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Released April 19, 2004



HATTIESBURG - Following a successful tour across Mississippi and Louisiana, the Carillon Handbell Choir at The University of Southern Mississippi will perform at home April 27 at 2:30 p.m. in the Mannoni Performing Arts Center Auditorium. The concert also serves as a warm-up for the group's May tour that culminates with a performance at Princeton University for its 1958 alumni reunion.

Organized in 1985 by Dr. Larry Smith, professor of music in the School of Music at Southern Miss, Carillon has developed a regional, national, and international reputation and has garnered high praise and respect in the handbell world. The group performs a wide range of handbell literature including familiar church hymns, traditional classical arrangements and original compositions for handbells.

For the home concert, Carillon will perform works by Fred Gramann, Donald Allured, Arnold Sherman, Michael Helman and Karen Buckwalter. Other arrangements by Cathy Moklebust, John Behnke and William Griffin will be featured as well.

According to Smith, a noteworthy piece on the program is an original composition for handbells by his own choir member, J.D. Frizzell. A sophomore composition major from Lawrenceville, Ga., Frizzell has written a piece he titled "Midnight Blessings."

"When I came to Southern Miss, I was aware that a handbell choir existed on campus," Frizzell said. "However, I had no idea that it would be one of the best choirs in the country. Carillon has become an integral part of my college experience, and I look forward to the next two years in the group with great anticipation. Carillon is Southern Miss's best kept secret."

For the other 13 members of the group, their sentiments about the choir are similar to Frizzell's.

"Going into my sixth year in Carillon as a master's student, I realize I could never get tired of playing handbells or being a part of an ensemble like this," said Mary Thrash, a choral music education student from Collierville, Tenn. "I marvel at all the wonderful travel and performance opportunities I've shared with Carillon."

And travel is an operative word for this ensemble. The group performs 20-25 concerts annually. In June 2000, they performed in Europe; in May 2001, they performed in Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia; and in July 2002, they performed for a national handbell event, Handbell Exploration, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Other previous tours include performances in England, Germany, Bermuda and Japan.

In March, the group presented concerts in Vicksburg and Bossier City and Shreveport, La., and now anticipates its upcoming Princeton tour. And, like all of their other tours, Smith and the students raised their own travel funds.

Members of the choir include: Frizzell; Thrash; Jason Barfield of Guntersville, Ala.; Amy Cross of McKenzie, Tenn.; Elizabeth Dennis, of Mobile, Ala.; Trey Goff of Pascagoula; Bobby Griffin of Pensacola, Fla.; Lauren Hatty of New Orleans, La.; Geoffrey Philabaum of Brookhaven; Katie Robyn of Atlanta, Ga.; Jennifer Rowe of Fairhope, Ala.; Michael Sneed of Marietta, Ga.; Amy Stagg of Vicksburg; and Laurie Starek of Long Beach.

Admission to the home concert is free and open to the public, although donations will be accepted. For more information, call Smith at (601) 266-5826.


OCEAN SPRINGS -- Award-winning wildlife photographer Tom Ulrich will lead two photographic events at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory on Wednesday, March 10.

He will present a nature photography workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then a talk and slide show called "Wildlife Images 2003" at 7 p.m., both at The University of Southern Mississippi GCRL.

Admission to the evening event is free and will be held in the Caylor Auditorium at GCRL. The veteran photographer will feature photos from his 2003 photographic safaris abroad and in North America. He will answer questions and sign his books during the reception following his slide show.

The registration fee for the all-day workshop is $50 per person, payable to GCRL. Registration includes a continental breakfast, light lunch and snacks. Participation is limited to 20. Though the workshop is geared toward beginners, Ulrich tailors the experience to meet needs for all degrees of skill.

"The beginners will definitely benefit from the workshop, but I always help the more advanced get something out of it also," Ulrich said. "I lead many photo trips and always find a wide range of levels."

Ulrich said participants do not need to bring their photographic equipment unless they need an explanation about some aspect of their equipment.

Topics include a brief review of the principles of photography, relationships between shutter and aperture settings, fundamental elements of composition, use and timing of fill-in flash, digital versus film photography, techniques of close-up photography, and a brief discussion of slide etiquette, the photography business and marketing.

Ulrich grew up in South Chicago, graduated with a degree in biology from Southern Illinois University and taught for four years before launching his career as a freelance photographer. He has supported himself with nature photography for the past 29 years.

His library of more than 300,000 transparencies includes birds and mammals from all over the world. His photographs have been featured in publications such as National Wildlife, Audubon, National Geographic, Montana Outdoors and Life.

He has published six nature books, including Mammals of the Rockies, Birds of the Northern Rockies, Once Upon a Frame and his 2002 release, Photo Pantanal. Dr. William E. Hawkins, GCRL executive director, said Ulrich brings the scientific and artistic worlds together.

"Tom earns his living photographing wildlife all over the world," Hawkins sad. "He is an outstanding observer and a biologist. His approach to photography is to capture his subjects exhibiting their natural behavior."

The GCRL is home to the university's Department of Coastal Sciences, the Center for Fisheries Research and Development, and the Gulf Coast Geospatial Center. The J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium is also a unit of the laboratory. The GCRL is part of the Southern Miss College of Science and Technology. For more information, call the laboratory at (228) 872-4200.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM