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Rhythms of Christmas Concert Drums Up Family Holiday Fun PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Contact Angela Kilcrease - 601.266.4988   

Just suppose for a moment that Santa Claus lived in the Caribbean or in South America rather than the North Pole. 

Then, imagine a family holiday concert spectacular, one of rhythmic proportions with a touch of jazz, which will transform traditional Christmas music into toe-tapping, reggae fun.

Turning this rather amusing idea into reality, the University of Southern Mississippi Steel Band, Percussion Ensemble and Samba Band will present its ever-popular “Rhythms of Christmas” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Mannoni Performing Arts Building auditorium.

“This is a family holiday event for the young and the young at heart,” said director John Wooton, professor of music. “This concert will be great fun for kids and adults alike.  Many Christmas events are very serious. This is not!  It’s refreshing and entertaining--the kind of concert that will leave people literally dancing in the aisles!” 

The Percussion Ensemble will be performing unique arrangements of “Little Drummer Boy” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” arranged by doctoral students David Whitman and Jason Mathena.  Whitman will pose as the “Little Drummer Boy,” reminiscent of Buddy Rich-style.
A variety of music styles will be represented--Caribbean sounds, samba versions of Christmas standards, and a nontraditional version of the very traditional “Twelve Days of Christmas,” which involves everything from reggae to opera.

“‘The Twelve Grooves of Christmas’ will feature someone dressed up for each day, representing a particular style of music,” Wooton said.  ‘We have to play it every year as it has become so popular—people now come to this concert just to hear this wacky piece.”

Wooton adds that Santa Claus—or more appropriately for the occasion, Rasta Claus, as they say down south of the continental United States—will pay a visit, in his jams, of course.

Tickets are $10 for adult general admission and $5 for senior citizens and children under 12. Southern Miss faculty, staff and students, with I.D., will be admitted free of charge.  For tickets, call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at 601.266.5418 or 800.844.8425.  Order online at

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at

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