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Bologna Performing Arts Center

The BPAC recently held a special luncheon to thank over 70 volunteers who are part of the BPAC Ambassadors program.

BPAC recognizes Ambassadors

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At each performance held at the Bologna Performing Arts Center, some of the first people patrons meet are the dedicated BPAC Ambassadors. From ticket takers and door captains, to greeters and ushers, these volunteers play a huge role in making the performances a great experience for everyone in attendance.

The BPAC recently paid tribute to these volunteers by hosting its annual Ambassadors Luncheon.

Over 70 dedicated volunteers from across the Delta work performances throughout the year. Sally Young, who has been an Ambassador for over a year, expressed the enjoyment of volunteering at the BPAC.

“I am a people person, and I look forward to interacting with all the patrons who come performances at the Bologna Performing Arts Center,” said Young. “I especially love to work the school matinee programs. Seeing the excitement on children’s’ faces really brings joy to being an Ambassador.”

Positions are open to join the BPAC Ambassadors for the 2016-17 season, and training will be held in August. For more information or to sign up, contact Amber Foster at 662-846-4625.

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BPAC unveils 2016-17 season

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The Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State University released its 2016-17 season today. The new lineup features a total of 22 performances across four series: the Main Stage, featuring evening public performances; Family Series, geared at theatergoers of all ages; Recital Hall Series, featuring classical music; and the School-Time Matinee Series, providing educational opportunities for preK-12 students and educators.

There are 10 performances on the Main Stage lineup. Kicking off the season will be GRAMMY award-winning country music artist Travis Tritt with special guest Luke Combs on Sept.15, sponsored by Bolivar Medical Center. Americana-folk rock band The Avett Brothers will play on Oct. 4, sponsored by Guaranty Bank. On Oct. 20, two powerful acts will unite when Mavis Staples performs along with the Blind Boys of Alabama, sponsored by Cannon Motors of Mississippi. On Nov. 10, contemporary dance company Parsons Dance will take the stage in a performance funded in part by South Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. The national Broadway tour of Elf The Musical will play the Mississippi Delta on Dec. 2, sponsored by Planters Bank. In 2017, the USA International Ballet Competition will sponsor a dance performance by Alonzo King LINES Ballet on Jan. 31, funded in part by South Arts and the NEA, as well as Southern Company. On Feb. 28, the international percussion sensation STOMP will come to the Delta. Next, the national Broadway tour of the quintessential backstage musical comedy classic 42nd Street will play on March 20. Direct from Broadway, the mind-blowing spectacular THE ILLUSIONISTS will showcases the jaw-dropping talents of some of the most incredible illusionists on Earth on March 30. The Main Stage season will conclude with a performance on April 27 by Josh Turner, double-platinum-selling singer-songwriter and one of the youngest members of the Grand Ole Opry, sponsored by Robinson Electric.

The new Family Series features three productions geared towards the young at heart. The Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China will perform on Oct. 11. On Nov.6, the Mermaid Theatre of Novia Scotia will perform Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Other Treasured Stories by Eric Carle, sponsored by Heidi’s. Based on the hit TV show, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live! is coming to the BPAC on Jan. 24. Performance times are designed to accommodate younger theatergoers.

The new Recital Hall series will feature the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet on Oct. 6, a GRAMMY award-winning classical guitar ensemble. On March 21, Sybarite5, a string quintet consisting of two violins, viola, cello and double bass, will perform their eclectic repertoire. Tickets to the Recital Hall series include a complimentary social hour with hors d’oeuvres before the performance.

The School-Time Matinee Series will feature A Year with Frog and Toad sponsored by Monsanto on Oct. 25; a matinee performance by Parsons Dance Company on Nov. 9; Pete the Cat sponsored by Entergy on Nov. 18; a matinee performance by Alonzo King LINES Ballet on Feb. 1; Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live! sponsored by Walmart on Feb.23; and Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters on April 12 sponsored by AT&T.

There is also a free community performance planned for April 4, 2017 titled Dar He: The Story of Emmett Till that is sponsored in part by Delta State University’s Winning the Race initiative.

Tickets are currently on pre-sale for BPAC Annual Members, individuals who make a tax deductible donation of $75 or more to the BPAC. Main Stage season ticket packages start at $285 and go on sale July 1. Main Stage Custom “Pick 3,” Family Series and Recital Hall Series ticket packages go on sale July 11. All individual tickets will be available for purchase on July 18. More information on all performances, including videos, can be found at www.bolognapac.com. To become an Annual Member and join the pre-sale, for information on group tickets, or any other questions, call the BPAC at 662-846-4625.

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BPAC announces 2016 Summer Movie Series

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Now in its fourth year, the Bologna Performing Arts Center plans to screen major motion pictures on its big screen in the Delta & Pine Land Theatre through the annual Summer Movie Series. All tickets are $5 for general admission seating. Popcorn and other movie-style concessions will be available to complement the experience. Sales will be cash only.

The first film of the summer will be “Zootopia,” rated PG, on June 7 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. The film is the latest from Walt Disney Animation Studios.

On June 14, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Studio’s “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice” will be shown at 7 p.m. The film is rated PG-13 and stars Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, and Amy Adams.

On June 21, the 2016 release of “Miracles From Heaven” will be screened at 7 p.m. Based on the incredible true story of a young girl’s miraculous cure from a disorder, this faith-based drama stars Jennifer Garner and is rated PG.

Tom Hank’s latest film, “A Hologram for the King,” will be shown June 28 at 7 p.m. The film is rated R and is based on the book by the same title, in which an American businessman tries to close the deal of a lifetime in Saudi Arabia.

Finally, on July 19, the BPAC will feature Disney’s all-new, live-action epic adventure “The Jungle Book” at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. The PG-rated film is inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s works and the 1967 Walt Disney animated classic of the young orphan boy Mowgli who is raised by animals.

For more information, tickets, and to see film trailers, visit www.bolognapac.com, or call the ticket office at 662-846-4626.

Sara Evans will perform live in concert at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on April 21. A special pre-show dinner is planned in the Sculpture Garden featuring several food vendors and live music.

BPAC presents Sara Evans live in concert and Sculpture Garden dinner

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Join the Bologna Performing Arts Center April 21 for Sara Evans live in concert at 7:30 p.m. Evans, a multi-platinum selling country singer and songwriter, has been called one of the most compelling vocalists of her generation.

Since emerging in the late 1990s, Evans has had a prolific recording career that has seen the sale of more than six million albums. She’s had five No. 1 songs, four others appearing in the Top 10, two No. 1 Billboard Country Albums, five appearances on Billboard’s Top 200 all-genre chart, and four consecutive RIAA certified Gold, Platinum or Multi-Platinum albums. She has received awards from the Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, Billboard Music Awards, and has garnered nominations for Grammy Awards (2), American Country Awards (10) and CMT Music Awards (5).

Prior to the show, there will be a dinner in the Sanders Sculpture Garden located in front of the BPAC. Along with live music by The Callie Champion Band, food and beverages will be sold on site by Delta Dairy, Delta Meat Market, Nehi Botting Company and The Warehouse Restaurant. Sales will be cash only. Dinner in the garden will last from 5:30–7 p.m., and the Sara Evans will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets to the show start at $30 and are available at the BPAC Ticket Office, open Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 662-846-4626, or going online at www.bolognapac.com. Tickets to the performance are not required to attend the dinner. Food purchases may be made on site.

For more information, stop by the Bologna Center Ticket Office, call 662-846-4626, or visit www.bolognapac.com.

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Carmina Burana presented by Delta State University Choirs

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The Delta State University Choirs will present “Carmina Burana” April 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

“Carmina Burana” is a cantata composed by Carl Orff, and uses the text of 24 medieval poems. The text, written and performed in Medieval Latin and Middle High German, ranges in subject from the frightful and tense sounding “O, Fortuna” to the playful “Swaz hie gat umbe,” and to themes of love as in “Veni, veni, venias.”

All three of Delta State’s choral groups (Delta Chorale, University Chamber Singers, and Delta Singers Women’s Chorale) will participate in the performance. The choirs will be joined by faculty instrumentalists Dr. Karen Fosheim, Dr. Kumiko Shimizu and Dr. Josh Armstrong, as well as the DSU Percussion Ensemble. This performance will also feature three soloists: faculty member Dr. Chad Payton (countertenor) and guest artists Abigail Rethwisch (soprano) and Andrew Paulson (baritone).

Dr. Chad R. Payton, countertenor, is an assistant professor of music at Delta State. He teaches private voice instruction, song literature and vocal pedagogy. Payton is the originator and host of the Opera Lecture Series, in which he offers lectures and public viewings of operatic masterworks to Delta State students and community members. He has served on DSU’s Gender Studies Group, where he presented research on gender issues surrounding countertenor performance practice, and is the chair of the Department of Music’s Recruitment Committee. Payton received his Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance from the University of Kansas with honors.

He switched to countertenor repertoire in 2005, having made his Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center operatic debuts, as well as his off-Broadway debut, as a tenor in the world premiere of Michael Ching’s opera “Corps of Discovery: A Musical Journey.” Payton found success in local, regional, and national competitions, including National Association of Teachers of Singing, National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award and the Music Teachers National Association. He is a proponent of oratorio literature, often seen with regional orchestras such as the Quincy Symphony Society in Illinois, the Saint Joseph Symphony, Columbia Civic Orchestra, Odyssey Chamber Orchestra and the University of Missouri’s Philharmonic Orchestra in Missouri. Frequent oratorio engagements include the alto soloist in Handel’s “Messiah,” Bach’s “Mass in B Minor,” “St. John Passion” and “St. Matthew Passion,” and Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” In addition, he premiered and has frequented the countertenor soloist role in Barbara Garrett’s “Requiem for Broken Souls,” a signature piece of Kansas City’s Artistic Advocates for Healing.

Payton serves on the voice faculty and as general manager for Seagle Music Colony, the nation’s oldest young artist training program for opera and musical theatre, located in New York. Each summer he offers multiple audition classes, vocal masterclasses and lessons, and organizes and oversees the daily rehearsal, staging and performance schedule for six fully staged productions in eight weeks. Seagle Music Colony alumni are performing in major opera houses throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Houston Grand Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. They are frequently named national finalists and winners in national competitions such as the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Payton’s doctoral dissertation is titled “A Performer’s Analysis of Lori Laitman’s Men with Small Heads and Jake Heggie’s Encountertenor,” in which he examines two 20th century song cycles written specifically for countertenor. His performances of these pieces earned him national recognition in The American Prize Competition, in which he was named a national finalist in the art song division. He was invited to present “Laitman’s Men with Small Heads” at the regional NATS conference in Baton Rouge in 2012. In addition, he has commissioned and premiered several chamber works for his professional ensemble, Payton and the Pipes, featuring countertenor, clarinet and flute, including “Three Poems of Vladimir Nabokov” by American composer Jason Charney. Payton and the Pipes have been invited to perform on the 2013 Great Spaces Concert Series in Topeka, Kansas, sharing the series with internationally recognized artists such as the Vienna Boys Choir.

Abigail Rethwisch, soprano, is from Iowa City, Iowa, and is currently a resident artist with Tri-Cities Opera, where she has sung the roles of Iolanta (Iolanta), and Lucy (The Telephone), and will soon sing Johanna (Sweeney Todd), as well as Lucy Goat (The Billy Goats Gruff) for Opera Go Round. This June she will join Chautauqua Opera as an apprentice artist singing the role of Annina and cover Violetta in “La Traviata.”

Having recently come from Des Moines, Iowa, she sang with Opera Iowa and Des Moines Metro Opera. Her roles there included Clorinda (La Cenerentola), and Lucy (The Three Billy Goats Gruff) and covering the roles of Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), and Beatriz (La hija de Rappiccini).

Gaining significant recognition in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Rethwisch has been a regional finalist three times, most recently in the Great Lakes Region where she won second place. Other competition awards include first place in the Central Region NATS Competition, first place in the Young Artist Concerto Competition for both the Fort Dodge Symphony and Central Iowa Symphony, later leading to performances with both orchestras.

Equally comfortable on the concert stage, Rethwisch has been highlighted in Tallahassee, Florida. With the Tallahassee Community Chorus she has been seen as the soprano soloist in “Dvořák’s Te Deum” and the soprano soloist in Mozart’s “Grand Mass in C minor.” She has performed Schubert’s “Mass in G” with the Tallahassee Civic Choral, and has sung the Queen of Sheba in Handel’s “Solomon” and as well as a number of performances of “Messiah.”

In addition to Rethwisch’s love for the opera stage, she enjoys engaging younger audiences, and has been seen in two elementary and middle school outreach tours. In the greater Tallahassee area she was seen performing Gretel in “Hansel and Gretel,” and Fiordiligi in an English adapted version of “Così fan tutte.” Rethwisch’s young artist training includes three summers as an apprentice with Des Moines Metro Opera, and a fellowship at the CoOPERAtive Program. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Simpson College and a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Florida State University.

Andrew Paulson, a native of Great Falls, Virginia, is currently a studio artist singing with Sarasota Opera. His responsibilities include Marcello cover in the fall season production of “La Bohème” and Guglielmo cover in the winter season production of “Così Fan Tutte.” In addition, he can be seen performing in the Young Verdi Concert, The Verdi Cycle Grand Finale Concert and Aida Chorus. Future engagements feature his Santa Fe debut as Happy in La fanciulla del West and a Diener in “Capriccio.” In addition, he is covering Mercutio in “Roméo et Juliette.”

Recent engagements include Nardo cover in “La Finta Giardiniera” and Marullo cover in “Rigoletto” with Santa Fe Opera, Papageno in “Die Zauberflöte,” Roger Chillingworth in a concert performance of “The Scarlet Letter” by Lori Laitman, Imperial Commissioner in “Madame Butterfly,” the father in “Hansel and Gretel,” and Mercutio in “Romeo and Juliette” with Opera Colorado.

Paulson recently received recognition in competitions including second place in the Mobile Opera Competition, third place in the Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition, fourth place in the Florida Suncoast Opera Guild Competition, the Gérard Souzay Award at the Positively Poulenc: Joy in Singing Competition, an Encouragement Award from the Florida District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and first place in the annual voice competition of the Friday Morning Music Club of Washington, D.C.

Concert performances include singing with the Tallahassee Community Chorus as the baritone soloist in the “Dvořák Te Deum,” soloist with the Florida State Baroque ensemble singing “Telemann’s Ist Gott Versöhnt und Unser Freund cantata” and Schütz’s “Symphoniae Sacrae I.” Paulson studied at Florida State University receiving a master’s degree in Voice Performance and at Westminster Choir College where he graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performace magna cum laude with honors.