Meridian Symphony Orchestra announces 2021-2022 season

Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 3:07 PM CDT
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The Meridian Symphony Orchestra is gearing up for a brand new season which will feature matinees, concert add-ons and expanded family and educational programming focusing on the community.

The symphony series includes six performances at the MSU Riley Center, while the salon series comprises four unique events in different settings celebrating the communities various arts and cultural assets.

The season will deliver a very diverse offering of artists of American composers along with artists from Meridian and Mississippi.

“We have something for folks of all ages,” said Carra Purvis, Executive Director of the MSU. “We really focused on family programming this year. We have a family package of three. Folks who are a little bit younger who may not be able to sit through an extended concert and we really want to have young folks at the concert. It’s very exciting for them to have concerts that really have content for them.”

The 61st season kicks off with a Sunday matinee on October 10, featuring Juilliard pianist Sean Chen performing works by American composers Gershwin, Bernstein, Copland, and others. Patrons can take advantage of a luncheon before the performance with special guest and Meridian’s own Miss Mississippi 2021 Holly Brand in the MSU Riley Center grand ballroom.

The ever-popular Beethoven & Blue Jeans returns Saturday, November 20. Concert goers are encouraged to enjoy a casual evening of barbecue in Dumont Plaza followed by an exhilarating performance featuring award-winning percussionist Britton-René Collins on marimba.

The longtime crowd favorite, Peppermint Pops will take place Saturday, December 4, featuring Mississippi native Danny Lyons on handbells and Meridian Symphony Chorus. Cookies, cocoa, and a visit by Santa make this a perfect holiday tradition for the whole family.

On Saturday, February 5, audiences will delight in the sounds of their favorite movie scores when Grammy-nominated trumpet artist TJ Tesh joins Maestro Rubardt and the MSO for Music of the Movies.

The second matinee of the season is a theatrical symphony concert slated for Sunday, April 10. Beethoven Lives Upstairs is an imaginative way to introduce young audiences and their families to the life and music of Beethoven. More than twenty-five excerpts of the master’s music, including Moonlight Sonata, Fur Elise, and the great Fifth and Ninth Symphonies, are magically woven into the drama as two actors share their anecdotes and observations based on true incidents from the composer’s life.

Finally, the MSO concludes its Symphony Series on Saturday, May 7, with Mozart and More featuring Mozart’s Requiem performed with the Meridian Symphony Chorus and Meridian’s own soprano vocalist Kristen Johnson Gunn. This choral masterpiece is sure to be musically stunning and emotionally stirring, a befitting way to cap the season.

In addition to the Symphony Series highlighting the full orchestra, the Salon Series provides unique opportunities to engage with the MSO in varying arts and cultural environments and intimate social settings while featuring more acclaimed musicians and artists from Meridian and Mississippi.

Saturday, January 8, MSO String Ensemble will deliver an evening of gospel favorites with Dove Award-winning vocalists and Mississippi natives Reggie and Ladye Love Smith in a performance aptly titled Gospel Comes Home. On Thursday, February 3, a full sensory experience is planned for Mingle with the Maestro at the Meridian Museum of Art. Patrons will peruse diverse installations by Mississippi artists while enjoying fine wine and hors d’oeuvres and, of course, beautiful music by MSO harpist Rebekah Atkinson. Redd Hot Steam at Soulé is slated for Saturday, March 5. The soulful vocals of Mississippi native Jon-Kristoffer Adams, accompanied by Meridian’s favorite pianist David Benson, will recreate the music of hometown lyricist Redd Evans at the Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum. And finally, Charcuterie & Champagne will feature award-winning Mississippi musicians Duo Cintemani for a limited capacity event at the home of Dottye Graham on Sunday, May 1.

Season subscriptions are on sale now. Season packages are $175 for adults, $135 for military, and $70 for students. The Salon Series is sold separately, and prices vary by event, starting at $35 for single tickets and $60 to $85 per couple.

Ideal for children and youth, Peppermint Pops, Music of the Movies, and Beethoven Lives Upstairs is offered as part of a Family Series with special package pricing. All three performances can be purchased together at $102 for adults, $76.50 for military, and $38.25 for children.

Tickets to individual shows go on sale on September 20 and are $40 for adults, $30 for military, and $15 for students.

Call 601-693-2224 or visit for more information and to access an order form.

Special thanks to The Riley Foundation, The Phil Hardin Foundation, Community Foundation of East Mississippi, Broadhead Foundation, The Davidson Endowment, The Emma McCain Endowment, and Mississippi Arts Commission for grants, trusts, and endowments, and our corporate sponsors, Anderson Regional Health System, BlueCross BlueShield of Mississippi Citizens National Bank, Meridian Coca-Cola, and Structural Steel Services, Inc. The generous support of these and other sponsors helps make the season and other programming possible.

2021-2022 Symphony Series in detail:

Season subscription: $175 adult; $135 military; $70 students (any age)

Individual ticket price by show: $40 adult; $30 military; $15 students (any age)

All-American Afternoon featuring Sean Chen on piano

Sunday, October 10, at 3 pm

The sounds of America’s rich, musical heritage will be on display for this All-American Afternoon featuring composers Gershwin, Bernstein, Copland, and others. The MSO will open its 61st season featuring Juilliard pianist, Sean Chen, and the world-renowned Gershwin Concerto in F. After the concerto premiered in 1925, Gershwin was described as ‘the Prince who has taken Cinderella by the hand and openly proclaimed her a princess to the astonished world, no doubt to the fury of her envious sisters.’ Join the symphony in the Grand Ballroom for lunch before the performance, and meet Meridian’s own Miss Mississippi 2021, Holly Brand! It will be an unparalleled afternoon in the Queen City celebrating its heritage and promising future. Meridian sounds Americana!

Beethoven & Blue Jeans featuring percussionist Britton-René Collins

Saturday, November 20 at 7 pm

A cool, November evening beginning in Dumont Plaza surrounded by family and friends, great music from local bands, and BBQ that can’t be beat…that’s how you start a night with the Meridian Symphony! Follow that up with a casual and unique concert experience in our state’s most glorious concert hall, and you get Beethoven & Blue Jeans! This season BBJ will feature award-winning percussionist Britton-René Collins on the marimba and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1. It promises to be an exhilarating evening beyond compare - the tastes of home and a world-class cultural experience! Meridian sounds lively!

Peppermint Pops featuring Danny Lyons on handbells

Saturday, December 4 at 7 pm

Meridian’s most beloved concert returns for an evening of festive holiday music. The Meridian Symphony Chorus will lead us in our favorite holiday songs, and the Riley Center will truly be ringing with holiday cheer as we welcome Mississippi native Danny Lyons to the stage. Danny will astonish you as he plays with eight bells in hand! It will be a night to remember as Santa and his elves conclude the evening with cookies, cocoa, and other holiday treats before sending us off to sleep snug in our beds. It’s a magical, Meridian holiday tradition with the Meridian Symphony and friends! Meridian sounds festive!

Music of the Movies featuring TJ Tesh on trumpet

Saturday, February 5 at 7 pm

Enjoy the amazing sounds of some of your favorite movies - Star Wars, The Avengers, Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more! This evening will be fun for the whole family and folks of all ages. You won’t want to miss the special, costumed guests and great photo opportunities. Come casual or dress up – the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire; Jack Sparrow or Will Turner - the choice is yours! Grammy-nominated trumpet artist TJ Tesh, Maestro Rubardt, and MSO will delight the audience as they usher us through this cinematic adventure! Join us after the performance in the Grand Ballroom for classic movie concessions, an opportunity to show off your costumes, and a meet & greet with special guests. Don’t forget your light sabers - you never know when the Empire will Strike Back!

Beethoven Lives Upstairs

Sunday, April 10 at 3 pm

The world-famous production of Beethoven Lives Upstairs features a lively exchange of letters between young Christoph and his uncle. Their subject: the “madman” who has moved into the upstairs apartment of Christoph’s home in Vienna. Through a touching correspondence, dramatically underscored with the composer’s most beautiful excerpts, Christoph slowly comes to understand the genius of Beethoven and the beauty of his music. You will be captivated by more than twenty-five excerpts of Beethoven’s music, including the Moonlight Sonata, Für Elise, and the great Fifth and Ninth Symphonies. The music is magically woven into the drama as two actors share anecdotes and observations based on true incidents from the composer’s life. Presenting history, drama, music, and fun, this engaging concert is an ideal experience for families of all ages. Meridian sounds theatrical!

Mozart & More featuring Kristen Johnson Gunn, soprano, Melissa Gerdes, mezzo, Dan Gerdes, tenor, & Corey McKern, baritone

Saturday, May 7 at 7 pm

The MSO concludes its Symphony Series with the magnificent Mozart’s Requiem, his final composition. It is a choral masterpiece whose genesis is shrouded in mystery – one that makes the piece all the more fascinating and emotionally stirring. The Meridian Symphony Chorus and Meridian’s own, Kristen Johnson Gunn, will present this monumental work that will stretch your ears, stir your hearts, and provide a musically stunning experience for both artists and audience. Our Season Finale is sure to be nothing short of spectacular. Be sure to join us in the Grand Lobby for the red carpet reception following the performance. Meridian sounds memorable!

2021-2022 Salon Series:

Gospel Comes Home

Saturday, January 8 (time TBA)

Tickets: $45 each

Join Mississippi natives Reggie & Ladye Love Smith and the MSO String Ensemble for an evening of Gospel favorites that will transport you to “the good ole days.” Reggie, a member of the

Gaither Vocal Band, and Ladye Love, a prolific performer and backup singer, love sharing the music of their Mississippi youth - an eclectic blend of gospel, country, and big band all with a message of grace, hope, and redemption. Ideal for families and church groups to enjoy together.

Mingle with the Maestro

Thursday, February 3 (time TBA)

Tickets: $35 single; $60 couple

Sample fine wine and enjoy hors d’oeuvres as you listen to beautiful music by MSO harpist Rebekah Atkinson, while perusing Meridian Museum of Art’s diverse installations by Mississippi artists at this one-of-a-kind multisensory cultural arts experience.

Redd Hot Steam at Soulé

Saturday, March 5 (time TBA)

Tickets: $35 single; $60 couple

Experience a night under the stars strolling along the hidden cobblestone alleyways of Meridian’s historic Soulé Steam Works while enjoying exquisite cocktails and small bites. Step back in time as you listen to the smooth and soulful vocals of Mississippi native Jon-Kristoffer Adams accompanied by Meridian’s favorite pianist, David Benson, as they recreate the music of hometown lyricist, Redd Evans. Redd’s music has been sung by legends such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Doris Day, and many others. Adams and Benson will bring this iconic music to life once again for Meridian in an unforgettable night filled with heritage, dazzling 1940′s charm, and melodies that will transport you to a bygone era.

Charcuterie & Champagne

Sunday, May 1 (time TBA)

Tickets: $50 single; $85 couple

An intimate and unique musical experience featuring an afternoon of local culinary favorites and entertainment by award-winning Mississippi musicians, Duo Cintemani, at the home of Mrs. Dottye Graham. Limited seating available.

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