-- Mississippi teachers now have a new outlet
for quality, budget-friendly educational arts events for their students.
The University of Southern Mississippi has created the Mississippi
Children's Musical Theatre, a program designed to educate and entertain
students from second to sixth grade.
The inaugural 2004-05 season will offer programs that
coordinate with state education requirements. The multiple events
that make up the MCMT are produced jointly by the New Orleans Center
for Dance and the university's Southern Opera and Musical Theatre,
Symphony Orchestra, and Southern Chorale.
To make participation a simple process for teachers,
the Symphony Orchestra staff will assist schools in planning their
trip to the Hattiesburg campus.
"We have made this a 'one-stop-shopping' experience
for teachers to incorporate these wonderful programs into their
year's plans quickly and easily," said Dr. John Michael Lopinto,
marketing and educational outreach coordinator for the orchestra.
"Our office will coordinate tickets for the performances, optional
lunches, and educational materials for each program."
With a variety of programming and scheduling options,
MCMT gives teachers and school administrators more access to the
arts. "The value of music to human learning has been shown
over and over again," said Dr. Jay Dean, musical director for
the Symphony Orchestra at Southern Miss. "The MCMT brings music
to all of our children in terms they can understand and in ways
that can enrich their lives."
Joining the university in this endeavor is the New
Orleans Center for Dance, a leading force in arts education. Recently
selected by the National Endowment for the Arts' Summer Schools
in the Arts initiative for 2004, the CFD engages young audiences
with exciting choreography and interactive programming.
For its portion of the program, Southern Opera and
Musical Theatre at Southern Miss will present some of the greatest
hits of opera classics, sung by dramatic Brünnhildes, battling
divas, and egomaniacal tenors in the comic romp "So, This Is
"Students will laugh their way through learning
about opera," said Dr. Maryann Kyle, professor of music at
Southern Miss and creator of MCMT.
The Symphony will feature its international performers
by presenting a dynamic musical tour through the Hispanic cultures
of the Americas. Student audiences will explore the driving rhythms
and beautiful melodies of South American music and will learn its
geography, people and culture.
Wrapping up the comprehensive arts experience, the
Southern Chorale will present a program including all genres of
music with a personality and style all their own.
According to Dr. Gregory Fuller, director of choral
activities at Southern Miss, the program was designed to "encourage
students to seek out their own voice and sing."
Teachers may contact the Southern Miss Symphony office
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at (601) 266-4001 or via e-mail
for more information.