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Junetta Jones


1936 - 2015 Notice Condolences
Junetta Jones Notice


Junetta Jones was born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 12, 1936, the youngest child of the late Luther and Charity Jones. She departed this life on the morning of February 17, 2015. Junetta began taking voice lessons at an early age when her gift of singing was discovered by a neighbor. She was a lifelong member of St. John A.M.E where she attended faithfully and sang on the choir. At fifteen years old, Junetta Jones stood, one Sunday morning, up in the choir loft. She was dressed in a white blouse, navy blue skirt, white anklets, and black and white oxford shoes. She sang, "The Holy City." St. John members gazed with delight and amazement at the voice that exuded from the tiny person. Such beauty, such richness! Junetta continued to develop her gift at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore, where she majored in music and was the lead soloist for the A Cappella Choir under the direction of Georgeanna Chester. Junetta graduated from Douglass in 1954. She continued her education at what was then Morgan State College. After studying one year at Morgan, Junetta received a full four year scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory. At Peabody, she was one of the first full-time African American students. She studied with Canadian tenor Joseph Victor Laderoute, a well-known French Canadian tenor. At Peabody, Junetta won many awards including an opportunity to sing the main solo in the concert version of Porgy & Bess with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, a rare opportunity at that time for a student. Completing her studies at Peabody with an Artist Diploma, a teacher's certificate, and a Bachelor of Music degree, she won another full scholarship to study at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts. While earning her Master of Music (Voice) degree, Junetta won first place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Her prize was a two year contract to sing at the famous Metropolitan Opera House. Junetta was the first African American native of Baltimore to sing at the Met and the second African American female to sing there, after Leontyne Price. She sang roles in The Magic Flute, The Marriage of Figaro, Don Carlos, and Rigoletto. Junetta's career took her to Europe for four years, where she sang major roles in opera houses in Dusseldorf, Wuppertal, Regensburg, Munster, and Trier Germany, and Lucerne, Switzerland. Junetta returned to the states and served as a voice instructor at the University of Florida, Bowie State College, Oldfield School and the Baltimore City Schools in the Adult Education Division. She also served as the Director of Gallery 409 Urban Services Cultural Arts Center, supervising and coordinating the center's activities from 1978 through 1981. For the next 10 years, Junetta served as the Performing Arts Coordinator for the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Art and Culture. She planned and organized the musical talent for ARTSCAPE, the annual 3 day celebration of visual and performing arts for Baltimore City. She retired from the Mayor's Advisory Committee on Art and Culture and the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts in 1991. Later in life, Junetta remained very active planning and organizing, events and activities in her Park Heights community organization and she loved to sing for special occasions. Junetta was personable and fun loving, she loved to sing and laugh. Her beautiful voice, contagious laughter, and kind heart will be sorely missed. Surviving and cherishing her memory are her brother, Luther L Jones, Sr. and his wife Annie Frances and a host of relatives and friends.
Published in Baltimore Sun on Feb. 26, 2015
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