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The Southern Miss Wind Ensemble has a long tradition of excellence in the wind band arena. Under the direction of Dr. Catherine Rand, the Wind Ensemble at Southern Miss has reached a reputation of international acclaim.
The Wind Ensemble at Southern Miss is one of the premiere performing ensembles of the University. The organization presents numerous concerts throughout the academic calendar spanning a wide variety of styles from traditional to avant-garde. Performances since 1985 have included many Mississippi Bandmasters Association Conventions, Southern Instrumental Conductors Conferences, two regional College Band Directors National Association Conventions, two national College Band Directors National Association Conventions including the “Golden Anniversary” Convention held in Kansas City in 1991, and two Annual National Conventions of the American Bandmasters Association, the last of which was hosted by the ensemble.
Guest soloists with the ensemble have included such notable artist performers as Roger Bobo, James Thatcher, Brian Bowman, Stanley Drucker, Christian Lindberg, Allen Vizzutti, Joseph Alessi, and Steve Mead. The Wind Ensemble continues to set a standard among the finest groups of its type in the United States.
The Symphonic Winds performs a variety of musical styles, focusing on new literature written for the college band. Consisting of both music majors and minors, the Symphonic Winds is an important musical outlet for the serious musician. Most agree, this ensembles performances are equal to most top university wind ensembles. The Symphonic Winds is under the current direction of Dr. Colin McKenzie.
The Southern Miss Concert Band is a varsity musical ensemble for the music major and non major alike. Performing traditional band literature, the ensemble provides a performance medium for the busy student musician. The Concert Band is under the current direction of Travis Higa.
Great band programs are built on a foundation of tradition. Since its founding in 1920 as a 20-piece brass ensemble, the Southern Miss band has evolved into a boastful marching band of more than 300. Its band department features three impressive concert ensembles, and a complete jazz studies division. The Wind Ensemble is world renowned and has toured throughout the United States and Europe.
The Pride of Mississippi performs at all home football games, numerous away games, and high school marching band contests and festivals during the football season, and has performed before presidents, governors, and even the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Ireland twice (1993 and 1997), having toured throughout the United States and to England and Ireland. Performing for such events as the F.D.R. inaugural parade in the 1930s, the Senior Bowl, and professional and collegiate bowl games including a performance with the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in 2006. The Pride has enjoyed more television and national audience exposure than any other band in the South. The program at Southern Miss is regarded throughout the nation as one of the finest band programs.
The Dixie Darlings, from The University of Southern Mississippi, were founded by Dr. Raymond Mannoni in 1954. He had a vision and wanted to start a drill team of young women, patterned after the Kilgore Rangerettes to perform with the University’s marching band, The Pride Of Mississippi. Members were initially chosen by the group’s founder on their dancing and twirling ability, and the group soon gained recognition and fame as the “Rockettes of the Gridiron”.
During the 1950’s and 1960’s the group appeared at various prestigious events such as the Sugar Bowl and the Liberty Bowl. In 1994, a group of 18 alumnae came together for a reunion. Reunions since then have brought greater numbers together and the current alumnae group now enjoys performing as well as fundraising for a number of charities.
Meeting once per week in the spring semester only, the University Band is a great way for non-music major band students to participate in a concert band. This ensemble also offers opportunities for music majors to perform on a secondary instrument and for graduate students to conduct and administer a major facet of the concert band program.
The Basketball Pep Band supports the men’s and women’s basketball teams and a select number of home basketball games, the conference basketball tournament, and any NCAA tournament play which occurs each season. Membership is open to all students by audition.
You can also perform with the Marching Band during pre-game and halftime shows by being a Feature Twirler and in the Color Guard!
- Southern Miss Wind Ensemble was one of only 10 college ensembles to be selected to perform at the College Band Directors National Association Conference 2019 (CBDNA) in the Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe, Arizona.
- The Wind Ensemble released its first compact disc with the NAXOS Wind Band Classics series entitled, “Alchemize” in December 2017. The disc features music by the Pulitzer Prize-winner Joseph Schwantner, the late David Maslanka, and young composer Steven Bryant. The contemporary CD features faculty members Jackie McIlwain on clarinet and tenor, Jonathan Yarrington. Listen to "Alchemize" on Spotify!
- The Pride of Mississippi, boasting an enrollment of nearly 300 members, is full of the spirit, tradition, energy, and excellence to which we have all become accustomed. The Pride of Mississippi plans to perform in exhibition at 3 different high school marching band contests in addition to our usual set of home football games, as well as take it's Southern Spirit abroad for a tour of Spain.