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Readers who are reasonably close to Hattiesburg, Mississippi may enjoy two outstanding performances (including a world premiere) happening this week, involving the music of Edwin Penhorwood (Thursday, April 8 at 7:30 at Main Street Baptist Church).

Penhorwood is on the faculty of Indiana University, and is most known for his contributions to American art song and the comic opera Too Many Sopranos.  The University of Southern Mississippi Choral and Orchestral Departments joined forces to commission a new work from Penhorwood, An American Requiem.

Rather than commemorating a specific event, An American Requiem memorializes several (such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina), while also bringing attention to issues such as the environment.  As well, one of the movements is dedicated to the memory of five music students from the Jacobs School, lost in a 2006 plane crash.  The Requiem combines traditional mass texts (both Latin and English), American hymnsong and original poetry by Callum MacColl.  Dr. Gregory Fuller, Director of Choral Activities at Southern Miss, will be leading the orchestra.  The following night, Southern Miss faculty Taylor Hightower (tenor) and Kerrin Hightower (soprano) will give a recital of Penhorwood’s art songs.