Meridian Symphony Orchestra’s String Ensemble will celebrate the new year with an evening of gospel favorites featuring Dove and Grammy award-winning vocalists Reggie and Ladye Love Smith.

The Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, performance at the historic MSU Riley Center is titled “Gospel Comes Home.”

“Ring in the new year with Reggie and Ladye Love Smith as they lead you in many of your beloved gospel favorites,” MSA Executive Director Carra K. Purvis said. “This evening of heartfelt music is ideal for families and church groups to clap and sing along together!” Reggie, a current member of the Gaither Vocal Band, and Ladye Love, a prolific performer and backup singer, both love sharing the music of their Mississippi youth — an eclectic blend of gospel, country, and big-band all with a message of grace, hope and redemption. 

“Growing up down the road in Moselle, I was given every opportunity to learn and grow through the legacy of Gospel music," Reggie said. “My mom and dad, Linda & RV, started all of us boys off in music at a very young age. In fact, I can’t remember a time when we weren’t surrounded by music — mom playing the piano and dad singing. We played sports, too.  My family loved football, but we never did anything without music and good food.” 

Ladye and Reggie met while at school at Ole Miss, where they both studied music and were exposed to multiple genres — including classical, jazz and country. They were friends for years while they worked at Disney and toured together with gospel legends Larnelle Harris and Sandi Patty. After several years, the couple married and began music careers together. 

“I grew up in a musical family in North Mississippi (Tishomingo County) miles away from Reggie, but I suppose it was always meant to be,” Ladye Love noted. “When we met at Ole Miss we started a journey like no other. It has truly been incredible.” 

Ladye Love & Reggie have been part of the Gaither Homecoming family for more than a decade, first as back-up singers and later as a vocal duet featured on countless Homecoming concerts, tapings and recordings. These internationally loved musicians have performed in more than 12 countries and in such prestigious venues as the Super Bowl, New York's famed Carnegie Hall, and the Kremlin in Moscow. Their voices can be heard on countless recordings, including the original Lion King movie soundtrack.  They frequently sing on The Grand Ole Opry, and their voices have complemented some of the top talents in both country and gospel music.  

Most recently, Reggie joined the Gaither Vocal Band’s legendary line-up of talent known around the world for their stunning vocals, innovative harmonies and life-altering messages. Ladye Love’s current project is working with Meridian’s own Todd Tilghman on his next album. 

“Gospel Comes Home is truly a homecoming for us, and we are thrilled to be back,” Reggie said. “We can’t wait to see all of our family and friends again, and to share the joy we have found through music all these years.”

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. at the MSU Riley Center, located in downtown Meridian. Tickets can be purchased through the Riley Center Box Office: 601-696-2200. A special $10 Christmas discount for purchasing tickets before Dec. 25 AND discounts for groups of 10-plus are available. 

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About Meridian Symphony Orchestra

For more than six decades, the Meridian Symphony Orchestra has been a focal point of arts and culture here in East Mississippi. Throughout its distinguished history, the MSO has maintained a tradition of producing great classical music concerts featuring the works of the master composers of the past and present as well as wonderful family programs like the annual Peppermint Pops — a favorite for hundreds of concertgoers.

The leadership of Maestro Peter Rubardt as Music Director of the MSO is a further reflection of our commitment to provide Meridian and the surrounding communities performances of beautiful music. Maestro Rubardt is now in his 23rd season as music director of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, where his tenure has been distinguished with artistic excellence on the stage and passionate support from the audience and the community. He initiated pops concerts, family concerts, and a series of chamber orchestra concerts in area churches, broadening the base of support and increasing the orchestra’s recognition throughout the community.

The administrative arm of the MSO, the Meridian Symphony Association, endeavors to expand its outreach into the community and to grow educational programs such as the highly successful Strings Program, Link Up (MSO's annual partnership with Carnegie Hall), Symphony Fun Fest, and many other educational programs throughout the calendar year. These programs and other administrative operating expenses are generously supported by grants from supportive community of patrons, endowments, grants and foundations.

The vibrant, artistic presence of the Meridian Symphony Orchestra is felt throughout the East Mississippi region and, as always, the Meridian Symphony Association will continue to pay tribute to its legacy as well plan its future with the sole purpose being to enhance the quality of life for everyone. The early work and vision of its founders inspire the efforts of the Meridian Symphony’s current supporters and volunteers who make every concert season possible.

“Gospel Comes Home is truly a homecoming for us, and we are thrilled to be back. We can’t wait to see all of our family and friends again, and to share the joy we have found through music all these years.” Reggie Smith

"I grew up in a musical family in North Mississippi (Tishomingo County) ... " Ladye Love

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