Posted on May 20, 2019
Picture left (L-R): Bill McLeod, Dr. Mike Lopinto, Steven Utroska. Picture right: Matthew Rigel (center).
Last Tuesday, the Rotary Club of Hattiesburg welcomed Dr. Mike Lopinto, Artistic Director at as our guest speaker. In addition, our club welcomed its newest member, Matthew Rigel.
President Steven Utroska and presided over today’s meeting. Michaela Harper gave today’s invocation and Ben Donald led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Thanks to Mark Killingsworth who served as our greeter today.
Brandon Hodges thanked those who helped with today’s meeting and introduced our guests. Bill McLeod has Matthew Rigel as his guest today and Matthew has his wife Mary Kathryn as his guest. Brandon Hodges has Travis Cox as his guest and Ben Donald also has a guest.
Steven asked for volunteers to sign up for the Meals on Wheels program.
He then called Matthew Rigel and his sponsor Bill McLeod forward. Matthew was then installed as our club’s newest member. He and his wife are from the Hattiesburg area. He is now an Associate Attorney with McLeod & Associates, P.A.
Bill McLeod then introduced today’s guest speaker. Dr. Mike Lopinto. Mike is the artistic director of FestivalSouth®.
The Festival has reshaped summers in the Hattiesburg area. FestivalSouth® is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. It began with a small group of individuals who wanted to provide a venue that would celebrate local talents and that could provide entertainment during a period when not much else was happening in Hattiesburg. The first Festival provided 70 events in just two weeks. This year’s Festival begins on May 31 and ends on June 29. Mike says the events are designed to highlight what we do well in this community.
Events will include FestivalMusic, Artie Events for Families, FestivalZ Events for Teens, FestivalSouth Youth Ambassadors, FestivalSouth Film Expo, Festival Speaks, FestivalSouth Best of the Pine Belt, FestivalSouth Educational Institutes, a festival 5K, and FestivalShares. It opens with Sister Act, a high Broadway Musical in which our own Erin Granberry will perform.
Linda Eder will close this year’s celebration. She will showcase one of the greatest voices of our time. Mike says tickets for her show are already fifty percent sold. She is a returning artist who was well received in the past.
FestivalSouth® costs hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Sponsorships, donations, and grants help pay some of those expenses making it possible to have inexpensive ticketed events and often free events. The Festival’s economic impact is $1.5 million annually on our local economy.
To learn more about the events, to purchase tickets or to sign up for a sponsorship, visit or call 601-297-5172.
Steven thanked our speaker and then adjourned the meeting with our motto, Service Above Self.