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Released November 18, 2003

CHORAL WORKS FEATURED ON NEXT SYMPHONY CONCERT

HATTIESBURG - In keeping with the season, Baroque choral masterworks will be featured Dec. 4 on the next Symphony Orchestra season concert at The University of Southern Mississippi. Under the direction of guest conductor Dr. Gregory Fuller, the university's Southern Chorale and the Hattiesburg Choral Union will join the orchestra for a glorious evening of song.

Georg Friedrich Handel's Dixit Dominus will open the 7:30 p.m. concert on the stage of Bennett Auditorium. Written during Handel's three-and-one-half year stay in Rome, Italy, and premiered there in 1707, the piece captures the virtuosic spirit of the city and challenges those who dare to perform this work by its requirements of agility, precision, melodramatic exuberance and lyrical expressiveness.

"The Southern Chorale is a very mature group this year," Fuller said. "Being mostly music majors, they possess the 'athleticism' necessary to perform this very strenuous work. They are the first group, since I arrived at Southern Miss in 2000, to possess the technique to match the composition."

The holidays would not be complete without the resounding strains of Handel's oratorio, Messiah, featuring some of the lesser-performed and shorter portions of the work as well as the all time classic sections.

"We are doing portions from all three parts of the Messiah," Fuller explained. "We are doing 27 of 53 movements, but we are only doing about 35 percent of the entire work."

This BancorpSouth sponsored season performance also will showcase the talents of faculty soloists from the School of Music at Southern Miss, including Dr. Kimberley Davis, soprano; Dr. Maryann Kyle, soprano; Dr. Clint Nichols, tenor; Dr. Larry Smith, tenor; and Horace English, bass.

Fuller, in his fourth year as director of choral activities at Southern Miss, holds a bachelor of music education from Oklahoma Baptist University, with a double major in cello and voice; a master of music in conducting; and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction, with a conducting emphasis, from the University of Missouri.

At Southern Miss, Dr. Fuller conducts the Southern Chorale, the Southern Miss Oratorio Chorus and the Southern Chamber Singers. He also teaches courses in the conducting curriculum at the graduate and undergraduate levels and supervises the entire choral program.

He was the director of choral activities at Briar Cliff College in Sioux City, Iowa, and maintains an active instrumental conducting career. In addition to regular orchestral performances, he was the fourth conductor of the Sioux City Municipal Band, a fully professional wind ensemble with an 80-year history.

Davis, Kyle, Nichols and Smith make up the vocal teaching area in the Southern Miss School of Music. Davis, a lyric soprano, has extensively performed regionally and in Europe, Mexico and Brazil. Some of her operatic achievements include Mozart's "Le Nozze di Figaro" and "Die Zauberflote," "Suor Angelica" by Puccini, and the Ossie Davis musical "Purlie Victorious."

Kyle has sung leading roles with the Chattanooga Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Southern Arts Festival Opera, the University of Illinois, East Tennessee Opera, LSU Opera, Gulf Coast Opera, and The Opera at Southern Miss. She appeared as Micaela in Carmen, opposite internationally known mezzo-soprano, Denyce Graves, and as a guest soloist of The Miami Festival, opposite famed bass-baritone William Warfield.

Smith, lyric-baritone and professor of music, is in his 15th year as voice teacher and ensemble director at Southern Miss. He also is director of music at the First Presbyterian Church of Hattiesburg. Dr. Smith serves as conductor, clinician, and adjudicator internationally, nationally, and regionally.

Nichols serves as adjunct voice faculty at Southern Miss. In his vast career, he has served as chair of three music schools and has performed in a variety of concerts with symphonies, opera companies, and churches in numerous cities in the United States.

English, a professor at Hurley School of Music at Centenary College of Louisiana, is a versatile performer who counts both opera and music theater roles among his credits, as well as frequent appearances on the concert stage. Some of his credits include productions of the Marriage of Figaro, Così fan tutte, Faust, Susanna, Lucretia Borgia, and Il Trovatore. His music theater appearances include the title roles in Man of La Mancha and Sweeney Todd.

Tickets are $18, $16, and $14 and 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/arts.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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