April marks Easter return to Carnegie Hall for Packwood


Gary Packwood

Gary Packwood
Photo by: Courtesy photo



Special to The Dispatch



NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Easter Sunday holds a special significance for Gary Packwood. It was Easter Sunday in 2012 when the director of the Mississippi State University Choir made his Carnegie Hall debut under the auspices of MidAmerica Productions, conducting his ensemble in a program of devotional music. 


Now, seven years later, again on Easter Sunday, April 21, at 1 p.m., he will return to the legendary New York venue for MidAmerica to lead a large chorus, four vocal soloists and the New England Symphonic Ensemble in Joseph Haydn's masterpiece, the "Lord Nelson Mass." The chorus once again will include members of his own Mississippi State University Choir, as well as the Starkville High School Choir. 


"The Mississippi State University Singers are looking forward to returning to Carnegie Hall in 2019," said Packwood. "We had a wonderful experience seven years ago, and this time we get to make music with two very special high school choirs from Mississippi and Florida -- we are so excited!" 


​"We are thrilled to be a part of this special performance!" said Jennifer Davis, director of the Starkville High School Choir. "It is a unique honor to represent Starkville in New York City under the baton of Dr. Gary Packwood." 


Haydn's "Missa in Angustiis" (Mass in Time of War) was one of six grand masses composed towards the end of his life. It acquired the nickname "Lord Nelson Mass" because of the British war hero's great victory over Napoleon, which occurred around the time the work was composed and premiered in 1798. With its dramatic use of trumpets and drums, the majestic work concludes with an impassioned, noble cry for the achievement of everlasting peace. 


Packwood will conduct the New England Symphonic Ensemble; soloists Dana Lynne Varga, soprano, Augusta Caso, mezzo-soprano; Victor Starsky, tenor; and Brandon Coleman, bass-baritone; and a choir drawn from ensembles representing Mississippi, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida. 


Packwood has appeared throughout the U.S., Brazil, Italy, Malaysia, France, Austria and the Czech Republic. He is currently program administrator and director of choral studies at Mississippi State University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting, and conducts all four of the University's choral ensembles. 


The Starkville High School Choral Department is made up of seven ensembles/choirs with more than 130 singers. The All-Superior program consistently boasts large numbers of all-staters and singers who continue to sing at the college and university level. SHS singers have performed in Disney and New York City, and for the Mississippi State University Choral Colloquium.  






Concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium/Ronald O. Perelman Stage are $150, $100 and $50. Get tickets by contacting CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800, visiting the Carnegie Hall Box Office at 57th Street and Seventh Avenue in New York, New York, or by going online to carnegiehall.org.  


For more information, contact molly.waymire@piptix.com



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