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A native of Millville, Utah, Jessop has been a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a student of Robert Shaw and received his B. A. from Utah State University, M. A. from Brigham Young University and Doctorate of Musical Arts from Stanford University.
He has been the director of the National High School Choir Festival for the four years of its existence. The event, held at New York's Carnegie Hall, auditions schools from around the country to inspire and enable young singers in learning great works of music and performing with renowned musicians from around the world.
Jessop retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Air Force where, among other assignments, he conducted the USAF Singing Sergeants for seven years. He has also spent seven years as a baritone with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers and performed in the choirs of Helmuth Rilling and John Rutter.
Jessop was named Associate Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in 1995 and became Music Director in 1999. Under Jessop's direction the Utah choir won many awards, including the Special Recognition Award from the International Radio and Television Society Foundation and a National Medal of Arts presented by George W. Bush. He served in that position until March 4, 2008.
Jessop and his wife have 4 children and 4 grandchildren.
Jessop has been named head of the Music Department at Utah State University, in Logan, Utah, effective May 5, 2008. He has been named director of The American Festival Chorus, a new, 200-member choir headquartered in Logan. First rehearsals were held on August 27th, 2008 at Utah State University with debut performances slated for November, 2008.