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Symphony scores a hit with weekend concert

By By Susie McEachin Johnson / special to The Star
Sept. 8, 2003
The Meridian Symphony Orchestra's opening program was a thrilling success as concertgoers were treated to a dazzling variety of musical sights and sounds.
Despite the wet weather, Meridian Community College's McCain Theater was packed with a pleasant mixture of veteran symphony supporters, families and students of all ages.
The evening began with Frank Clark's original multimedia composition examining and celebrating the genius of well-known Mississippi Gulf Coast artist Walter Anderson, who conveyed the living essence of the natural world through his art.
It was fascinating to behold the unique coordination of sight and sound in this spectacular presentation of Anderson's watercolors, sculptures, and poetry in "A Sensation of Music: Works by Walter Anderson."
Graphics, live recordings and silence worked hand-in-hand with the music, reflecting so perfectly Anderson's beliefs as set forth in his poem, "Invisible Music."
Kathryn Barnes-Buroughs lent her beautiful mezzo-soprano voice to this world premiere of the orchestral version.
As guest pianist, Stanislav Ioudenitch finished Saint-Saens' Piano Concerto No. 2 and the audience roared its approval, demanding and receiving an encore from this astounding Van Cliburn gold medalist.
Members of the Meridian Children's Chorus headed to his table during intermission seeking autographs and compact discs, while the reception room buzzed with comments such as, "His vitality simply filled the auditorium!"
His performance was, indeed, spine-tingling. Many audience members leaned forward, intently watching his fingers fly over the keys and his lips constantly moving as he played.
At 38 minutes, Beethoven's "Symphony No. 7" is the longest and most complex of his symphonies save the Ninth but it exudes the joy and optimism that marked the music of the "heroic decade."
Its performance by our own Meridian Symphony Orchestra, directed by Claire Fox Hillard, was certainly a fitting work by which to close an evening that was charged with genuine delight by all in attendance.
Bravo, MSO, for providing our community with another opportunity to experience excellence in the arts.