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franklin county times

Who's who in the Meridian Symphony Orchestra

By Staff
Sharon Lebsack
Principal flutist of the Meridian Symphony Orchestra for 25 years, Lebsack has taught music at USM for 35 years. Currently on leave from the university, she also has played for symphonies and operas in Pensacola, the Gulf Coast and Jackson.
In addition to playing and teaching, Lebsack hires the flute section for the Meridian symphony and is the administrative contracting person for all MSO players in Hattiesburg.
Her interview follows:
Mutziger: "When did you begin to study music?"
Lebsack: "When I was 6 years old, I began to study piano. Then, in the seventh grade, I began with the flute. I also tried the French horn in the band, but it didn't have enough melody for me and I fell in love with the flute.
Mutziger: "How do you prepare for a symphony concert?"
Lebsack: "The music usually arrives two to four weeks in advance. Practice time usually depends on my familiarity with the piece. You have to know your part and also how it fits together with everyone else before coming to Meridian. I also get a recording of the music and listen carefully.
Mutziger: "What makes a good symphony?"
Lebsack: "It starts with the conductor. Then, good players. And then, a good, supportive organization."
Mutziger: "What is it like to play in a good symphony?"
Lebsack: "Music is a form of communication. We all work together to communicate with the audience. I like the collaboration. I prefer symphony work to solo work."
Mutziger: "What does a good performance flute cost?"
Lebsack: "Anywhere from $5,000 to $18,000. They come in silver, gold or platinum. A flute might last a lifetime or wear out in 15 to 20 years; it depends. You can also outgrow one. Then again, sometimes you can work on one redrill the holes to get the sound you want.
Wilbur Moreland
Principal clarinetist with the Meridian Symphony Orchestra for 26 years, Moreland has taught music at USM for 29 years. He also regularly plays with symphonies in Tupelo and Mobile, and the opera in Mobile. And, he occasionally fills in for the Jackson symphony.
Mutziger: "What does teaching music mean to you?"
Moreland: "I consider teaching at USM a great privilege. I work here with about 30 students one-on-one and a student is with me for about four or five years. Prior to USM, I taught in the public schools and I loved it. The only reason I switched to this level is because it includes opportunities to play, as well as teach; I like the combination.
Mutziger: "When did you begin to study music?"
Moreland: "I started in the summer before fourth grade. My older brother was in the band, so I wanted to do that, too. Our parents were very supportive, encouraging and committed. I wanted to play the flute. Instead, I got my brother's hand-me-down clarinet; I have no regrets.

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