From a variety of band classics and toe-tapping jazz selections to an internationally acclaimed operatic masterpiece and a traditional holiday spectacular, enthusiasts of all musical genres will find plenty to enjoy during the Fall Concert Series at Mississippi College.
The annual “smorgasbord of music” curated by Ben Williams, chair of the Department of Music, is designed to emphasize the incredible range and talent of faculty and student performers. The fall lineup features traditional favorites mixed with guest instrumentalists, worshipful arrangements, and choral performances that underscore the Christian University’s devotion to the arts.
An inaugural Departmental Preview Concert will kick off the season at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 29, in Swor Auditorium in Nelson Hall. Every band and choral ensemble in the Music Department will participate in what Williams hopes to be an annual event.
“Parents of students in either the choir or band are always amazed when they see what else our students can do,” Williams said. “Each of our ensembles has a lot to offer, and we’re hoping this will spark some interest for the community to find a new favorite.”
The MC Jazz Band and Marching Band, Worship Collective, MC Singers, and others are scheduled to perform at the free event open to the public.
In mid-October, the department’s focus will be on French composer Georges Bizet’s most famous opera and greatest contribution to classical music. At 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, Chadley Ballantyne, the guest artist who will be singing in the Lyric Stage at MC’s performance of Carmen, will present a “Voice Masterclass” in the Aven Fine Arts Building. Ballantyne, assistant professor of music and voice at Stetson University, has performed with several opera companies throughout the U.S. and is a frequent guest speaker on the application of vocal acoustic pedagogy for classical and contemporary commercial music techniques. His class is free and open to the public.
That weekend, Lyric Stage at MC will perhaps perform its most ambitious program, bringing Bizet’s “Carmen” to life at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, and Saturday, Oct. 14, in the Aven Fine Arts Building. Often considered the greatest operatic masterpiece the world has ever seen, the performance will feature Lyric Stage at MC students, faculty, guest artists, and a professional chamber orchestra.
“While we are always proud of the musical productions of our department’s Lyric Stage, putting on an opera of this magnitude is truly rare,” Williams said. “MC graduate student Annalee Crawford will perform the title character after having also studied vocal performance at MC for her undergraduate degree and truly blossomed as a performing artist in her own right.”
Lyric Stage will present “Carmen” in a 1940s film noir adaptation. Tickets cost $25 for adults, and $10 for students. Click here to purchase tickets.
Joseph Fleetwood, a concert pianist based in the United Kingdom known for his recent performances of Rachmaninoff’s “Third Concerto,” Beethoven’s “Third Concerto,” and many solo recitals, will give a piano recital at 3 p.m. followed by a masterclass at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the Aven Fine Arts Building. The events are free and open to the public.
Under the direction of trumpeter Wayne Linehan, second trumpet with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, MC’s Jazz Band will travel to Jackson on Thursday, Oct. 19, to present “Jazz Band in the Welty Garden” at 5 p.m. at renowned American author Eudora Welty’s house at 1119 Pinehurst Street.
“MC’s Jazz Band has a consistent following and always plays to a packed-out house,” Williams said. “Perhaps less known is this annual outdoor event that encourages attendees to bring a picnic and enjoy the music that Eudora Welty herself would have enjoyed performed by this top-notch ensemble.”
MC Singers, the premier choral ensemble at MC, will give its annual concert following the Homecoming parade at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, in Provine Chapel. MC Singers has performed throughout the U.S. and has toured in Europe and South Africa. The group will welcome back former MC Singers alumni who will join in a couple of the pieces. The free event is open to the public.
The MC Jazz Band will return to action at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, for an hourlong concert at the Aven Fine Arts Building. “These concerts never disappoint,” Williams said. The event is free and open to the public.
Directed by Beth Everett, director of choral activities, the Festival of Lights, a nearly 40-year-old tradition of choral music and lessons, will usher in the Christmas season at Mississippi College at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, in Provine Chapel. In a unique twist this year, “in between each lesson, the MC Singers will perform music from Handel’s famous ‘Messiah’ oratorio performed with live orchestra and organ,” Williams said. Tickets cost $20 each for adults and $10 for students. Click here to order.
Symphonic Winds, MC’s 55-plus-member wind ensemble under the direction of Duval Salvant, MC band director, will continue the festive tradition with a Fall Concert at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 4, in Swor Auditorium in Nelson Hall. The free event is open to the public. The following night, the Choctaw Chorus, a mixed-voice choir, will team with Worship Collective on a “Night of Worship” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 at First Baptist Church-Clinton. The evening of worship and music is free and open to the public.
To see a full schedule of musical performances for the fall, visit https://music.mc.edu/events.