As the largest professional performing arts organization in the state, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra performs for more than 75,000 Mississippians each year at more than 120 concerts statewide. Many of our Bravo and Pops Series concerts are performed on our home stage in Thalia Mara Hall, while the Chamber Series is performed in intimate venues throughout Jackson. Special events and the popular Pepsi Pops at Old Trace Park on the Ross Barnett Reservoir are also a regular part of the season. The MSO tours statewide as a full orchestra, a chamber orchestra, and as one of three resident ensembles-the Woodwind Quintet, the Brass Quintet and the String Quartet. Annual and bi-annual visits by the MSO to cities around the state include Vicksburg, Pascagoula, McComb, Greenville, Cleveland and Columbus.
Additionally, the MSO supports three youth orchestras and an education program through which more than 500 school children receive daily instruction in violin, viola and cello. Over the years, the MSO has introduced such programs as our Children's Concerts: full orchestra concerts performed annually for over 16,000 elementary school students, and Informances (lecture demonstrations in 120 school visits annually) by our Woodwind Quintet, Brass Quintet and String Quartet. The MSO also sponsors various festivals, competitions, and an annual week-long summer string camp for aspiring young musicians. Without these programs, young people would not be exposed to symphonic music.
The MSO operates with an annual budget of 1.5 million. The MSO receives significant support from the Jackson Symphony League, which raises funds through gala events such as the annual Symphony Ball. The MSO is also funded in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mississippi Arts Commission, the City of Jackson and numerous other individuals, foundations and corporations. Without this support, the MSO could never have passed the sixty year milestone, but thanks to the interest and generosity of people throughout the state, the MSO is soundly positioned for the next sixty years.