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Released July 8, 2005

SYMPHONY'S 85th SEASON TICKETS A HOT COMMODITY

Hattiesburg– Season tickets for the 85th season of Mississippi's oldest symphony orchestra at The University of Southern Mississippi are available to the public, according to musical director Jay Dean.

In "Bringing the World to Mississippi," the new line-up of stars to shine on the Bennett Auditorium stage--and beyond--include Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell, productions of La Traviata and West Side Story, Holidays on Broadway, The Nutcracker, and a world premiere production called Sphere.

Dean sings high praises for the special guest artists as he continues to promote season ticket sales.

"Our season is the 'hottest ticket in town,'" Dean said. "We will be performing great classical music, chosen for its beauty and artistry, with artists of world-renowned stature. Bringing an added dimension to the season was our teaming with Southern Opera and Musical Theatre for the 2005-06 season."

Dean and the Symphony, with the assistance of season sponsor BancorpSouth, have given its audiences once-in-a-lifetime concert events, including its most recent concert success with Placido Domingo.

Officially opening the Symphony's 85th season Oct. 4, Bell joins the orchestra, performing Mendelssohn's Concerto in E Minor for Violin and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6.

Bell has emerged as one of the most renowned violinists in the world today. Having performed for more than 20 years with virtually every leading orchestra and conductor worldwide and recording 27 albums, he has earned the rare title of classical music superstar.

The BancorpSouth-sponsored Southern Miss Symphony season includes: a production of La Traviata Nov. 3 and 5; a Christmas Holidays on Broadway Dec. 2 at the Saenger Theater, downtown Hattiesburg; a new version of The Nutcracker Dec. 9-10 with La Studio Academy of Dance; the William T. Gower Awards concert Jan. 31, 2006; West Side Story Feb. 23 and 25, 2006; a premiere event, Sphere, March 30, 2006, at the Reed Green Coliseum; and an evening of Choral Masterworks April 27, 2006, at Main Street Baptist Church.

The 2005-06 Symphony season ticket packages range in price per person from $130 to $170, based on seating preference.

Tickets are available through the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418 or 800-844-8425. Tickets may be ordered online at www.usm.edu/tickets.

For more information, call the Symphony office at (601) 266-4001 or visit online at www.usm.edu/symphony.

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August 4, 2005 3:08 PM