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Browning directs first concert with symphony chorus

November 11, 2012

By MATT CRANE
life@starkvilledailynews.com

The sounds and songs of classic American history will ring out Sunday as the Starkville-Mississippi State University Symphony Chorus presents “Songs of Our American Heritage” at 3 p.m. in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church in Starkville.

Chorus member Doug Feig said the concert will feature Southern classics such as “Dixie,” along with songs reflecting the pioneering and Western heritage of America like “Cindy,” “Poor Lonesome Cowboy” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky.”

“Sunday’s concert is basically a slice of Americana,” he said. “We’ll be singing old time favorites and tunes by Stephen Foster like ‘Camptown Races,’ ‘Some Folks’ and ‘Beautiful Dreamer.’”

Feig said the chorus will be assisted by a special guest one particular number.

“The arrangement of ‘Cindy’ calls for two choirs, so on that number we will be joined by the Columbus Choral Society,” he said. “A week later, the Chorus will return the favor by going the Choral Society at its fall concert in Columbus.”

Feig, a Chorus member for the past 25 years, said he while he does not consider himself a solo singer, he loves the art of choral singing.

“I like singing a part and hearing the parts fit together and compliment each other,” he said. “It’s a metaphor for life, I think, of not having just one voice, but working together to blend with other voices to make something beautiful that you couldn’t make on your own.”

Sunday’s concert will also mark the debut of new Symphony Chorus director, Doug Browning.

Browning, Director of Choirs at the Mississippi University for Women, said he is excited about the concert.

“They are such a great group to work with,” he said. “They’ve worked so hard not the material.”

Browning said the concert’s set of American folk tunes will provide an entertaining and light atmosphere for people to enjoy Sunday.

“These are tunes that lend themselves to having fun,” he said. “I’m sure our next concert will be a contrast to this, but we just want to have a good time.”

Browning said along with entertaining crowds at the concert, he hopes to garner more volunteers to sing with the Chorus as well.

“You have to put a really good product on stage so people who see you will want to be a part of what you’re doing,” he said. “We encourage others to come and experience a different side of choral music. When you’re singing with the focus of making the art as good as it can be, it’s rewarding.”

The Starkville-MSU Symphony Chorus’s “Songs of Our American Heritage” begins at 3 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church in Starkville.

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