Everyday Excellence


Sharing great successes, large and small, of our faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Share yours yours here.



  • "It's so cool when music fills the air again!" - Anonymous student

  • "I just had the best lesson with Dr. Kyle!" - Anonumous student

  • "The new art in the MPAC lobby is really nice!" - Mike Lopinto

  • "I'm looking forward to another great semester with Dr. Fuller and Dr. Flannery." - Aaron Strum

  • "Looking forward to having the students back on campus and making noise in the hall!" - Cheryl Burnette
  • The College of Arts & Letters Creative Activity Award was presented to Dr. Nicholas Ciraldo who was selected on the merits of his international performing career. 

  • Aaron Strum, student of Tyrone Hayes, won Sales and Marketing Pine Belt's Rising Star Award for his work with FestivalSouth and other on campus entities.

  • Hilary Bounds, sophomore vocal performance major, won the National Youth Leadership award from the National Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Coalition.

  • Giuseppe Ruggiero Mezzadri was born to flute faculty member Dr. Danilo Mezzadri on July 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm. weighing 6 pounds and 10 ounces (2.7 kg). Mom, Susie is doing great!

  • Liam Benjamin McIlwain was born to trombone faculty member Dr. Ben McIlwain on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011 at 9:26 pm CST.  He was 8 lbs, 12 oz. and 22 inches long.  Baby and mom are well and are in good hands!

  • Mamie Walters, administrative assistant to the School of Music, welcomed grandson Ashton Henry Boudreaux, born Friday, August 5th at 12:45 p.m. weighing 7lbs. 3.7 oz. and 21.5 inches tall. 

  • Dr. Nicholas Ciraldo recently received a great review at allmusic.com. The site raved, "This is the sign of a talented  composer and a talented guitarist who can bring his work to life." Read more here.   

  • Thomas Stief, a former student of composition professor, Luigi Zaninelli, recently published two works for orchestra. Imagine Music Publishing in New York published "Wind Spirit" and "Path of a Sunray".

  • Amanda Virelles (MM, DMA 2008) recently released a solo CD consisting of Cuban Piano music. She was a student of Dr. Lois Leventha



  • Dr. Douglas Rust recently received grant funding from the Mississippi Humanities Council for a lecture recital.  Prof. David Smyth will deliver a public lecture entitled "Contextualizing Beethoven's Archduke Trio" and will conclude with a presentation of Beethoven's Archduke Trio, Opus 97.

  • Dr. Maryann Kyle will perform her one-woman show, Sondheim in the City, at the Laurie Beechman Theatre In Times Square, New York on Saturday, October 1 at 7 p.m. The production is directed by Dr. Mike Lopinto and choreographed by Brett Barnes. Read more. 

  • The Spirit of Southern was featured and involved in the ACDA's Male Vocal Symposium on 10 September 2011 where 150 young men came together to put on a concert at Pearl High School in Pearl, MS. The group is directed by Dr. John Flanery.

  • The Accento Trio, under the direction of Dr. Danilo Mezzadri,  opened the Guest Artists Recital Series and masterclass at Texas State University to a sold out audience on 12 September 2011.

  • Sunday, 11 September 2011, the Gulf Coast Civic Chorale and Long Beach High School, under the direction of Dr. John Flanery, sang a tribute to those affected by the 9/11 attacks to a full house at the USM Gulf Coast campus.  

  • On 1 October 2011, Austin Symphony Orchestra conductor Peter Bay, the Miro String Quartet, and 150 guitarists will premiere a 5-movement work commissioned by the Austin Classical Guitar Society, entitled Austin Pictures by Southern Miss visiting instructor of guitar, Joseph Williams II, in the Austin City Limits studio. http://austinpictures.org/

  • Dr. Mike Lopinto is featured in the current issue of Mississippi Magazine for his work on Symphony and Arts Galas over the past few years. The article highlights last year's Centennial Arts Gala with beautiful photos including School of Music students Jonathan Brannan, Nikisha Williams, Josh Elmore, Tinyke Cooper, Truett Beasely, and Melanie Gardener. Read more here.
  • The University of Southern Mississippi School of Music has partnered with the Kawai Piano Company to bring new pianos to music students at the university. The Elite Performing Instrument Collection (EPIC) will provide brand new loaner pianos that will be purchased at a substantial discount as part of the program that aims to replace almost all of the pianos in the school with new ones over the next 10 years. The first 10 upright pianos arrived this week. In cooperation with the USM Foundation, a private and corporate fundraising initiative complementing this effort is planned to start immediately with a goal of $500,000 to replace the pianos. TO be a part of this effort, please call the Foundation at 601.266.5210. Read more here.
  • The Spirit of Southern recently sang the national anthem at the opening of the Stion solar energy plant in the Hattiesburg Industrial Park. Among the crowd were Governor Hailey Barbour, Lt. Governor Phil Bryant, Senator Steven Palazzo, and President Martha Saunders.


  • Dr. Lawrence Gwozdz was selected as the 2011 recipient of the Joe Barry Mullins Memorial Award for the City of Hattiesburg Concert Band.  The award (chosen by members of the organization) was presented to Dr. Gwozdz this past Sunday during their opening concert for the 2011 -2012 season. 

  • Maryann Kyle, Mike Lopinto and Brett Barnes were featured on Broadwayworld.com for their Off-Broadway opening of Sondheim in the City that opened October 1 at the famed Laurie Beechman Theater on 42nd Street. 
  • Beginning Wednesday, October 5, the School of Music will offer a FREE, five-week lecture series on "The Symphonies of Beethoven."   It will take place on Wednesday nights from 6:30pm to 8:00pm in Room 214 of the Fine Arts Building (FAB).  The course, led by Dr. Ed Hafer, is designed for beginners, seasoned concert goers, and everyone in between.

  • Last weekend in North Carolina, Dr. Jonathan Holden performed the Copland Sextet and Prokofiev Overture on Hebrew Themes with the Voxare String Quartet and Pianist Barbara McKenzie.

  • Over 600 high school and junior college singers participated in the Southern Invitational Choral Conference (SICC) last week. The festival is coordinated by Dr. Gregory Fuller and Dr. John Flanery and featured guest clinicians Ronnie Oliver, Jeff Johnson, Mike Dye and Joelle Norris. Pictured here are members of the college choir.

  • School of Music sophomore Grace Claire Cordes was crowned Miss Southern Miss this past weekend. The vocal performance major sang Puccini's O Mio Babbino Caro winning talent. She is a student of Dr. Maryann Kyle. 

  • Southern Miss graduate Tom Smith was appointed as the first Professor of Jazz Studies in Zhejiang Province, China. Smith began his duties in late August.

  • Dr. Maryann Kyle recently presented a Command Performance Workshop for over 60 university instructors associated with the North Florida NATS Association at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, FL.

  • Dr. Lawrence Gwozdz recently performed the world premiere of Michael Young's "Concerto for Saxophone and Wind Ensemble" with the University of Arkansas Wind Symphony. He then went on to perform at a recital at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

  • Dr. Ben McIlwain recently completed a visit to Quebec City, Canada, where he gave a master class and a recital at Laval University, performing the Canadian premiere of Ken Davies' "Crossroads."

  • Over fall break, Dr. Jason Bergman, Dr. Ben McIlwain, and Dr. Ellen Elder collectively toured several large universities including the University of Alabama, Columbus State University, and Florida State University.

  • The Spirit of Southern, under the direction of Dr. John Flanery, recently went to Memphis for a high school recruiting trip. The group sang to crowds in and around the Memphis area.

  • The Southern BelleTones toured in Monroe, LA and sang to receptive crowds at local high schools as part of a recruiting tour for the School of Music.

  • Composer Judith Lang Zaimont was recently featured in an interview with Dr. Joe Brumbeloe. The article was featured in Online Continuo and can be accessed here.

  • Dr. Danilo Mezzadri, recently lectured and performed at the IV Flutists Summit in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Among those featured was international artist Ranson Wilson from Yale University. 
  • The Cello Festival was a great success. The masterclasses were amazing and Sara Sant'ambrogio's recital was unique. There were students there from Florida to New Orleans and they had were pretty amazed by the level of our cello studio. -Ana Cristina Abrantes

  • Concert Choir's performance last week was amazing! Whitney Gillespie's conducting for "Arise, Shine" was such an inspiration to me as an aspiring conductor. -Rachel Upton
  • “I am so excited! I just got cast as Melchior in Spring Awakening with Theatre 13 in New Orleans.” –Brett Barnes

  • I am embarking on my Ph.D. program in musicology at The University of Georgia, singing in the Atlanta Schola Cantorum, ringing in the Atlanta Concert Ringers and recently was cast in The Play of Herod with the Atlanta Camerat. Wimberly Thomas, Southern Miss alum.

  • Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends gathered in front of Bennett Auditorium in the heart of campus at homecoming to enjoy lunch provided by the School of Music. See photos on our Facebook page.
  • My husband, grandchildren and I had a great time tailgating with School of Music. Thanks for inviting us.  -Martha Tisdale

  • Tailgating with the School of Music for homecoming makes me so proud! – Anonymous

  • The Southern Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Greg Fuller, just completed a tour of southern Louisiana with the famed composer, James Q. Mulholland. The ensemble recently completed recording a CD for Mulholland's most recent set of a capella songs.

  • The Presidential Brown Bag Concert Series "Eagles on the Ivories" recently featured USM piano students Buck McDaniel, Nathanael Minor, Ashley Tate, Roland Austin, Jordan Foster, Pamela Pollard Finch, AJ Rooney, Keith Ivy, and Gustavo Schafaschek.

  • Music Education majors, Brittany Trotter, Demetrius Robinson, and LaTerence Varnado have just been accepted into the McNair Scholars Program.



  • Dr. Jonathan Holden will be performing the Weber Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra with the Kalamazoo Philharmonia and Director Andrew Koehler - 8pm, November 12th, Dalton Theater, Light Fine Arts Center, Kalamazoo College, Michigan.

  • Music Education students Becky Halliday and Lindsey Keay have been invited to present their research to the American Education Research Association.

  • Sondhiem in the City is featured as part of an article on cabarets in  the new issue of Legends Magazine. It features Dr. Maryann Kyle.  A special homecoming performance is planned for Saturday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the MPAC Auditorium. Get tickets here.

  • The Spirit of Southern, under the direction of Dr. John Flanery, recently returned from a recruiting trip to the panhandle of Florida. The group was well received and generated much interest. 

  • Recently, Dr. Ben McIlwain, Dr. Jason Bergman, and Dr. Ellen Elder performed together in recital at the Mississippi Music Teacher Association's Annual Conference which was held on the campus of Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi. 

  • Music Education majors, Brittany Trotter, Demetrius Robinson, and LaTerence Varnado have been accepted into the McNair Scholars Program.

  • As part of the EPIC program, a piano replacement fund within the School of Music, Lonnie Young, piano technician, is donating the proceeds of his work during the month of November to the fund if the  custumer' requests. Mr. Young will also tune and donate the proceeds as a gift in honor of a family member, friend, or house of worship. For more information contact him here.

  • Dr. Ben McIlwain recently wrote an article on 2010 International Trombone Association Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, Stuart Dempster. The article was published in the International Trombone JournaI.

  • Piano major, Buck McDaniel, won 1st place at the state level of the MTNA Composition Competition for his piece "One Day Tells Its Tale to Another."

  • Koty Cox, Deanna Hunt, Lindsey Daniels, and Eric Fry recently placed in the MTNA Competition. They will now advance to the Southern Division competitions at Mississippi College in January.

  • Dr. Mohamad Schuman recently served as a music performance judge at the South Carolina State Marching Band Championship.

  • The 2010 Pride of Mississippi Marching Band is one of the featured sound clips used in the recently released movie, Tower Heist. The clip is from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and features "We Wish You a Mary Christmas" followed by "Joy to the World."

  • Dr. Hsiaopei Lee recently returned from a concert tour to Louisiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. Last week, Dr. Lee also premiered "Between Streams and Hills V - Odyssey," by Dr. Chih-Chen Wei.

  • Winning artists from The University of Southern Mississippi in the MTNA State Competitions held at Jones County Junior college included Koty Cox, Saxophonist in the Young Artist Solo Division and the Euphoria Saxophone Quartet (Koty Cox, Deanna Hunt, Lindsey Daniels, and Eric Fry).  They will now advance to the Southern Division Competitions at Mississippi College in January.

  • On Thursday, November 11, Dr. Jason Bergman presented a trumpet master class and clinic at Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS.

  • Dr. Ellen Elder performed Rhapsody in Blue during the November 13, 2011 Hattiesburg City Band concert.  She was accompanied by Pamela Finch, junior piano performance major.

  • Graham and Stefanie Anduri, students of Dr. Maryann Kyle, were recently accepted to The International Performing Arts Institute. They will be learning and performing in Germany this summer.

  • The following students recently placed in the Regional NATS vocal competition at Mississippi College in Clinton, MS:
    Stephanie Miles 3rd place in Freshman Women
    Jeremy Hayes    2nd place in Sophomore men
    Angeley Butler 1st place in Junior Women
    Kayla Boyte 3rd place in Senior Women
    Danielle Adams 5th place in Senior Women
    Mattie Obregon 3rd place in Younger Graduate Women
    Deanna Tisdale 1st place in Younger Graduate Women
    Lori Joyner 1st place in Older Graduate Women
    Melanie Gardner 2nd place in Older Graduate Women
    Tara Melvin 3rd place in Older Graduate Women
    John White 1st place in Older Graduate men
    Tyrone Hayes 2nd place in Older Graduate Men  
    All are students of Dr. Maryann Kyle except Kayla Boyte who is a student of Jenn Tipton.

  • Administrative assistant, Mamie Walters welcomed grandson, Landon Jack, born at 11:11 a.m. on 11/11/2011.

  • The Spirit of Southern, under the direction of Dr. John Flanery, recently filmed and sang for a commercial for the university at the home of Dr. Martha Saunders.  
  • Dr. Maryann Kyle taught a COMMAND PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Southern Region Convention in Clinton, Ms.    
  • Violinist Rainel Joubert was just named a semi-finalist of the 15th Annual Sphinx Competition in Detroit, MI. Of all the applicants, only 15 are chosen to travel to Detroit to take part in the live rounds of the competition. First prize is $10,000 and a solo tour with professional orchestras.  By being named a semi-finalist, he will be able choose from a variety of summer music festivals to attend on full scholarship. Joubert is a student of Shannon Thomas.
  • The EPIC Piano Recital by Petronel Malan was fantastic. Bravo! – Anonymous



  • The University of Southern Mississippi Handbell Choir, Carillon, will be touring France in July and you are invited to join them!  Click here for more information.

  • Dr. Jay  Dean will be accepting the Excellence in Global Arts and Culture award at the International Business Awards Luncheon in Jackson, MS. Student musicians, the Havana String Quartet will also be featured at this event.

  • The fifth annual tuba-euphonium symposium will be held Saturday, January 21, 2012 With Clinician Dr. Richard Perry and special guests, the Symbiosis Duo. For more information, please click here.
  • I would like to wish everyone good luck on finals and juries.  Fall has been a blast.  I am sure that spring will be bouncing with excitement with a new year in front of all of us. -Cheryl Burnette

  • I am so excited the final renovations on Marsh start TOMORROW! - Mike Lopinto