Meridian Symphony Orchestra…
Season kicks off with July 4th Pops Concert
special to The Star
June 29, 2003
While getting ready for its highly popular Fourth of July Cellular South Pops Concert one of the Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 Events for July the Meridian Symphony Orchestra Association unveiled plans for its forthcoming season.
Publicity chairman Edna Ford said the 2003-2004 season offers "something special for everyone."
In addition to the free Pops Concert, the symphony has scheduled four subscription concerts and a children's program for all fourth-graders in Lauderdale County.
The orchestra is celebrating its 11th year under the direction of Dr. Claire Fox Hillard.
Maestro Hillard has received many awards for innovative programming and for superior performances by his players.
The MSO boasts more than 70 professional musicians who commute to Meridian from Birmingham, Hattiesburg, Jackson, Tupelo and Tuscaloosa. The number of musicians who perform during each concert depends on what kind of music is to be performed.
The Fourth of July Pops Concert is made possible by a sponsorship from Cellular South. The July concert will feature a medley of patriotic music that celebrates every branch of the armed forces.
The orchestra will be accompanied by a flyover of jets from Naval Air Station Meridian during "Salute to the Navy," a piece written by our local composer Carey Smith.
The fireworks display will begin during the performance of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture."
The first subscription concert on Sept. 6, the Walter Anderson Centennial, will feature Stanislov Ioudenitch, a Van Cliburn Gold Medalist on piano.
Other subscription concerts include Colors of Sound showcasing the talented Patrice Jackson playing Edgar's Cello Concerto; The King of Instruments featuring MSO board member David Benson on organ; and The Temptation of Jesus written by Music Alive composer-in-residence Samuel Jones and performed with the MCC Community Chorus and the Meridian Children's Chorus.
Subscription concert performances are staged in the McCain Theatre in Ivy Hall on the MCC Campus. Curtain time is 8 p.m.
In addition to the MSO subscription concerts, an annual free Children's Concert is held in the spring for all fourth-grade students in Lauderdale County including home-schoolers.
Local and state grants, the Symphony League and local businesses sponsor this concert.
It familiarizes the youngsters with the inner workings of a symphony.
As Maestro Claire Fox Hillard introduces the various instruments, the principal players in each section give fun-filled demonstrations.
After they return to their schools and homes, the students are given the opportunity to draw their impressions of whatever stands out in their minds.
The artwork is submitted to the Meridian Symphony Orchestra Association for judging. The winner's artwork is featured on the cover of a workbook distributed to students before the next children's concert.
In addition, Dr. Chris Jenkins, a music professor at Meridian Community College, gives a copy of workbook to each student enrolled in his elementary music classes.
The workbook is provided to the schools free of charge through a grant from the O.C. Barham Family Foundation.
Other highlights of the season include pre-concert receptions before each performance.
The receptions will feature performances by the UpBeat! Youth Ensemble and discussions on the upcoming performance.
Guest artist are also introduced and answer questions from the reception attendees.
Only MSO subscription members who are Patron Level and above may attend the pre-concert receptions.
Another enjoyable event is the annual crawfish boil held in the spring in the Frank Cochran Center at Highland Park.
For information about season tickets, call Shayne Garrett at the symphony office, 693-2224.