Sarah Crocker, Harp Principal
Sarah Crocker is Principal Harp in the MSO, playing a time honored instrument that has few specialists. Difficult to play well, the harp has multiple moving parts, making disciplined concentration a necessary trait for professional expertise.
A native of Franklin, Tenn., Crocker has 20 years background with the harp. She currently resides in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where she is pursuing doctor of musical arts degree in harp performance. She has been a teaching instructor of secondary harp at the University of Alabama since 2008. In addition, Crocker is a graduate teacher’s assistant in musicology. Her bachelor and master of music degrees were attained at the University of Alabama.
Crocker has performed with the Meridian Symphony Orchestra for six years. She is Principal Harp in the Tupelo Symphony and is also featured harpist in the Tuscaloosa Symphony, as well as Principal Harp of the Huxford Symphony Orchestra.
Multi-talented, Crocker also plays piano, reads, cooks, loves hiking and canoeing. She has a puppy named Pippy.
Charles Gates, Principal Trumpet
Charles Gates, chairman and professor of music at the University of Mississippi, has been a member of the MSO as Principal Trumpet for 24 years. A native of Lafayette, La., Gates has been on the Academic Faculty at Ole Miss since 1988. Motoring the longest distance (Oxford) of any of MSO's players, he has missed only a couple of concerts in his 24 years.
Gates began instructional lessons at an early age, having now played trumpet for 40 years. He received his bachelor of music education degree from LSU, and the advanced master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees from Ohio State University.
This esteemed musician has been affiliated with two excellent orchestras in Columbus, Ohio, from 1984 to 1988: The Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra. From 1989 to 1997, Gates was with the Memphis Symphony in Memphis.
Gates' daughter has been involved in choral music throughout college, and a son, now in college, plays trombone. Curretnly, he and his wife care for a Labrador retriever and enjoy bike riding and reading.