Male ensemble stands out at USM

Many students at The University of Southern Mississippi choose to show their talents in various ways like writing and acting, however, Shakari McDuffie, John Wright, Joseph Powell and the other members of Spirit of Southern are united together by something more vocal.

Spirit of Southern is a unique ensemble consisting of all male singers. According to the university website, the members of this group range from freshmen to graduate students. However, that is not the only area in which the group shows a lot of variety.

One of the many aspects that makes them stand out from the number of other groups is the fact that they perform not one genre of music, but a wide range of different musical styles. Spirit of Southern is known to hold performances ranging from spiritual music to more popular  tunes such as songs from One Direction.

According to graduate assistant director of Spirit of Southern Joseph Powell, music does not bring different people together just by listening to it, but by playing it as well. Powell, who has been a member of the a capella group since 2009, said the group has a lot of fun together.

“The camaraderie is incredible. We have so much fun, sometimes too much fun,” Powell said. John Wright, a senior music education major and member of Spirit of Southern, agrees with Powell.

Wright, who has been a member of the group for two years, enjoys bonding with each of the band members. He said all of the other men in the group have grown to become his extended family.

“We get mad at each other and we poke fun at each other, but we also laugh together and are all very close,” Wright said. “Making music with these guys is not only fun, but also something that is near and dear to my heart.”

Sophomore music education student Shakari McDuffie, who has also been a member of the ensemble for two years, plans to continue his involvement with the world of music after graduation. McDuffie said he will either seek a job in the music education field or choose to attend graduate school.

“Whether out in the field teaching or getting another degree, they will both require singing,” McDuffie said.

Those who are interested in attending a performance by the group may go to their annual “Night with Spirit of Southern in Memory of Steffan Myers” concert. The show will be held at Parkway Heights United Methodist Church on April 25.