Category

College of Arts and Sciences

Delta State and Eastern Michigan choirs collaborate for joint concert

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

On Friday (Feb. 24), the Delta State University’s Delta Chorale, directed by Dr. Adam Potter, will host a joint concert with Eastern Michigan University’s premier choral ensemble, the EMU Concert Choir, directed by Dr. Brandon Johnson.

The EMU group, from Ypsilanti, Michigan, has been touring the South for the past week. Their performance in Cleveland will take place in the sanctuary of Covenant Presbyterian Church at 7:30 p.m.

For Potter, the collaboration has special meaning.

“This concert brings together so many people I know and love,” said Potter. “Obviously, it is a unique opportunity for my students to get to perform with a collegiate choir from over 800 miles away. It is also an honor to partner on this project with my church family, the kind folks at Covenant Church. The director of the EMU Concert Choir, Brandon Johnson, was my undergraduate and master’s degree conductor and teacher. A 2016 Delta State music alumna, Monica Ely, is a soprano in the EMU choir. Amazingly, a former student of mine from when I was a high school music teacher in New York is also an EMU singer, now a graduate student in vocal performance. My worlds intersect here in Cleveland.”

Prior to the concert, the choirs will share a joint rehearsal and clinic with Johnson, as well as share a meal together. Johnson is the director of Choral Activities at EMU and the artistic director and conductor of the Detroit Concert Choir. Previously, he founded and was the artistic director of the emerging professional vocal ensemble Vox Lumine based in New York.

Johnson has conducted professional musicians across the United States while maintaining his extensive work with students of all ages. He has performed in venues across the country including Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center, and made his conducting debut at the renowned Carnegie Hall with the National Sacred Honor Choir. He holds degrees from Concordia College and The University of Arizona and was previously a faculty member at Houghton College.

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 choir has performed by invitation at state and regional conferences of the Mississippi Music Educators Association and American Choral Directors Association.

Dr. Vernell Bennett, Delta State’s vice president for Student Affairs, will provide opening remarks at Friday evening’s concert. Coincidentally, Bennett is a graduate of the music program at EMU.

This concert is free of charge and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to help cover the expense of EMU’s trip to Cleveland.

Biology credits available for trip to Bangladesh

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

Dr. A.H.M. Ali Reza, assistant professor of biology at Delta State, is leading another international field course this summer in his homeland of Bangladesh.

The tropical field biology study abroad course is in partnership with the Creative Conservation Alliance (CCA), an NGO that works tirelessly to conserve Bangladesh’s imperiled wildlife.

“This is really a special opportunity for students to get direct access to one of the most diverse environments in the world, the jungles of Lawachara National Park, as well as the largest mangrove forest in the world, the Sundarbans Reserve Forest.” said Reza. “I would strongly encourage students to consider joining this trip if they have an interest in resume-boosting conservation field experience. You’ll have a real chance at seeing tigers, saltwater crocs, five species of primates, and finding dozens of snakes in a single night.”

Students at Delta State will have the opportunity of gaining three credits during the Summer II session with a two-week field trip mandatory for the course, from July 10-25. BIO 492: Tropical Field Biology, is course appropriate for any student enrolled or interested in biology, natural resources management, conservation biology, wildlife ecology, management, veterinary sciences or related fields.

Students enrolled in other universities or colleges in the U.S. will also be able to transfer course credits from Delta State to their home institution.

Thanks to the partnership with CCA, the course fee of $2,200 per student directly contributes to the conservation of the endangered flora and fauna of Bangladesh. The fee also covers housing, meals, local travel and fees to the forests. Separate from the course fee, students will be responsible for their airfare to Bangladesh.

Taking the course for university credit is optional. The fee to take the trip for credit is an additional $802.50.

“While we encourage everyone to enroll for academic credit on this trip, students or anyone else can attend without registering for credit,” added Reza.

Reza said this hands-on experience can help students get recognized in the scientific field.

“You have a great chance of getting your name on a scientific publication by making a range extension, or even discovering a new species,” he said. “Our 2014 and 2015 trips recognized multiple potentially new species and made several range extensions. In 2016, our group discovered a new species of a Takydromus lizard.”

For more trip information, contact Reza at areza@deltastate.edu.

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.

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.

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.