POPLARVILLE – Five former students and instructors have been selected as the inaugural members of the Fine Arts Hall of Fame at Pearl River Community College.
They are Connie Holmes and Dr. Mark Malone, both of Hattiesburg; Howell Purvis of Purvis, Archie Rawls of Poplarville and the late Michael Sprinkell of Gulfport.
They will be honored during the PRCC Choral Concert at 7 p.m. April 17 at the Brownstone Center in Poplarville.
“We have been wanting to start a hall of fame for several years,” said Dr. Kyle Hill, chairman of the Department of Fine Arts and Communication. “It is an opportunity to honor former students and instructors in all areas of the arts, those who have contributed to the success of the department over the years.”
The honorees will be introduced between the performances of the RiverRoad Pop Choir and the PRCC Singers. Tickets for the concert are $5 at the door.
Holmes taught speech and drama courses at PRCC from 1971-2001, sponsored Delta Psi Omega community college theater honor society and directed children’s theater as well as PRCC productions, including a dinner theater. She also directed the String of Pearls dance team for more than 20 years. Holmes taught part-time at the Forrest County Center after her retirement.
For 21 years, Malone was director of choral music at PRCC where he conducted The Pearl River Singers, RiverRoad show choir and The Voices ensemble along with teaching music courses. Choirs under his direction made three concert tours of England, Wales, Scotland, and France and performed nationwide. He is in his 12th year as coordinator of music education and professor of music in the Winters School of Music at William Carey University. He also is the curriculum designer for the Mississippi Arts Commission’s Mississippi Blues Project.
Purvis played first trumpet at Pearl River before graduating in 1955 and entering Navy flight training. His career included 10 years as a Navy pilot and and 22 years as a member of the U.S. Secret Service. During that time, he was on the protection details of five presidents, five vice presidents and numerous foreign heads of state. Following retirement, he began playing the trumpet again. Through his association with VFW Post 3036, he has played Taps at 502 military funerals.
Rawls not only graduated from Pearl River but returned in 1980 as band director. When he retired in 2015, he was chairman of the Department of Fine Arts and Communication and director of the Brownstone Center. He was instrumental in the planning and construction of the Brownstone Center, which opened in 2013, and also supervised reconstruction of Moody Hall following Hurricane Katrina. Rawls serves as minister of music at Sandy Hook Baptist Church and as director of the Pearl River County Community Band and frequently adjudicates regional band festivals.
Sprinkell was a talented euphonium player who had earned numerous honors in high school, including selection through audition for the Lion’s All-State Band three years. As a music student at PRCC, he played first chair in the Community College All-State Band. Following his death in a traffic accident when he was a sophomore, his parents, Connie and Becky Sprinkell, established the Michael Sprinkell Memorial Band Scholarship at Pearl River.
Dr. Mark Malone