Centennial Arts Gala Theme - GOLD

HATTIESBURG, MS (THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI) – South Mississippi art patrons eagerly anticipate what has become a University of Southern Mississippi tradition – the annual Arts Gala.

This year, patrons will enter a golden world as they travel through time in a celebration of the university's 100th anniversary at "Gold" – the 2010 Centennial Arts Gala Thursday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lake Terrace Convention Center. A spectacular vision from the Southern Miss College of Arts and Letters, "Gold" promises to be one of the single largest fundraising events in South Mississippi.

"This event directly supports the arts and raises awareness of the extraordinary training students receive in our arts programs," said Dr. Denise von Herrmann, dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

Several local businesses have already underwritten some of the event costs along with individuals who have given above and beyond the ticket price to show their support.

"As a showcase of student and faculty work alone, the Gala is an invaluable tool in our efforts to build a strong base of appreciation and understanding for all our arts programs," von Herrmann said. "Through the generous donations of Gala sponsors we are now assured of even greater financial support as a result of this wonderful event."

Beyond the financial value, "Gold" is sure to be another amazing experience for all who attend, one meticulously designed and seamlessly crafted by the minds that brought the worlds of Atlantis and Shangri-La, as well as the 2009 Arts Gala to Hattiesburg. Guests will go on an extraordinary journey through the decades while enjoying the combined talents of more than 500 performers.

The gala design is realized and amplified by the multi-talented faculty, staff and students who jumpstart their performance and exhibition year with this enormous, collective effort. Students like Anastasia Talley, a junior music education major from Bolton, Miss., get the chance to showcase what they have learned.

Talley studies with Dr. Kimberly Davis at Southern Miss, is a member of the Concert Choir, has performed in a Broadway showcase and held the title role in the Southern Opera and Musical Theatre Company's production of "Little Red Riding Hood."

"I saw the audition announcement and had seen pictures from previous galas and it looked phenomenal," Talley said. "An opportunity to perform at this event was just a dream. After I sang my prepared piece, they asked me to imitate a celebrity. Before I knew it I was belting out pop tunes."

Talley will recreate the timeless performances and melodies of legendary music icons such as Whitney Houston and The Supremes. Although other plans for "Gold" are being kept under wraps, guests can expect a supper club with sparkling amenities, a sumptuous buffet and entertainment from some very special music guests, dancers and actors like Talley.

"We have already had a tremendous response to advance tickets that were made available to Partners for the Arts members," said Dr. Mike Lopinto, event designer and director. "We are particularly excited about this year's show that is packed with some of the greatest music we've ever presented."

Tickets to "Gold" – the 2010 Centennial Arts Gala Tickets go on sale to the public July 6. For information, call 601.266.5922. Sponsorships and donations are still welcomed.

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