The Southern Miss School of Music will host the 11th annual Southern Invitational Choral Conference (SICC) Sept. 29 and 30. As part of the conference, concerts will take place at Bennett Auditorium and Main Street Baptist Church.
The high school and community college students attending the event are some of the best their schools have to offer, chosen for their vocal technique and sight-reading skills. This is a learning experience for them as well as a networking and scholarship opportunity. Students are able to audition for scholarships during their stay.
Three specialists will help each group attending. The high school choir will have a specialist focused on ways to improve younger voices and raise them to a college level. The community college specialist, accustomed to working with undergraduates early in their curricula, will focus on helping the students apply their learning.
The teacher specialist has experience as a high school teacher and will assist more than 80 teachers to better teach their students.
The Choral Department also does a lot of preparation for this event because it is one of their primary recruiting tools. The program gives potential students an opportunity to see what students are accomplishing in the program. On Sept. 29, every ensemble in the Choral Department will perform.
“It is a great way to show what we have to offer,” said Claire Sanguinetti, a choral graduate student. “Every single ensemble performs, and it is our first big event of the year. It is kind of stressful, but we love being able to help with the recruiting process.”
Gregory Fuller, director of choral activities at USM, said over 50 percent of choral students attended SICC at some point in their high school or community college careers. Fuller pioneered the first Southern Invitation Choral Conference in 2004, which has grown to host over 600 students from more than 50 institutions. Each of the surrounding states is represented at the conference.
Fuller described SICC as the most powerful event USM does each year in building a bridge to potential students. The Sept. 29 concert is the USM students’ first concert of the semester, and they would love to sing to a packed Bennett auditorium. Sanguinetti also said a good thing about this performance is that some ensembles will be singing modern music so that the they can get the crowd to interact.
“The positive feedback really encourages us, especially at the beginning of the year,” Sanguinetti said. Fuller encourages students to attend Monday’s concert and enjoy a night of music as well as cheer on their fellow students.