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Beals honored for Excellence in Diversity by IHL

By | Academics, College of Education and Human Sciences, Faculty/Staff, IHL | No Comments
Dr. George Beals, center, receives the IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusive Award from trustee Shane Hooper (left) and Delta State President William N. LaForge.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning recently held its annual diversity celebration to recognize campus and community leaders for the impact they have made in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect.

Dr. George Beals, assistant professor of counselor education, was selected as the Delta State University nominee for the IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusive Award. Beals is also the program coordinator/assessment director for the Division of Counselor Education and Psychology at Delta State.

I am deeply honored and very humbled that my dean and colleagues appreciated my efforts around diversity,” said Beals. “I think what they saw in me was the fact that my lens of diversity, inclusion and social justice is always a primary when focusing on programmatic efforts and teaching my classes. Being a part of DSU has always been a point of pride for me because we can boast that per capita, we are the most diverse campus in the state.”

Social justice is a value that is most primary in my interactions with others and with institutions,” added Beals. “I hold the vision that the world can be an amazing place if we all work toward communicating with each other.”

Among his many efforts on campus, Beals serves on both the Diversity Committee and the Winning The Race Conference Committee. He also provides diversity trainings including Safe-Space Training, and has led some diversity experiences for Delta State students as a part of the Diversity Efforts and the Quality Enhancement Program.  

Beals, who has taught at Delta State for eight years, received his doctorate in counselor education from Mississippi State University in 2007, and received his master’s in community counseling, also from MSU, in 1995. Additionally, he is a member and current chapter advisor for Delta State’s chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the international honor society for students, professional counselors and counselor educators. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Janie G. Rugg Career Contributor by the Mississippi Counseling Association.

His academic interests include: personal growth and wellness of counselor trainees, experiential therapies across diverse populations, somatization of oppression, systems theories and interventions with community applications, and counseling theories and neurosciences.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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DMI All Stars take on Los Angeles

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Delta Music Institute, GRAMMY, Students | No Comments
Delta State students in the DMI All Stars band recently performed atop GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. Live.

For the fifth consecutive year, the DMI All Stars – a select group of musicians from the Delta Music Institute program at Delta State University – performed a collection of Mississippi centric covers on Mississippi Night during GRAMMY® Week in Los Angeles, California.

The group, under the direction of DMI instructor Charly Abraham and assisted by DMI instructor Barry Bays, consisted of 12 students who performed in the band or assumed management positions. The DMI All Stars provided an excellent performance atop the Target Terrace on the fifth floor of the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. Live.

With many notable musicians and GRAMMY representatives in attendance, the All Stars showcased their musical abilities for a group of respected industry professionals.DMI-All-Stars-Group-Photo

The performance was a great experience for many of the students, including vocalist Audrianna Johnson from Grenada.

“My experience in Los Angeles felt like a dream come true,” she said. “Words can’t explain how grateful I am for the opportunities I’ve had.”

In addition to performing on a special night, the students were able to get a taste of the city life while exploring locales such as downtown Hollywood, Malibu and Venice Beach.

“Going to L.A. with the All Stars gave me an opportunity to make new friends and share great memories with them,” said Carrie Lynn Stanford from Gautier, a vocalist for the DMI All Stars.

This year, entertainment industry studies senior Lindsey Anna Pardue from Clinton chose to use the L.A. trip as part of her senior project by acting as directing manager and overseeing the trip, as well as scheduling rehearsals for the band.

“Going to Los Angeles with the DMI All Stars is always amazing, but it was especially interesting this year because I had the opportunity to direct the group,” said Pardue. “I am honored to have been able to spend my time with such a kind, talented and fun group of students.”

The DMI is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelor’s degree in entertainment industry studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative, and business areas of the music and entertainment industry.

To learn more about the GRAMMY connection with the Delta Music Institute at Delta State, visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

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Students prep trees for Arbor Day

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

To help celebrate Arbor Day each year, the Natural Resource Conservation Service in Cleveland gives trees to local residents to plant at their residences or throughout the community.

On Feb. 7, Teressa Oakes with the NRCS in Cleveland, allowed Dr. Baghai-Riding’s Foundation of Environmental Science class to help with this year’s effort. Oakes brought several hundred tree saplings to the loading dock area of Caylor Hall where students dipped the tree roots in water to keep them moist, then placed them into plastic bags for distribution. Several students also took a few trees to plant in their yards.

Specimens included river birch, sawtooth oak, water oak, crepe myrtle, flowering dogwood and bald cypress.

The trees were given out at the NRCS office on Feb. 10. Oakes thanked Baghai-Riding’s class for making fast work of this task and is making plans for Delta State students to help with next year’s event.

Contact Baghai-Riding at nbaghai@deltastate.edu to learn more about the environmental science program at Delta State University.

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Registration open for Mississippi Summer Arts Institute

By | Academics, Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

The 2017 Janice Wyatt Mississippi Summer Arts Institute at the Bologna Performing Arts Center is gearing up for its annual summer programs.

This year marks its 20th summer of operation, impacting the lives of countless emerging artists by providing a unique opportunity for students to gain broad exposure in all artistic disciplines.

Core Arts, occurring June 4-17, is an exciting two-week arts intensive residential camp for ages 12-18. Core Arts provides a positive and supportive environment for students who wish to gain exposure to the arts or aim to further develop their creative abilities. Students stay on the Delta State campus, take classes in a wide range of art forms with highly qualified professional teaching artists during the day, and participate in fun activities at night. Courses are offered in dance, digital arts, music, theater and visual arts. Core Arts culminates with a visual arts exhibition June 16, as well as a final performance which demonstrates the talents of the performing arts campers on June 17. An optional non-residential track is also available for campers ages 12-13.

Young artists ages 5-11 are invited to attend PLUS Camp on July 17-22, a high-energy, performance-oriented day camp where students take classes and prepare for their final performance — a choreographed medley of songs that revolve around a central theme. MSAI is excited to welcome back beloved faculty from previous summers and newer additions like Chuck Galey, a Jackson illustrator and an accredited Mississippi Arts Commission teaching artist.

Applications are being accepted now and are available at the Bologna Performing Arts Center or for download online: bolognapac.com/education/mississippi-summer-arts-institute. For more information, stop by the BPAC, or call Cade Holder, Arts Education coordinator, at 662-846-4844.

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Music department presents guest recital Feb. 27

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences, Community | No Comments

The Department of Music will present a guest artist recital in the recital hall of the Bologna Performing Arts Center Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

The guest artists, Dr. Jacob Coleman (piano) and Elise Blatchford (flute), will share the musical works of Frank Martin, Darius Milhaud, Randall Woolf, and Carl Vine.

A native of Athens, Georgia, Coleman keeps a busy schedule collaborating with a broad range of performers throughout the U.S. He is currently on faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he directs the Collaborative Piano Program. From 2014-16 Coleman served as a visiting assistant professor of collaborative piano at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. During the summer, he is a member of the piano staff at Meadowmount School of Music founded by Ivan Galamian.

As a collaborator, Coleman has performed with artists such as Cleveland Orchestra principal clarinetist Franklin Cohen, bassoonist William Ludwig, St. Louis Brass member Jeff Nelsen, flutist Leone Buyse, Oregon Symphony principal cellist Nancy Ives, Metropolitan Opera baritone Frederick Burchinal, as well as the Kenari Quartet. He has also performed for a number of master class clinicians including Gil Shaham, Angela Hewitt, Donald McInnes, Warren Jones, Ransom Wilson, Mark Nuccio, Julianne Baird and Cho Liang Lin. As a vocal coach, he has held staff positions at the University of Georgia Opera Theater and the Astoria Music Festival. Additionally, Coleman has served as the principal keyboardist for the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and The University of Texas Wind Ensemble under the direction of Jerry Junkin. In 2012, he was a collaborative piano fellow at the Music Academy of the West, where he worked with Jonathan Feldman. In 2016, he served as the official pianist for the MidSouth Flute Festival in Memphis, Tennessee. Coleman has also performed at the North American Saxophone Alliance and International Double Reeds Society conferences.

Coleman is an avid performer of new music. As a soloist, he gave the Georgia premiere of Augusta Read Thomas’s “Two New Etudes” in 2003. In April of 2016, he premiered a new work by Lansing McLoskey for oboe and piano with ToniMarie Marchioni at Spectrum. Coleman holds degrees from The University of Texas at Austin (DMA, collaborative piano), University of Oregon (MM, collaborative piano), and the University of Georgia (BM, piano performance). His primary teachers were Richard Zimdars, David Riley and Anne Epperson.

A flutist who embraces the independent, experimental and the DIY, Elise Blatchford is a professor, a member of the City of Tomorrow wind quintet, and a frequent soloist and recitalist. Her solo playing has been hailed for its “superb command of color and nuance,” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Blatchford is the assistant professor of flute at the University of Memphis Scheidt School of Music. With the contemporary music wind quintet the City of Tomorrow, she has won a gold medal at the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and toured across the U.S.

Blatchford’s willingness to take risks has extended to multidisciplinary performance art at the Next Wave Festival at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), touring with the amplified cello rock band Portland Cello Project, and arranging and performing an entire album by singer-songwriter Mirah with her partner Leander Star.

Also at home in the traditional orchestra world, Blatchford has performed with the Oregon Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and the YOA Orchestra of the Americas. With YOA, she toured extensively throughout South America, the Caribbean and mainland China, made an appearance at Carnegie Hall with Valery Gergiev, and recorded with Philip Glass.

A dedicated and inventive pedagogue, Blatchford has given master classes at New England Conservatory, San Francisco Conservatory, Williams College, Longy School of Music and Skidmore College, among many others. She completed degrees in flute performance at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the San Francisco Conservatory.

The recital is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Department of Music at 662-846-4615.