October 19, 2022
Article by Laura O’Neill
After a three-year hiatus, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra recently returned to the stage at Pearl River Community College. Both the orchestra and the audience were excited for the revival of the annual performance at Ethel Holden Brownstone Center for the Arts.
The music covered several different movie scores as well as selections that are recognizable to many from their use in commercials and shows. From the delicate, music box sound of the celesta familiar to Harry Potter fans to the clang of the cymbals in “Stars and Stripes Forever,” the building was alive with music reverberating off the special paneling put in place for the concert.
At the start of the concert, Music Director and Conductor Crafton Beck turned to the audience, encouraging them to sing along with the National Anthem. As the audience stood, you could hear the words sung while the orchestra played.
The first half of the evening had a fantasy focus with selections like “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone, selections from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a medley of music from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe movie, and the theme from the 2009 movie, Star Trek. The percussionists took to the spotlight front and center for the piece “‘Dill Pickles’ Two Step.” The pre-intermission session ended with a medley of popular Beatles songs.
The second half of the evening had a western focus with well-known songs like the “Overture (Finales)” by William Tell and “Hoedown” by Aaron Copeland. Whimsical sounds were found throughout “Pops Hoedown” arranged by Richard Hayman that included familiar kids tunes like “Pop Goes the Weasel.” “Hymn to the Fallen” from Saving Private Ryan provided a segue to more patriotic pieces. The evening ended with the audience again invited to sing while “God Bless America” was played, followed by “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa.
BRINGING MUSIC TO LIFE FOR STUDENTS
Dozens of audience members were PRCC students currently taking Music Appreciation. They came to not only experience the live performance, but to take notes of what was happening throughout the evening. Attending this concert was part of their overall learning experience for the class.
Instructor of Music Dr. Pamela Jones teaches Music Appreciation on the Poplarville Campus and finds it a joy to teach in part because of the wonderful concert opportunities at the Brownstone Center.
“To appreciate music on a deeper level, students need knowledge and experience, and, for that, there’s no substitute for the excitement of a live performance,” said Jones. “Most of my students have never attended a symphony orchestra concert, so this event was a new experience for them and one that the students will probably remember for years to come.
“In class, students have been learning the instruments of the orchestra and how to recognize the elements of music when listening. This concert was a perfect way for the students to apply that knowledge and hone their listening skills to develop a deeper appreciation of music.”
Myron Hebson from Jayess is one of Dr. Jones’ students and has been in band since fifth grade. He took many notes during the concert that were inspired by things learned in class.
“Coming tonight really opened my eyes to a new aspect of music appreciation,” said Hebson, “The tribute to the Beatles was my favorite. I recognized the songs and really loved it with the different solos.”
Two more events are scheduled for the fall semester.
Twas the Night will take place on November 17th at 7 PM. Tickets will be $7. The student concert will feature The Jazz Cats, The Voices, PRCC Singers, and The String of Pearls.
The annual performances of The Nutcracker will be on December 3 at 2 PM and 7 PM and on December 4 at 2 PM. Tickets are $17 for the balcony and $22 for orchestra seating.
Tickets for each event can be purchased at prcc.edu/brownstone/upcoming-events/ or by calling 601-403-1180.