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College of Arts and Sciences

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Handel’s “Messiah” to be performed at Delta State

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Zeigel Hall on the campus of Delta State is currently filled with the sounds of one of the most beloved musical works of all time, “Messiah,” by George Frideric Handel.

The Delta Chorale, Delta Singers Okramen and Delta Singers Women’s Chorale are learning the masterwork for a performance at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.

Across town on Monday nights at First United Methodist Church, the Delta Choral Union is learning the same music in preparation for a grand collaboration that will take shape over the next three weeks, culminating in the concert performance.

Dr. Adam Potter, director of Choral Activities at Delta State and the conductor of the Delta Chorale and Delta Singers Women’s Chorale, is the music director for the performance. He will share the podium with ElizaBeth Beckham, conductor of the Delta Choral Union, and Kevin Tharp, conductor of the Delta Singers Okramen.

“There is no better way to kick off the holiday season than with a gala choral performance like this,” said Potter. “We are so excited to bring ‘Messiah’ to the Delta.”

The Delta Chorale is the premier touring vocal ensemble at Delta State. Comprised of approximately 40 mixed voices, it performs frequently both on and off campus. Its repertoire features high-quality choral music from diverse styles, musical eras, languages and cultures. The chorale has performed by invitation at state and regional conferences of the Mississippi Music Educators Association and American Choral Directors Association.

Delta Singers encompasses two separate choirs, the Okramen men’s choir and Women’s Chorale, which perform together frequently. These non-auditioned choirs provide singers an opportunity to learn many styles of music and also focus on developing vocal and musicianship skills. They also serve as lab choirs for advanced student conductors.

The Delta Choral Union is an adult volunteer community choir based in Cleveland. It has a proud history of excellent singing and highly-anticipated concerts. Beckham serves as its music director.

For this performance, the Delta State University choral program has hired a full roster of professional string players from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra to accompany the choirs. Their concertmaster will be Anne-Gaëlle Ravetto, instructor of violin at Delta State.

Department of Music faculty Josh Armstrong, Shelley Collins, Michael Ellzey, Bret Pimentel and Kumiko Shimizu will complete the orchestra in the wind, percussion and continuo sections.

The performance will also feature professional artists presenting the vocal solos Handel interspersed between the choruses. Laurissa Backlin, soprano, is currently an assistant professor of music at Delta State. Chad Payton, countertenor, is an assistant professor of voice at Capital University in Ohio (former DSU faculty from 2011-16). Jamie Dahman, tenor, joined the DSU voice faculty this fall. Patton Rice, bass-baritone, is the director of vocal music at the Mississippi School of the Arts and a frequent soloist with Mississippi Opera.

Tickets for this event are available at the Bologna Performing Arts Center box office or at choir.deltastate.edu. They are $15 for adults, $10 for DSU faculty and staff, and $5 for students and senior citizens.

This performance has been made possible by a generous donation from Margaret Heard Walker.

Students Christine Beck (left to right), Danielle Husley and professor Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding, recently presented at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Delegation presents at vertebrate paleontology conference

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Delta State University environmental science students and professors recently presented two research posters at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on Oct. 25-29.

Students Christine Beck and Danielle Husley co-authored a research poster with biology professors Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding and Dr. Eric Blackwell titled “Paleocommunity of Late Pleistocene Megafauna found along the Lower Mississippi River Delta.”

The poster focused on ice age animals that lived in the Mississippi Delta about 12,000 years ago, including bison, mastodons, mammoths, great short-faced bear, ground sloths, ice age beaver, musk ox and more.

Dr. Judy Massare, professor of paleontology and geologist at Suny College at Brockport, New York encouraged Husely and Beck to publish the work in a respectable scientific journal. Additionally, the students became exposed to new morphological and ecological discoveries about fossil reptiles, mammals and amphibians, learned about new techniques including photogrammetry and basic scientific illustration in Adobe Photoshop, and networked with other students and scientists.

Baghai-Riding also co-authored a poster with her colleague Dr. Carol Hotton associated with the Natural Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Department of Paleobiology in Washington D.C. Their work was titled “Palynology of the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation: new insights into floristics, paleoclimate, phytogeography, and tetrapod herbivory.”

Learn more about environmental science opportunities at Delta State by visiting http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/biological-and-physical-sciences/.

The Delta State Department of Music presents pianist Dr. Louis Nagel at the Bologna Performing Arts Center Recital Hall Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

Department of Music to host Mississippi Music Teachers Association conference

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The Delta State Department of Music will host the 2016 State Conference of the Mississippi Music Teachers Association (MMTA) and the state competitions of the Music Teachers National Association on campus Nov. 4-5. Approximately 100 music teachers and students from around the state will visit campus for these events.

The official guest artist is pianist Dr. Louis Nagel, who will present a guest artist recital as the highlight of the conference at the Bologna Performing Arts Center Recital Hall on Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. The recital will feature piano solo works by Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. Nagel’s recital is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Department of Music at 662-846-4615.

Nagel combines an active concert and teaching schedule and is noted for his lecture-recitals by musicians and non-musicians alike. He has performed in highly-acclaimed solo recitals and concerto concerts in major American and European cities. He has taught at the Interlochen Arts Camp, International Music Camp in Poland, Adamant Music School and the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Italy. At the University of Michigan, he is the Director of the School of Music, Theatre and Dance Outreach Program, advisor to the Bachelor of Musical Arts Degree program, the Interim Chair of the Piano Department, and has been on the faculty since 1969.

Nagel is a sought-after presenter at state and national conferences with lecture-recitals at National Music Teachers’ Association conventions in Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Salt Lake City. He is often invited as a state convention artist and has appeared in other forums throughout the United States. He is a member and former board member of the American Liszt Society and often performs at its annual festivals including the Great Romantics Festival at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Nagel is a Steinway artist, and has performed in Steinway Hall in New York as well as numerous times for the Steinway music stores in Michigan. He has recorded “Four Centuries of J. S. Bach” for Equilibrium, Music of C.P.E. Bach and Joseph Haydn for Block M. Additionally, he has collaborated with his wife, psychologist, psychoanalyst and musician, Dr. Julie Jaffee Nagel, at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute and the American Psychoanalytic Association.

His three degrees from The Juilliard School include studies with Rosina Lhevinne, Josef Raieff and Joseph Bloch. Subsequent to his studies at The Juilliard School was a summer of coaching with Vladimir Ashkenazy.

Recent performances have included “Mussorgsky’s Pictures” at an exhibition in Florence, Italy, and four programs devoted to the piano sonatas of Schubert at Kerrytown. In addition, he presented a program on the French Suites of Bach at the Music Teachers National Association National Convention in New York.

The Department of Art presents Resa Blatman’s "Gaia Series" Nov. 3 from 5-7 p.m. in the Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery.

Art gallery presents Resa Blatman exhibition

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Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery presents an exhibition of Resa Blatman’s “Gaia Series,” a multimedia installation that addresses the causes and effects of climate change.

An opening reception to launch the exhibit will take place Nov. 3 from 5-7 p.m.in the gallery. Blatman will discuss the exhibit before the reception at 4 p.m.

Blatman’s exuberant, multi-layered paintings have always been inspired by nature, but in recent years, her attention has turned to the alarming signs of climate change – global warming, shrinking arctic icecaps, rising water levels, extreme weather conditions, extinction of animal species, migration of species and the growing scarcity of natural resources.

The title of Blatman’s series derives from the Gaia hypothesis developed by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis which provides a model for understanding the threats caused by environmental pollution, industrial exploitation of natural resources, and the growing world population. The theory sees our planet as a complex, synergistic, self-regulating system that helps to sustain conditions for life on Earth. 

Blatman recently completed a residency in the Arctic, where she could observe the effects of climate change firsthand. Many of the works in the exhibition were directly impacted by her experiences there. She does not claim to be a scientist but speaks from the perspective of a concerned citizen. She hopes her work inspires discussion and raises awareness of the issues while also providing her audience with an engaging visual experience.

Blatman is an independent artist from Somerville, Massachusetts. She earned a MFA from Boston University and a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She has had one-person exhibitions at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia; Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts; Hartnett Gallery at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York; and other places. Additionally, she has been included in numerous group exhibitions, most recently at the Spartanburg Art Museum in Spartanburg, South Carolina . Her work is in public and private collections across the United States, Europe and South Africa.

The exhibition will run until Dec. 8.

Gallery hours are Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed on weekends, holidays and during semester breaks.

For more information, visit the Department of Art’s website at http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/art/, or contact 662-846-4720. For updates and announcements of upcoming events, follow Delta State Art Department on Facebook, or join the email list.

Join the Delta Music Institute for a DMI All Access event featuring Rodeo & Juliet Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.

Rodeo & Juliet scheduled for DMI All Access

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The Delta Music Institute, an entertainment industry studies program at Delta State University, will host Rodeo & Juliet for their upcoming DMI All Access event. The event, free and open to the public, will be held Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. in DMI Studio A on the campus of Delta State.

Chris and Jan Harris — Rodeo and Juliet — have been producing, writing and singing for a wide array of artists for over 40 years, including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Loretta Lynn, Amy Grant, Kristin Chenoweth, Dolly Parton, Michael W. Smith, CeCe Winans and more.

Throw in 15 years of writing, producing and singing on hundreds of commercials, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch, McDonalds, Transformers, Chick-fil-A and Southwest Airline. Additionally, they have raised two musically gifted sons while residing in the Music City — Nashville, Tennessee.

In 2008, the duo sold their farm and figured out a way to sing sweet, soul harmonies and formed Rodeo and Juliet. After spending time recording in the studio, they decided to work up 100 love songs and hit the road at the seasoned age of 55. They released a self-titled debut CD full of their timeless American roots music.

The DMI is an independent center of study under the College of Arts & Sciences at Delta State, 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. For more information, visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

For information about the DMI All Access event, call 662- 846-4579, or email dmi@deltastate.edu.