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Released April 19, 2004



HATTIESBURG - LONG BEACH - Kids, opera and Easter egg combined for an unforgettable experience at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast on Thursday.

Approximately 40 children from the Southern MissGC Early Childhood Center and their parents hunted for Easter eggs and listened to the Southern Miss Children's Opera as Gulf Coast Provost Dr. Tim Hudson and his wife, Deidra, hosted the unique event on their front lawn at the Gulf Park campus.

Mrs. Hudson envisioned the Easter egg hunt as one of the special events to be held on the grounds of her new home soon after her family's recent move to Long Beach.

"This has been such a fun and exciting day for us all," she said. "We are so fortunate to have such talented and dedicated faculty and students. We are looking forward to many more events involving the campus and the community at our home in the near future."

The title of the opera is "Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing" by Max Howard. According to Dr. Maryann Kyle, assistant professor of music at Southern Miss, the opera tells the story of a circus serpent who wanted to sing more than anything.

"He tries many different styles of singing: opera, rock, blues and barbershop," Kyle said. "But he can't seem to find the right style. He eventually learns that his own style of singing is what's best and he does it well."

The opera is set in a circus and Sid visits the cities of Rome, New York and London. The cast consists of undergraduate music majors from Southern Miss.

"Sid the Serpent" has been performed for more than 600 school-aged children this year and is one part of the Southern Opera and Music Theatre Opera Outreach Program.

The children who attended the event are enrolled at the Southern MissGC Early Childhood Center, where children ages 2 through 4 are provided with a hands-on educational program. The center's curriculum is based on the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) programming guidelines. The center falls under the direction of the Southern MissGC Division of Education and Psychology.

The cost is $375 per month for a 2-year old child, and $355 per month for a 3-year-old or 4-year-old child.

For more information or to register a child at the Southern MissGC Early Childhood Center, call Jennifer Smart, center director, at (228) 867-8781.


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