The Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra, formed in 1962 by Dr. James A. Graves and a number of interested community leaders, presented two concerts during its first season. Its first conductor, James Shannon, led 35 musicians in one concert each in Gulfport and Biloxi. Incorporation followed in 1965, along with a move to the Biloxi High School Auditorium. After renovation of the historic Saenger Theatre in Biloxi in 1987, the Symphony moved into its current home venue.
Following the retirement of James Shannon in 1988, Dr. Andrew Harper was selected as music director. During his 10 -year tenure, the GCSO grew to its present size of 70 professional musicians. This period brought the very successful annual fund-raiser Barbecue under the Oaks, the establishment of an office, and a change in governance from an all-volunteer Board of Directors to one with a paid Executive Director.
In 1998, a nationwide search was undertaken for the GCSO’s third Music Director and Conductor. Dr. John W. Strickler was selected from an applicant pool of over 140. Today, the GCSO performs a subscription series of four classical concerts and a pops concert, a Holiday Peppermint Pops concert, four School Concerts, and two outdoor, free public concerts – one each in Harrison and Jackson counties – during the Memorial Day weekend.
Since Dr. Strickler has taken leadership of the Symphony, the season ticket base and the annual budget have more than doubled. A concert with Luciano Pavarotti in April 2000 garnered raves from over 11,000 and brought an offer to tour with Andrea Bocelli. The subscription concert series is sold out.
The Gulf Coast Symphony Youth Orchestra, under the umbrella of the main Symphony, was established in 2001 under the direction of Dr. Timothy Bergman; who conducted for eleven years. Students from across the Coast representing public, private and home schools are selected by audition.
Since 2009, GCSO has partnered with the Weill Institute of Carnegie Hall and local schools for Link UP. A music program curriculum developed by Carnegie Hall, there are now seven schools and 750 elementary students along the coast who directly participate in Link UP and join the Gulf Coast Symphony Youth Orchestra in an end-of-the-year concert.
The Gulf Coast Symphony celebrated its 50th anniversary season in 2011-2012.
The Knights was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Connects, Informs, Advocated and Develops.
CONNECT with like-minded business professionals and learn what about your community and the opportunities it offers you;
Be INFORMED on issues surrounding your business, your community and your state;
ADVOCATE so you can affect and engage on a local, state and national level;
DEVELOP yourself, your employees and your business.
Through a partnership with the Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach, Pass Christian Chambers of Commerce along with Coast Young Professionals, Leadership Gulf Coast, Coast Centurions Association and an emerging film office, your chamber serves nearly 900 businesses, represents 50,000 employees and has over 3000 contact- there is strength in numbers.
We have a menu of training programs, many of which are free of charge to our members. Our core of endorsed services is sure to bring more money to your bottom line. From credit card processing and music licensing to health insurance and workers compensation insurance, our programs and services will bring more money to your bottom line.
To add benefit, your industry is represented by a team of government affairs experts that is dedicated to protecting you from harmful legislation while promoting legislation that will benefit the industry. We estimate that our Government Affairs victories have saved the average restaurant over $10,000 over the past 4 years.
General Membership Meeting the 2nd Tuesday of every month, 5:30-6:30 General Membership Meeting, 6:30-8:00 Social
Our Mission: Open Doors, a coalition raising awareness by building bridges within the community and acting as a unified force dedicated to preventing, reducing and ultimately ending homelessness.
Gulf Coast Region: Harrison County, Hancock County, Jackson County, Stone County, Pearl River County, and George County, Mississippi
Definition of ending homelessness: While it is true that we cannot prevent all housing crises, our goal is to ensure that all South Mississippi citizens have a roof over their heads and that any bout of homelessness is rare and brief.