Nearly 500 singers from across the South will come to the University of Southern Mississippi on Sept. 24-25 to get SICC. That's not s - i - c - k, but instead SICC, the Southern Invitational Choral Conference that attracts talented singers from around the globe in an almost cult-like fashion.
The 9th Annual SICC features renowned composer and clinician James Mulholland. Mulholland, a Laurel native, is in his 48th year of teaching music at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has been commissioned to write works for numerous children’s choirs, high schools, universities and professional groups. His works are often performed at state and national music conventions.
The event also features nationally known clinicians Bret Peppo, director of choral activities at Diablo Valley College and Dr. Jason Paulk, assistant professor of music at Eastern New Mexico University.
“This event has become a Southern Miss tradition as students and teachers from over 60 high schools and community colleges come together for two days of intense and exciting choral music training,” said Dr. Gregory Fuller, director of choral activities at Southern Miss and event coordinator. “This event puts exceptional students into a demanding rehearsal situation and gives many of them a view of what can be achieved with peers at their level.”
Andy Smigielski, former Southern Miss choral student who attended SICC as a member in a community college group, as an undergraduate and graduate student, will bring members of his own choir from Forrest County Agricultural High School. SICC made such a profound impression on Smigielski that he wants his students to experience rehearsing in a collegiate mind-set.
“This is an opportunity that they may never have again,” said Smigielski. “I am hoping that they will come back fired up and spread the enthusiasm (of choral music) to others.”
SICC kicks off its two-day intense rehearsals with an evening performance by university vocal ensembles at 7 p.m., on Monday, Sept. 24 in Bennett Auditorium. High school and community college students from throughout Mississippi and the surrounding states will rehearse with master clinicians; offering young, talented musicians an excellent opportunity to experience performing great works with their peers.
The conference concludes at 4 p.m., on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at Main Street Baptist Church with a concert by both the high school and community college honor choirs. The public is invited to both of these free concert events.