MASS CHOIR JOINS
SOUTHERN MISS SYMPHONY IN MUSIC CELEBRATION
- The Mississippi Mass Choir has been making a joyful noise on concert
stages around the world and in recordings since 1988. Its music
has been a mainstay on Billboard charts, and its success has been
recognized through numerous awards and accolades. Yet, the choir's
mission remains the same, "serving God through song."
singing ensemble of 40 voices will join the Symphony Orchestra at
The University of Southern Mississippi May 1 in its musical celebration
"Mississippi, The Birthplace of America's Music" in Reed
are the quintessential gospel organization in Mississippi,"
said Jay Dean, musical director for the orchestra. "In this
concert, we are celebrating all types of music that has been defined
by Mississippians, and there is no better example of gospel music
in the world than the Mississippi Mass Choir."
sponsored by BancorpSouth, was created to pay tribute to Mississippi's
musical heritage. The famous choir will perform by itself, with
the Southern Miss Symphony and with the 1,000-voice high school
and college chorus. Other special performers include bluesman Vasti
Jackson and actor Gary Grubbs, who will emcee the evening.
founded the Mississippi Mass Choir in 1988, but he was no stranger
to the music. As a child, and under the guiding hand of his father,
Leon, Williams would spend his evenings immersed in the sounds of
gospel at church. Later, with his brothers, they formed their own
gospel group, The Williams Brothers, who eventually joined the Jackson
years as a touring artist, Williams envisioned a choir made up of
the great and soulful voices of Mississippi singers. For nine years,
his idea developed and grew until he joined forces with gospel writer
and friend, David Curry. The rest, as they say, is history.
Mass Choir recorded its first album in 1988 called "The Mississippi
Mass Choir Live." Five weeks after the album's debut on Billboard
Magazine's gospel chart, it rose to No. 1 and stayed there for 45
After a decade
of recording, the album "It Remains To Be Seen" is one
of its most treasured recordings. It was released by the choir in
1993 and stayed on the charts for 12 months. But, more importantly,
it was the last recorded performance of its founder, Williams, who
died in March of 1993.
the success and awards, the tours to Japan, Greece, Switzerland,
Belgium, France, Italy and Spain, and the chart-setting records,
the choir maintains its first mission is to communicate the gospel
and its dedication to its ministry. Their joyful noise is their
gift to the rest of us.
the musical extravaganza featuring the Southern Miss Symphony, the
Mississippi Mass Choir, Vasti Jackson and much more are available
through the Southern Miss Ticket Office. Call (601) 266-5418 or
800-844-8425 or order online at
PHOTOGRAPHER TO LEAD WORKSHOP, PRESENTATION MARCH 10
-- 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.
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
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
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."
participants do not need to bring their photographic equipment unless
they need an explanation about some aspect of their equipment.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.