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Released April 19, 2004




The Mississippi Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society's annual percussion symposium April 26 on the campus of The University of Southern Mississippi will feature recognized guest clinicians and concerts by Southern Miss percussion ensembles.

"We are again hosting the 'Day of Percussion' and have a full day of events scheduled for the society's members as well as for the public," said John Wooton, associate professor of music and director of percussion studies at Southern Miss. "We're also encouraging band directors to bring their percussion students for this once-a-year opportunity."

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. in the lobby of the Mannoni Performing Arts Center. The high school percussion ensemble will begin at 9 a.m. in the auditorium.

The indoor drum line "Eminence" will give an exhibition performance and clinic at 11:15 a.m. The group is coming off their first season of competition and is directed by Tony Lymon, a Southern Miss alumnus.

Participants will enjoy lunch to the rhythmic sounds of the Southern Miss Salsa Band. After lunch, nationally recognized clinicians will present workshops in vibraphone, steel pan and drum set.

Vibraphonist and composer Ted Piltzecker will lead off the trio of clinics at 1 p.m. Piltzecker, who regularly tours with the George Shearing Quintet as well as his own unique ensembles, has recorded three albums and established himself as a leader in the vibraphone world. He is a graduate of Eastman and Manhattan Schools of Music.

Wooton will lead the 2 p.m. steel-pan workshop. In addition to teaching at Southern Miss, Wooton has developed a successful steel-pan ensemble that enjoys a loyal fan base. He has collaborated with the "Father of Steel Pan," Ellie Minnette, in developing the program at Southern Miss. Specializing in Caribbean jazz and popular calypso music, Wooton fronts his own band, John Wooton and KAISO!

Ricky Sebastian built a career in New York as a much-sought-after recording and touring artist. He was an instructor at the world-renowned Drummers Collective and also at the New School, both located in New York. Having moved back to New Orleans in 1999, he teaches at the University of New Orleans and will lead the 3 p.m. drum set workshop.

To end the day, the Southern Miss Percussion Ensemble and Steel Band will perform on stage at 4:30 p.m. The concert is open to the public.

"The Percussion Ensemble is a talented and versatile group," Wooton said. "In fact, the whole concert will be fun for the audience. They'll see the stage covered, especially on several numbers, with different instruments, some of which may not be familiar."

Day of Percussion is open to the public. The registration fee of $15 ($10 for PAS members) includes all events (lunch not provided, but pizza will be available for purchase). For more information, call the Southern Miss percussion studio at (601) 266-4993 or e-mail Wooton at

Tickets for the 4:30 p.m. concert only are $6 general adult admission and $3 for Southern Miss faculty, staff and students, senior citizens (65-plus), and children under 12. Call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425 for tickets, or order online at


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