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Broadway performer draws ‘full house’ at coliseum

by L.A. Story
Mar 06, 2017 | 752 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Corinth Symphony Orchestra’s concert “A Tribute to Broadway” was performed with special guest soloist — and true Broadway star — Laurie Gayle Stephenson. The Saturday concert drew a full house crowd to the Coliseum Civic Center. / Photo by Donnie Bates
The Corinth Symphony Orchestra’s concert “A Tribute to Broadway” was performed with special guest soloist — and true Broadway star — Laurie Gayle Stephenson. The Saturday concert drew a full house crowd to the Coliseum Civic Center. / Photo by Donnie Bates
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The historic Coliseum Civic Center was transformed into Broadway for a “full house” crowd for Saturday evening’s concert.

The Corinth Symphony Orchestra’s concert “A Tribute to Broadway” was performed with special guest soloist — and true Broadway star — Laurie Gayle Stephenson.

Rosemary Williams, interim board president for the CSO, said, “Laurie Gayle’s performance was magnificent as we knew it would be. She is a wonderful person to work with and we hope she will come back in the future. She was very complimentary about Corinth and recalled her visits here as a college student visiting Pamela Palmer. We had a full house for the concert with visitors from as far away as LaGrange, Ga., East Tennessee, Alabama, Memphis, Germantown, Jackson, Yazoo City, Oxford and other Mississippi towns.”

CSO Conductor Maurice Weatherall was also still basking in the euphoria of a strong and successful concert performance.

“It was spectacular. It was the highlight of my conducting career, to be able to work with a Broadway star of the caliber of Laurie Gayle Stephenson ... it is a dream come true,” said Weatherall.

To ensure the quality of the performance, Weatherall laid out a grueling rehearsal schedule. He said the orchestra rehearsed for almost seven hours on Saturday, with only a two hour break, then they came back and did a two hour concert.

The end result made the conductor proud.

“It was a amazing — the performance quality the orchestra exhibited,” he said.

The conductor said one of the most important things he and the orchestra learned was about how real stars conduct themselves. He said Stephenson was humble, down-to-earth and easy to work with.

“She is an amazing person,” he said.

Williams also praised the orchestra’s performance as “outstanding.” She said the group chosen for the concert was made up of musicians within a 100-mile radius and some of Corinth’s own such as Sara Ellington, pianist; Bobbie Campbell, flutist; and Matthew Louis, trumpet, and others from nearby towns.

A CD was recorded of the concert by recording engineer J.J. Jobe, but Weatherall said it would be a while before a CD would be released as they had to ensure quality to “capture as much of the essence of the original program” as possible and some other details that would need to be researched before releasing.

In the wake of the successful performance, Williams said the CSO Board of Directors is already looking ahead.

“They are already looking forward to helping plan the next season with conductor Maurice Weatherall,” said Williams. “The season will start in early October. They plan to continue similar themes with a variety of music.”
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