Symphony shindig begins at 7 tonight

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 13, 2000

Charles Moore, Vicksburg Convention Center assistant operations manager, sets up chairs in preparation for the Mississippi Symphony show that starts at 7 tonight. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

In celebration of Vicksburg’s 175th birthday, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra is playing a free pops concert tonight at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

And since no birthday party would be complete without a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday,” a choir from Sherman Avenue Elementary will be on hand to do those honors.

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Birthday cake and punch will be provided at a reception, which starts at 7 p.m. The concert will follow and is scheduled to begin around 8 p.m.

The concert was scheduled for the actual date the city government was created, Jan. 29, but the threat of snow and ice around that date kept musicians from making it to rehearsals.

Vicksburg received its first charter from the Legislature to operate as a city on that date in 1825. The state itself had been formed in 1817.

A brief evening ceremony on the steps of City Hall, along with the illumination of the outside of the building, went on in January as planned.

But the symphony performance had to be rescheduled for a time when both the orchestra and the Vicksburg Convention Center were available, said Frances Koury, an organizer of the event.

The symphony doesn’t perform during the summer, so the concert had to be delayed until the fall, Koury said.

“It’s going to be a wonderful concert,” she said. “We’re really excited.”

Everyone is invited to the free performance, and the dress will be casual, Koury said. About 500 seats will be available.

Musical selections range from a polka to a march from the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Main themes from “Titanic” will also be performed, as will TV and Beatles medleys and Broadway tunes from the musicals “Phantom of the Opera” and “Showboat.”

The pops concert will be conducted by Maestro Crafton Beck, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s newly appointed music director/conductor. Between 50 and 60 musicians will perform at the concert.

American orchestras he has appeared with include the Milwaukee Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, the Colorado Springs Symphony, the Dayton Philharmonic, the New Mexico Symphony and the Sacramento Symphony. Beck has also worked as an arranger for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, writing more than 50 selections that appeared on many recordings. Two of these albums were nominated for Grammy Award, and his arrangements have also been performed by such orchestras as the Detroit Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

In addition to wishing the city a happy birthday, the choir from Sherman Avenue Elementary will also sing “We Are the World, We Are the Children,” in honor of the celebration’s theme of “One Heritage One Hope.”