JSU symphony band coming for Sun. concert

Published 5:00 am Thursday, April 30, 2009

Before his symphony band is slated to play in Brookhaven onSunday, Jackson State University Director of Bands Lewis Liddellrecalled competing against Mae Brown’s band at Alexander HighSchool.

“I competed against her band as a student at Brinkley Highschool in 1963,” he said while remembering the legendary Brookhavenschool band leader. “In fact we’ll play one of the songs sheplayed. ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ – we’ll play that on Sunday. It’sa classical piece but it’s something you can really get into.”

Liddell’s symphony band will play a free show at Brookhaven HighSchool at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are not required foradmission.

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Event organizer and JSU alumnus McNair Smith said the occasion,sponsored by Trustmark National Bank, will be open to the public,and will give attendees a chance to see a different facet of theJSU Band besides what they see at the Christmas Parade eachyear.

“They’ve only come down for the Christmas Parade, and this willshowcase different talents,” he said.

Smith said the idea to bring the band to Brookhaven in adifferent setting dawned on him one day while visiting Liddellduring a symphony practice.

“I told him it would be great if Brookhaven could hear this,” hesaid. “I thought we could give him a chance to show what the bandcould do besides on the football field.”

And Liddell said the show is one that can be enjoyed by allages. While the words “symphony band” may bring to mindtranquilizing classical music, Liddell said the song list isdiverse and interesting.

“It’s going to be an entertaining concert,” he said. “This willbe foot-tapping music, it’ll be the entertaining type. But still itwon’t be so far out there that we have to really investigate whatall is involved.”

Liddell said the song list will involve classical traditionalpieces, some marches by John Phillip Sousa, a few patriotic numbersand even a Beethoven number.

“What I did was try to select music that everyday people andeven the high-falluting, too, can appreciate,” he said. “We wanteveryone to enjoy this. We’re not trying to make musicians out ofanybody.”

Smith said as much as he is excited to bring his alma mater’sband that has won his heart to Brookhaven, he is more excited thatthe experience is one that everyone can share.

“I think I’m more proud that our community gets a chance tolisten to this band – that’s something I’m extremely proud thatBrookhaven gets to do,” he said. “It’s not just me because I can goup there any time I want to, but lots of people would never get tosee this band if they never get the chance to leaveBrookhaven.”

Meanwhile, Liddell said he is equally proud to be able toperform in the Homeseekers Paradise.

“We’re just looking forward to coming down there to Brookhaven,because it’s one of the premiere cities in the state ofMississippi,” he said.