The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi:
Sounds of the season will reverberate throughout the sanctuary at Main Street Baptist Church in Hattiesburg as The University of Southern Mississippi Symphony Orchestra presents its annual Holiday Choral Spectacular at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 2 and Thursday, Dec. 4.
In addition to the Symphony Orchestra, the special evening of music will feature The Southern Chorale, Concert Choir, Southern Miss Men and Women's Choruses and local choral groups from Forrest County Agricultural, Columbia Academy, Oak Grove High School, Sumrall, Lamar Christian, Laurel High School and Hattiesburg High School.
"This is an event people look forward to all year," said Greg Fuller, director of choral activities. "Again this year, we are offering two performances as last year's performances sold out so quickly."
The concert includes popular holiday favorites from "I'll Be Home for Christmas" to "We Need a Little Christmas." Also on the program are several movements of Handel's Messiah arranged by Dr. Mack Wilberg, conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Under the direction of Dr. Gregory Fuller, Dr. John Flanery, and Dr. Webb Parker, audiences will find this year's pieces to be lighter and full of more holiday favorites.
The choirs will also perform Carols of Christmas: A Festival of Carols created and arranged by Laurel native, James Quitman Mulholland, along with his arrangement of Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus. This is the first time these pieces will be performed with orchestra and Mulholland will be in attendance both nights to hear his pieces premiered fully orchestrated.
"This is such a great opportunity for the community to come together and hear great music. These high schools have a fantastic opportunity to sing with a collegiate ensemble and a wonderful orchestra," said Flanery.
General admission tickets are $18 adult and $10 for youth. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Children's Center for Communication and Development at Southern Miss.
The holiday collaboration between the Symphony Orchestra and Children's Center has turned into an annual event that provides a rewarding payoff for both parties. Dr. Jay Dean, music director for the Symphony Orchestra, said the Holiday Choral Spectacular would serve as the ideal Christmas gift.
"In this stressful economic time, I think it would be a great idea to give tickets to this event to friends and family so that those of us who have more than we need can help these children and their families," Dean said.
The Children's Center, a United Way agency, is an early intervention program serving communicatively- and developmentally-delayed children from infancy through age 5. Direct services are provided to more than 70 children and their families from 18 counties in the state, while training university students in speech and hearing sciences and other allied health disciplines. School of Music students gain hands-on experience working with these children.
Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling the Children's Center at 601.266.5222 or the Southern Miss Ticket Office at 601.266.5418; or by visiting www.southernmisstickets.com. Remaining tickets will also be available at the door, but patrons are encouraged to get their tickets early is this event often sells out.