Released March 10, 2003


HATTIESBURG - The premiere touring choral ensemble at The University of Southern Mississippi will present a post-tour concert March 20 at Parkway Heights United Methodist Church.

The Southern Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Gregory Fuller, will have completed a performance tour of France during spring break March 7-18.

The concert program features an eclectic mix of American and European music -- including works by American composers Samuel Barber and Moses Hogan, Danish composer Niels La Cour, Hungarian composer Franz Liszt, English composer Henry Leslie, and French composers Debussy and Messiaen.
"We are doing a number of pieces that will feature student soloists," Fuller said. "This repertoire has already been performed to a packed audience at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Mobile (Ala.) and a command performance for the IHL Board in Jackson, and we have recorded a compact disc of the program."

Two other American composers, Jester Hairston and up-and-coming composer Eric Whitacre, will be featured as well. One highlight of the evening will be Barber's "Agnus Dei," which is a transcription of the well-known and hauntingly beautiful "Adagio for Strings." Barber himself transcribed this piece for choir.

Fuller and his students are eagerly anticipating their tour to France, with a stop in London. Formal performances include an evening concert at the Pontelvoy Abbey, the university's latest educational collaborator; a joint evening concert at the University of Orleans; and a concert at Eglise Saint Jean-Baptiste de Sceaux, located about 20 minutes from the center of Paris.

Having led more than 20 international tours with students, either ensembles or study groups, Fuller understands the value of such student experiences.

"Our students need to see the world outside in order to better prepare themselves for their future," Fuller said. "They need access to major metropolitan cities to establish contacts for further study or performance opportunities. Also, we have a new facility at the Pontelvoy Abbey, and we would like to have a presence there as university ambassadors."

Fuller and his students have been fund-raising for this trip for more than a year. Through private donations and concert gigs, as well as a poinsettia sale at Christmas, the students were encouraged to become their own entrepreneurs. Fuller said he established a "matching funds" method for the students -- whereas he matched an amount from funds allocated from university administrators and private donors -- to whatever the individual student was able to raise.

The free concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Parkway Heights United Methodist Church. For more information, call the choral activities office at (601) 266-4001.



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July 9, 2003 11:32 AM