Thirsty Hippo to Host USM Jazz Ensemble, Local Bands

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The Thirsty Hippo hosts a variety of events for the young and the old, such as Open Mic Night, Free Live Trivia and an Amnesty Benefit, all of which will occur throughout the week.

The Southern Miss jazz band will showcase its talent at the Thirsty Hippo Tuesday.

The Hippo performances are a great way to connect with the people of Hattiesburg and show them what is going on each week on campus,” Director of jazz studies Lawrence Panella said.

This concert is one of the band’s spring semester performances and is intended to share what Panella and his group have been working on this year in terms of music and performance skills.

As the director of Jazz Studios, Panella and his group have coordinated the event with the Thirsty Hippo because they have opted to perform here typically. Since the beginning of this year, the 20-member Jazz Band has often performed in larger venues on campus to a quarter of a full house.

We want to play in a more intimate setting with good acoustics,” Panella said.


The Hippo is just the place for it and we connect with our audience there very well. It is the place to go hear live music in Hattiesburg and so much good music comes through there that we are honored to be part of their scene.


The band will perform a variety of big band styles from swing to Latin styles, a variety of tempos. It will include some historically significant pieces as well because, as the band’s director believes, the students do not usually get to experience the older material.

The band performs several times a semester, which includes at least once per semester at the Hippo. The group also performs at various festivals including the Alcorn State University Jazz Fest where the band was awarded the Outstanding College/University Jazz Ensemble on two occasions.

The group was also invited to perform at the Jazz Education Network Conference in 2013 just a few weeks before the tornado destroyed its facility.

I meet people frequently who have no idea that we even exist on campus and we want them to know we are here and come and enjoy this great music,” Panella said.

Amnesty International at USM will host its biannual benefit concert at the Thirsty Hippo Friday at 10 p.m. to raise money for Mississippi Children’s Home Services. The concert will feature three local bands: The Squid and the Whale – band, The 86 Olympics and Nossiens.

The chapter will be selling Amnesty T-shirts and spreading the message of the organization.

Each year, the chapter collectively chooses a local and global non-profit organization to support. This year, the members chose Doctors Without Borders and Mississippi Children’s Home Services.

Senior geography and Spanish double-major and co-chair of Amnesty International Katherine Perry said the benefit concert, which Amnesty hosts twice a year, is its greatest opportunity to raise money to send to the chosen organizations.

The money raised at the benefit this week will go to Mississippi Children’s Home Services.

We have recruited three incredibly talented local bands, and a representative from MCHS will be present to speak,” Perry said. “It should be a really lovely night.”

The concert will begin with Jazz Lab Band 2 at 7:30 p.m. Jazz Lab Band 1 will follow. Cover for the event is $5 and Southern Miss students enter free with ID.