The Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony performed for thousands of elementary school children today and will put on another show for the public tonight during a series of concerts on the Mississippi State campus.
Approximately 3,000 students from Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Clay County and Jasper County converged on Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall this morning for the orchestra”s “Programs for Children.” Funded by a $4,750 grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts, the programs allowed students to sing along with a orchestral versions of American folk songs, as performed by the Starkville-MSU Symphony Orchestra.
The public is invited to another performance today at 7:30 p.m., dubbed “Folksong Fantasia,” in Bettersworth Auditorium. Admission is free.
The orchestra will be visited by several special guests during the performance, including John Oeth on guitar. Oeth won the MSU Department of Music”s Concierto/Aria Contest. Tenor Phashun King and soprano Elizabeth Jones will sing with the orchestra.
Dr. Michael Brown, head of the Mississippi State Department of Music, is conductor of the MSU-Starkville Symphony.
“It”s going to be an interesting concert,” said Robert Phillips, president of the MSU-Starkville Symphony Association. “It focuses on folk songs. Serious composers have used folk tunes for their compositions … so this is kind of an exploration of the use of folk elements in orchestral music.”
The Starkville-MSU Symphony and Symphony Choir are made up of paid professionals and Mississippi State students. Some members are in the music departments at Mississippi State and Mississippi University for Women, others travel to Starkville from Tuscaloosa and Memphis, while others are MSU students looking to advance their musical careers.
“We draw from all across the region,” Phillips said.
For more information on tonight”s performance or the Starkville-MSU Symphony Association, visit www.starkvillemsusymphony.org.