Annual MSU music department event to celebrate British poets

Contact: Sammy McDavid

Campus music faculty and students, assisted by several guest instrumentalists, make up the cast for the MSU music department’s 2018 Poetry and Music Program set for Feb. 13. (Submitted photo)

STARKVILLE, Miss—Get ready, “The Brits Are Coming!”

That’s the title of the Mississippi State Department of Music’s 2018 Poetry and Music Program, a song collection that this year is set to the works of three major British poets.

Drawing from the works of A.E. Housman, Edith Sitwell and William Butler Yeats, the free event begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday [Feb. 13] in Harrison Auditorium of the university’s Giles Architecture Building.

The grand finale will include selections from popular comic operas by the beloved British partnership of librettist W. S. Gilbert and composer Arthur Sullivan.

Following the concert—and also open to all—a Giles lobby reception will be hosted by the campus chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota international music fraternity. 

Now in its 11th year, the concert series is the brainchild of Karen Murphy, the music department’s collaborative piano coordinator, and Nancy D. Hargrove, William L. Giles Distinguished Professor Emerita of English.

In addition to co-directing duties, Murphy is the program’s pianist, while Hargrove provides a running Powerpoint presentation about the featured poets, composers and their collections.

Campus music faculty and students, assisted by several guest instrumentalists, make up the cast. Featured singers are assistant professor Jeanette Fontaine, mezzo-soprano; instructor Ryan Landis, tenor; and assistant professor Roza Tulyaganova, soprano. 

Department head Barry Kopetz and choral activities director Gary Packwood will conduct, respectively, the Façade and Men of State ensembles. 

Student soloists are tenor Blake Mauldin of Pinson, Alabama, a sophomore music education major; soprano Alysa G. “Gracie” Tew of Brandon, a junior music major; baritone Trevor A. Blood of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, a junior music education major; baritone Daniel K. Joyner of Alamo, Tennessee, a junior music education major; soprano Corinne “Cori” Reece of Aberdeen, a senior music major; and tenor James E. “Jimmy” Rustenhaven of Olive Branch, a senior music education major.

Others are tenor Joseph A. “Joe” Lindamood of Starkville, a senior music major; soprano Leah Boyd of Madison, Alabama, a junior music education major; soprano Sydney A. Harrell of Houston, a senior music education major; soprano Zierra A. Long of Tupelo, a senior psychology major; soprano Payton Tanner of Alabaster, Alabama, a junior music major; and baritone John H. Williams of Lake Charles, Louisiana, a music education major.

Instrumentalists include Silvia Suarez, violin; Trisha Whiteside, violin; Amaro Dubois, viola; Alisha Rufty, cello; music instructor Matthew Haislip, horn; associate professor Jason Baker, percussion; lecturer Jessica Banks, flute; instructor Sheri Falcone, clarinet; assistant professor Anthony B. “Tony” Kirkland, trumpet; junior music education major Terrell J. Gilmore of Tupelo, alto saxophone; and senior geosciences major Jacob S. Lanier of Marietta, Georgia, bass clarinet.

“With the addition of the string quartet and ‘Façade’ ensemble to our talented pianist and singers, this is our most ambitious program yet,” Hargrove said.

“We are inviting the campus and Golden Triangle communities to join us for an evening of wonderful music and comedy, along with a surprise or two,” she added.

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