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Symphony to open season with concert

September 23, 2012

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, The Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony will fill the Cadence Bank plaza with the sounds of Dixieland.

“Pops on the Plaza” will open the symphony’s 44th season under the direction of conductor and music director Michael Brown, head of the MSU Department of Music.

“It’s been a long tradition to have ‘Pops on the Plaza’ be the opening event for the symphony and orchestra to be introduced to the city of Starkville,” he said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to have a good time downtown on a nice fall night.”

Brown, who has been the symphony’s music director for 10 years, said while the annual event has featured different types of music with small group including Jazz bands and bass quartets, Tuesday’s event will highlight the sounds and rhythms of Dixieland music.

“We have a new seven-piece group this year called the Barons of Boardtown,” he said. “We’ll be playing traditional Dixieland music that was made popular during the early part of the Jazz era.”

Brown said he has enjoyed rehearsing with the the group in preparation for the event.

“It’s just been fantastic and we have some great musicians,” he said. “Some of our members are faculty at the university while others include the talented musicians we have in the Starkville community.”

The Barons of Boardtown includes: Richard Human, trombone; Sheri Falcone, clarinet; Jason Baker, drums; Jim Beatty, bass; Doug Thomas, tenor saxophone; Myra Wingo, piano; and Brown playing cornet.

Brown said he believes those in attendance Tuesday will find the music selections, including the popular “When the Saints Go Marching In,” irresistible.

“It’s just fun music because there’s nothing too serious about it,” he said. “It’s lively music and people won’t be able to keep their feet still.”

Brown said the two-beat, bouncy feeling of Dixieland is different from Jazz music and closer to the style of Ragtime.

“It fits nicely into that niche of American music,” he said. “No one can listen to it and not like it because it is so peppy and jumping.”

Brown said he hopes for a big turn out for “Pops on the Plaza” and is excited about the symphony’s plans for its upcoming season.

“We’re always looking forward to our concerts which will be held at First Baptist Church this season because the Bettersworth Auditorium is closed,” he said. “For our first children’s concert, we’ll be holding it in the Rent Audition on the MUW campus which will be the first time we’ve played outside of Starkville.”

Brown said Tuesday’s event will feature free soft drinks and popcorn and is hopeful the Starkville community will show up to support its local symphony.

“It’s going to be a chance to enjoy this beautiful weather and some nice music,” he said. “Tuesday will be a nice evening of enjoying life, music and Starkville.”

“Pops on the Plaza” begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Cadence Bank plaza in downtown Starkville.

For more information, visit or call 662-325-3070.

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