Darcie Bishop shares the trumpet’s charm

Two Baroque Concerts | 9.7.19 at 7:30 pm | 9.8.19 at 2:00 pm | St. Andrew's Cathedral

Mississippi Symphony Orchestra’s longtime principal trumpet Darcie Bishop remains captivated by an instrument that wasn’t even her first choice at the outset.

“I really wanted to play the drums,” she says, laughing as she reveals the long-ago truth. But, in true father-knows-best tradition, her dad — a schoolteacher and a friend of the music director — brought home an old trumpet with the suggestion, “How about this?”

This, turns out, hit just the right note.

At the other end of a gleaming musical career here, it’ll be a key component ushering in MSO’s 75th diamond anniversary season in this weekend’s two Baroque concerts, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Jackson.

Those concerts will not only spotlight Bishop in Henry Purcell’s “Sonata for Trumpet and Strings,” but also feature MSO trumpeters in two Giuseppe Torelli works, “Sinfonia in C Major” and “Sinfonia in D Major for Four Trumpets and Strings,” that bookend the performances with appropriate flair.

“We very rarely, if ever, get to stand up and play two Torelli pieces composed specifically for four trumpets,” says Bishop, relishing the chance to shine with the solid, cohesive unit she’s been working with for decades. “I owe a lot to those guys,” she says of Wayne Linehan and Bob Cheesman in MSO’s trumpet section. Trumpeter Ben Bullock joins them for the Baroque performances.

“That’s pretty exciting for us, as well as for the audience … I think Crafton (Beck, MSO music director and conductor) has just been really clever with programming for this chamber music concert,” heralding in the 75th diamond anniversary season.

Bishop originally hails from the Hudson Valley region of New York, and spent her last three years of high school at fine arts-focused Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, “one of the most exceptional situations I could have ever dreamed of.” She’d just started on the trumpet right before she went.

“I think they felt sorry for me, so they let me into Interlochen, and I was last chair in the band. Then, I had a wakeup call that I actually liked doing this, started to practice and got a little bit better. I guess I really blossomed there.”

The trumpet’s sound won her over — regal, exuberant, graceful. Happy, even, “because it makes me happy.”

After bachelor’s and master’s degrees in trumpet performance from The Juilliard School and a career as MSO’s principal trumpet, the instrument continues to cast its spell.

“I’m still challenged by it. It’s funny, because we talk amongst ourselves — here we’ve been playing these instruments for so many years, and there’s only three buttons, right? Only three valves.” Any rehearsal mistake comes as a “How can that happen?” surprise. “I’m still very much challenged by trying to achieve the perfect performance.”

Bishop, who also holds a doctorate in educational leadership, recently retired after 30 years as an associate professor of music and interim dean of the Graduate School at Jackson State University. “For the first time, really, in my life, I can just be a musician. … I really enjoy just being a trumpet player.”

Bishop eagerly prepares for the twin Baroque concerts that herald in the season in a special way, and her Purcell sonata solo that’s happy and exuberant, light and bright with a good bit of grace.

“I think everybody is going to go away happy and cheerful, and excited about just looking forward to what’s going to come next. … The effect will be really terrific.”

Baroque Concerts

Saturday, September 7, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 2:00 pm

St. Andrew's Cathedral in Jackson, MS

  • Giuseppe Torelli, Sinfonia in C Major G. 33

  • Pietro Locatelli, Concerto Grosso in F Major, Op. 1, No. 7

  • Georg Philipp Telemann, Overture Suite in Eb, TWV 55:Es3

  • Henry Purcell, Sonata for Trumpet and Strings, Z. 850 Darcie Bishop, trumpet

  • Henry Purcell, Sonata No. 9, in C Major Z. 808

  • Jean-Philippe Rameau, Overture to Zaïs

  • Jean-Philippe Rameau, Selections from Acante et Céphise

  • Giuseppe Torelli, Sinfonia in D Major for Four Trumpets and strings G. 25

Tickets $23: buy here >

Student tickets only $5

General admission seating