesto Lecuona.

"Dr. Katz is an artistic genius. Thanks to him, I was able to improve my playing ability and increase my confidence in both performance and showmanship," said Jalin Wood, Miss Mississippi 2004. "Dr. Katz can turn a bland piano piece into music that speaks to your soul. I am thankful and blessed because my path has crossed with such a talented artist".

Finishing in the Miss Mississippi top ten was Jana Haynes, also one of Katz’s private students, and he coached her for the talent phase of the contest, too. A church piano player, she selected a gospel favorite, “God Sent His Son,” for her pageant presentation. Jana is a top contender, according to Katz, and “I wouldn’t be surprised to see her come back and win the Miss Mississippi pageant next year.” Katz arranged her pageant music also. Both contestants played their presentations on statewide television.