October 25, 2014  

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Southern Miss Symphony Season Fills February with Eye-Catching Concerts

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Mack Wilberg, conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, will lead a concert in Hattiesburg on Feb. 18 at Main Street Baptist Church. (Submitted photo)

The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra is no stranger to presenting top quality music with top quality talent.

This month, both will be featured in two concerts in one week. On Feb. 16, the symphony will be joined by the Southern Miss School of Music woodwind faculty and on Feb. 18, Mack Wilberg, famed conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, joins the orchestra and a nearly 600-voice choir for a true sensory experience.

“These are two great opportunities to hear some of the finest musicians in our area perform with the orchestra one night and witness one of the largest performances we’ve ever done just two nights later,” said Jay Dean, director of orchestral activities at Southern Miss. “It says so much about the caliber and scope of our players and program to be able to perform two very different programs of this magnitude in one week.”

The Feb. 16 concert, “Virtuosic Winds,” features faculty members Danilo Mezzadri; flute, Euridice Alvarez, oboe; Jonathan Holden, clarinet; Lawrence Gwozdz, saxophone and Kim Woolly, bassoon playing notable concertos. The program includes works from Vivaldi to Zaninelli and a premiere by Southern Miss alumnus, Alan Theisen.

Two nights later, Main Street Baptist Church in Hattiesburg will be filled with the glorious sounds of music by composer/conductor Wilberg. He was appointed music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in 2008 where he oversees all musical and creative aspects of the music program. Active as a composer, arranger, guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States and abroad, Wilberg’s compositions and arrangements are performed and recorded by choral organizations throughout the world.

In addition to the many compositions he has written for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Wilberg’s works have most recently been performed by such artists as Renee Fleming, Frederica von Stade, Bryn Terfel, the King’s Singers, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald, and narrators Walter Cronkite, Edward Herrmann, Peter Graves, and Claire Bloom.

“This is a momentous occasion for Mississippi,” said Greg Fuller, director of choral activities at Southern Miss.  “The scope of performers who are coming from across the South to perform is a testament on how music truly brings us all together.”

The opportunity to perform with the legendary conductor Wilberg has yielded an expectedly high turnout. Alongside the Southern Miss choirs are the Meistersingers, local church choirs of all denominations, church and university groups from across the region, individuals from across the south and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

“Virtuosic Winds” is set for 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 in Bennett Auditorium. The Wilberg concert is set for 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 18 at Main Street Baptist Church. Tickets for both events are available at the Southern Miss ticket office, 601.266.5418 or www.southernmisstickets.com.