April 20, 2014  

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Choral Alumni Concert Brings Past Conductors Back to Southern Miss

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The Choral Alumni Concert will feature alumni and current singers in the choirs at Southern Miss Nov. 6 at 3:30 p.m. at Main Street Baptist Church. (Submitted photo)

Talented vocalists and conductors will return to The University of Southern Mississippi for the first Choral Alumni Concert at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 in Hattiesburg, Miss.

A 250-plus mass choir will sing a variety of music chosen and rehearsed by six different conductors at Main Street Baptist Church. This event is part of a two-day Choral Alumni Event set for Nov. 5-6 to reunite old Choral Activities friends and colleagues. The concert is free to the public, but registration is required to attend reunion activities.

“This event needed to happen and the Centennial year seemed like the appropriate circumstance to embark on this endeavor,” said Dr. Gregory Fuller, director of Choral Activities at Southern Miss. “Hopefully, we won’t wait another 100 years to do it again.”

The choir includes more than 100 alumni singers and 100 current singers in the Southern Miss Choral Activities program. Having four past conductors at one event is a bit unusual said Fuller. Dr. William Bullock 1979-82, Dr. Rolland-Shaw 1982-87, Dr. William Weinert 1989-94 and Dr. Tim Koch 1994-99 will join alumni in this special two-day alumni event.

Bullock currently serves as the executive director of RiverCenter for the Performing Arts at Columbus State University in Columbus, Ga; Weinert is a professor of Conducting and Ensembles and director of Choral Activities at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY; Koch is the music director and conductor of the Carolina Master Chorale in Myrtle Beach, SC; and Shaw is retired.

Koch describes this event as one of the most thrilling opportunities he has experienced in recent memory. “I do a lot of concerts, but Southern Miss was a huge part of my professional life and even though I was just there five years, those are the years I remember most fondly,” he said.

Like other attendees, this is the first time Koch has returned since his time at Southern Miss. “I would have liked to return sooner, but just haven’t had an excuse,” he said. “We even created a Facebook page about this event where former colleagues and students are connecting with each other, so I’m really excited to come back to the city and university to meet them in person.”

With four past conductors present, there will be no shortage of diversity in music, which was selected by the conductors themselves. In addition, the current choral program, the Southern Choral and Concert Choirs will be a small part of the Saturday presentation.

“Alums will be able to witness first-hand the current level of performance we have now. This should be an interesting concert,” Fuller said.

The Choral Alumni Concert is free to the public. To register for the 2010 Choral Alumni Event, call Choral Activities at 601.266.4092 or email Gregory.Fuller@usm.edu or Belinda.Runnels@usm.edu. For hotel information, visit www.usm.edu/choirs.