THE MEISTERSINGERS CIVIC CHORUS
The Meistersingers Civic Chorus has been a part of the Hattiesburg Concert Association (HCA) since 1996. It was the original artistic component of HCA. It has created lasting memories with exceptionally entertaining concerts, galas, and musical productions. The Meistersingers personnel have included talented amateur and professional vocalists from throughout the area. This civic chorus has been known for presenting some of the most creative, respected, and well-attended cultural events in the state and region. The Meistersingers Civic Chorus continues to be an important part of the annual cultural offerings by HCA.
Twenty-five years ago a group of local music lovers started a community organization committed to offering the Pine Belt high-quality, independently produced music. They named their new group The Hattiesburg Concert and Community Chorus Association(HCCCA).
Under Founding Artistic Director Paul Lee, HCCCA produced concerts in a variety of musical styles, but the association’s core group was The Meistersingers.The name of the group is a tribute to the Hattiesburg High School Choir of the same name, in which Lee and many others sang during their teenage years and fondly remembered. Lee, The Meistersingers, and scores of professional instrumentalists gave our city many memorable performances of grand works --, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Brahms’ German Requiem; Christmas extravaganzas -- Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Magnificat; musical theatre -- Showboat and Phantom of the Opera concert versions; and even an original musical play called Murder at the Met.
In 2009 FestivalSouth, a multi-week summer arts festival, was founded by Artistic Director Jay Dean and came under the umbrella of HCCCA. At the same time, the name was shortened to HCA--Hattiesburg Concert Association. Since then the offerings of HCA have become more diverse and innovative, covering film, visual arts, children’s programs, and dance. The Meistersingers Civic Chorus and FestivalSouth are currently the two main divisions of HCA, but no one can guess what the future holds for this organization which continues to expand the breadth of entertainment and raise the level of public performance quality in our area.
Under the guidance of the chorus’ current Artistic Director Joseph Wilkinson, The Meistersingers have performed with the City of Hattiesburg Concert Band in several patriotic benefit concerts. They have been featured on FestivalSouth. Recently the group’s reputation has extended beyond the Pine Belt and Mississippi. In 2016, they accepted an invitation to perform Dark Night of the Soul and Luminous Night of the Soul by contemporary composer Ola Gjielo in David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, New York, with the composer at the piano. In 2019, they performed in London, England’s Cadogan Hall with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert features the music of American composer Dan Forrest.
The Hattiesburg Concert Association is a leading presenter and advocate of music, arts, and culture in the state of Mississippi. We are committed to presenting outstanding events that entertain, engage, educate, and enrich community members, students, and tourists of all ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic levels. Our projects and programs improve the quality of life for all residents and visitors to South Mississippi, effect positive social and economic development, and contribute to Mississippi’s creative economy. We have served the region since 1996 and are steadfast in our commitment to strengthen the arts community.