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Released September 30, 2003


HATTIESBURG - The sounds of rolling drums of every variety will fill the stage of the Mannoni Performing Arts Center auditorium Oct. 14 when The University of Southern Mississippi's Percussion Ensemble, Steel Band, and Pride of Mississippi Marching Band drum line present their fall concert at 7:30 p.m.

Under the direction of Dr. John Wooton, associate professor of music in the Southern Miss School of Music, the concert features members of the ever-popular percussion studio at their very best.

"The audience can expect to be thoroughly entertained as well as culturally enriched," Wooton said. "There are a lot of new faces in the percussion ensembles this year, and we are excited to show them off in our first concert of the year."

Made up of marimbas, xylophone, timpani, drum set, vibraphone and chimes, the Percussion Ensemble portion of the concert will feature the world-premiere performance of "The Frame Problem," a piece written by Jake Romig, a former Wooton student. Romig is now the composer-in-residence at Western Illinois University.

The ensemble also will perform a Wooton-arranged Donald Fagen tune, "The Goodbye Look," and a marimba piece, "Marimba Spiritual," that features a talented freshman, Shen Wang of Beijing, China. The group ends their part of the concert with an uplifting number called "Short Circuits."

"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."

The 15-piece Steel Band will perform next on the program featuring a couple of calypsos and socas and the group's own version of Sonny Rollin's 'St. Thomas."

"The Steel Band is really unique," Wooton said. "We are very lucky because all of our steel drum instruments have actually been constructed, as well as tuned and maintained, by the 'father of the steel drum' himself, Ellie Mannette, who invented the instrument in Trinidad in 1946.

"But, what you don't expect from steel drums is classical music. We are going to treat the audience to our own lush rendition of Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik."

New to the program, although an integral part of the Southern Miss percussion studio, The Pride's drum line has a fan following all its own. A prominent part of Southern Miss' football game-day festivities, the group will bring some of its unique flair to the indoor stage. Wooton warns the audience to be prepared for "heart-pumping sounds with several street beats and drum solos."

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


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM