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Delta Music Institute

Audrianna Johnson is the 2015-16 Fighting Okra Records label artist.

Johnson named new Fighting Okra Records artist

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Fighting Okra Records, the Delta Music Institute’s student-run record label at Delta State University, recently signed junior Audrianna Johnson, a native of Grenada as the 2015-16 label artist.

After a three-step audition process that included an interview and live performance audition, the label chose Johnson as this year’s featured artist. Johson is a Delta State student majoring in entertainment industry studies at the DMI. Her music ranges from R&B to rap and includes lyrics that tell stories about her life.

“A lot of situations with church have impacted me,” said Johnson, referencing her musical influences. “Especially when I got out of high school and started to be more open-minded about things, going away from religious stuff. Still being godly, but not religious.”

Since signing to the label, she has worked with the staff to plan her upcoming recordings, completed a photo session, and has been performing throughout the region. Her debut CD will be released in late spring of 2016.

Fighting Okra Records is the driving component of the DMI’s Record Label Practicum course. The mission of FOR is to provide a practical, real-world music industry experience to the students, and to provide a variety of independent artists with professional quality music industry services in an effort to expose their name in recordings to the broadest possible audience.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts & Sciences of Delta State University. 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, contact Fighting Okra Records at 662-846-4579 or dmi.deltastate.edu.

 

 

 

GRAMMY_logo

Delta State offers events before GRAMMY Museum Mississippi opens

By | Academics, Community, Delta Center, Delta Music Institute, Faculty/Staff, GRAMMY | No Comments

In anticipation of GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi’s grand opening March 5-6, Delta State University is offering a series of events gearing up for the unveiling of only the second GRAMMY museum in the world — located right next to Delta State’s campus.

The Bologna Performing Arts Center kicks off the schedule Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. by bringing some of the GRAMMY’s Los Angeles roots to the Delta with the performance of “BODYTRAFFIC.”

Internationally recognized for performing commissioned work by many of today’s top choreographers, “BODYTRAFFIC” is one of the most talked about young dance companies. Tickets range from $25-39. For more information, call the ticket office at 662-846-4626.

The BPAC will also be providing full tours of its facilities, including the stage and backstage areas. A BPAC staff member will reveal what the stars and VIPs see. To schedule a free private tour, call 662-846-4625.

Delta State art professor Ron Koehler, will be leading free scheduled tours of the Hazel and Jimmy Sanders Sculpture Garden, located in front of the BPAC and GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. Some of the sculptures have also been established across campus to provide a unique artistic influence. Tours will take place Tuesday at 10 a.m. and Thursday at 1:30 p.m., beginning in front of the museum. For more information, contact Koehler at 662-846-4720.

The Delta Music Institute has planned a series of events leading up to the grand opening. DMI student bands present free live performances Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 3 p.m. in DMI Studio A. Featured bands include Ol’ Skool Revue, DeltaRoX and B4Y2K. For more information, contact the DMI office at 662-846-4579 or dmi@deltastate.edu.

Also on Tuesday and Thursday, from 3-5 p.m., the DMI will provide open house tours and live performances in studios A, B, C and the “Sandbox.” Live session demonstrations will take place in each studio and students will record music through the state-of-the-art technology and equipment. For more information, contact the DMI 662-846-4579 or dmi@deltastate.edu.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning on campus will be providing two scheduled presentations.

In partnership with the College of Education & Human Sciences, the DCCL presents “Down Home” Delta Cooking Session on Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., free of charge, in the first floor lobby of Ewing Hall. Food is a big deal in the Mississippi Delta, and this session features a faculty member and students cooking and conversing about authentic Delta delicacies like okra and tomatoes, pimento cheese and barbecue. The demonstration features Dr. Virginia Webb and the Student Dietetic Association. For more information, contact the DCCL at 662-846-4311.

On Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the DCCL presents the gallery talk “A Cast of Blues,” featuring Sharon McConnell-Dickerson, the artist behind the historic “A Cast of Blues” collection. The 55 original “life casts” are three-dimensional sculptures created with damp gauze and plaster, which capture the facial structure of legendary blues musicians. The event is free and also takes place in the first floor lobby of Ewing Hall. For more information, contact the DCCL at 662-846-4311.

The public is also welcome to explore the University Archives located at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum Building on campus. Free of charge, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Archives presents a variety of topics related to the history, people, places and events of the Mississippi Delta.

Exhibits and museums currently available for viewing include:
* Delta State University’s 90th Anniversary Exhibit
* Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum:
An exhibit that begins with the stories of the first Chinese sojourners who ventured to the Mississippi Delta.
* Shop History: The Delta Cream Donut Legacy:
This special exhibit pays tribute to a local icon of the Delta landscape.
* Lucy Somerville Howorth Seminar Room:
Explore some of the women who have dedicated their lives and efforts to encouraging success in the Delta, as well as promoting the Delta to the world.
* “Inning by Inning: A Life in Baseball,” the Dave “Boo” Ferriss Baseball Museum:
This museum captures the life and experiences of legendary DSU baseball coach Ferriss and his relationship with baseball throughout his lifetime. Contact University Archivist Emily Jones for viewing times at the Ferriss museum.

For more information on the Archives exhibits, contact Jones at 662-846-4781, or ejones@deltastate.edu.

GRAMMY Museum Mississippi will officially open its doors to the public on Saturday morning. The grand opening will be celebrated with a slate of activities from March 3–6. For more information, visit http://www.grammymuseumms.org.

Delta Music Institute students recently visiting the White House included: (left to right)  Rhett McCormick (Bruce, MS); Anna Katherine McKay (Canton, MS); Kailey Mathis (Madison, MS); Audrianna Johnson (Grenada, MS); Katye Mangialardi (Olive Branch, MS); Brandon Evans (Greenwood, MS); Jacob Lifsey (Lexington, TN); Cody Upchurch (Grenada, MS); Joshua Stubbs (Meridian, MS); and Thomas Walker, Jr. (West Point, MS).

DMI students visit White House

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The GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live, in cooperation with the White House and WETA (a non-commercial, public radio station in Washington, D.C.), invited Delta Music Institute students to the White House on Feb. 24 for an education program to celebrate the musical legacy of Ray Charles. The interactive workshop featured gospel legend Yolanda Adams, R&B singer Leon Bridges, singers Audra Day and Demi Lovato, and actor Jussie Smollett talking about, and performing, Charles’ soulful classics for 130 youth from across the country.

These annual education programs are part of the “In Performance at the White House” concert series and is a follow-up to 2010’s “Music that Inspired the Movement,” 2011’s “The Sound of Young America: The History of Motown” and “The History of Country Music: From Barn Dances to Pop Charts,” 2012’s “At the Crossroads: A History of the Blues in America,” 2013’s “Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul,” “Celebrando el Ritmo Latino: The History of Latin Music,” 2014’s “I’m Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul,” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever: A History of Music and the Military,” and 2015’s “The History of Gospel Music” and “A Celebration of Song.”

This program was supplemented with curriculum and additional educational materials from The GRAMMY Museum education department as well as streamed live for students from around the country to watch in their classrooms.

Joshua Stubbs, entertainment industry major from Meridian, said, “It was awesome that we learned from the experts in D.C. exactly what we’re learning in our DMI classes.”

“I had a great time being able to experience the heart of America in such a meaningful way,” siad EIS major Cody Upchurch from Grenada. “ It was an exceptional trip that opened my eyes to what America truly is.”

Along with the GRAMMY Museum educational program, the students also had the opportunity to tour the Museum of American History and monuments along the National Mall.

“What I hope our students get out of this is the connection between Mississippi and all the great genres of America music,” said DMI director Tricia Walker. “I want them to be proud of the musical legacy that Mississippi has.”

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

The DMI All-Stars — a student band that covers songs of Mississippi GRAMMY-winning music — rocked the stage during the annual Mississippi Night at GRAMMY Week in Los Angeles on Feb. 11.

DMI All-Stars rock Los Angeles

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The anticipation leading up to GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi in Cleveland continues to bring life-changing opportunities for students enrolled in the Delta Music Institute at Delta State University.

For the fourth year in a row, the DMI All-Stars — a student band that covers songs of Mississippi GRAMMY-winning music — rocked the stage during the annual Mississippi Night at GRAMMY Week in Los Angeles on Feb. 11.

This year’s group of students grew to eight performing band members and four non-members who assisted with road management, social media and tech support. According to DMI Director Tricia Walker, the entire group put on a stellar show at the Clive Davis Theater inside the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. Live.

“This year the DMI All-Stars were given an opening slot for GRAMMY nominated artists Cedric Burnside and the legendary Bobby Rush,” said Walker. “The students, under the direction of instructor Charly Abraham, put together a 30-minute show and knocked it out of the park.”

The audience was filled with a number of dignitaries, tourism leaders, politicians and special guests who gathered to listen to talented aspiring musicians and to honor the history and culture associated with the birthplace of American music.

The Cleveland Music Foundation, the community-based organization partnering with GRAMMY to establish the new museum in Cleveland, first invited the All-Stars to perform at Mississippi Night in early 2013.

Scheduled for a March 5 grand opening, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi will become only the second museum of its kind in the world. This unique partnership is already reaping benefits for DMI students. Brittany McGee, entertainment industry major from Ecru, Mississippi served as the group’s tour manager and was responsible for all travel logistics and bookings.

“This trip helped me to realize how important it is to always be prepared because anything can happen,” said McGee.

Gregory Braggs, a senior at the DMI, travelled with the group as tech support.

“It was an awesome opportunity,” said Braggs. “I never guessed that I would get the chance to experience Los Angeles and to see where the GRAMMYs are held each year.”

Along with the group’s big performance, they also had the opportunity to tour the L.A. museum, explore the city and beach, and visit Disneyland.

“What I really hope our students get out of this is that it’s possible to come from a small town and succeed in this industry,” said Walker. “You can start anywhere, and after visiting Los Angeles, I think they’re beginning to believe that. The DMI All-Stars are great ambassadors for the DMI program and Delta State University. We look forward to developing intern partnerships with GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live through GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.”

Delta State President William N. LaForge, who also attended the trip, was blown away by the accomplishments of the students.

“I was so proud of our DMI students’ performance at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles during GRAMMY Week,” he said. “The DMI All-Stars lit up the Clive Davis Theater with tunes that had everyone singing along and dancing in their seats. They were a huge hit and a grand addition to the talent showcase that evening.”

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

Robert Khayat (left) and J. Fred Knobloch will be featured on the Thacker Mountain Radio Show Feb. 27 at 3 p.m. at the Delta Music Institute.

Thacker Mountain Radio returns to DMI

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The Delta Music Institute entertainment industry program at Delta State University will host the award-winning Thacker Mountain Radio Show Feb. 27 at 3 p.m. in DMI Studio A in the Whitfield Building on campus. This marks the eighth year for the Thacker in the Delta event, which serves as a fundraising event in support of DMI programming and the Duff Dorrough Memorial Scholarship fund.

This year’s featured author will be University of Mississippi Chancellor Emeritus Robert C. Khayat, reading from his book, “The Education of a Lifetime,” a compelling memoir about his childhood days in Moss Point, Mississippi, the state’s segregationist policies that prevented his SEC championship baseball team from playing in the College World Series, and the sadness of experiencing his father’s arrest and guilty plea.

Khayat is a former college football all-star, All-Pro kicker for the Washington Redskins, law professor and president of the NCAA Foundation. He holds degrees from Ole Miss and Yale University, and was an Academic All-American football and baseball player while at Ole Miss. He has received the NFL Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the National Football Foundation Distinguished American Award. Khayat served as the 15th chancellor of the University of Mississippi from 1995-2009.

Featured musician for this year’s show will be award-winning Mississippi singer-songwriter J. Fred Knobloch.

Knobloch, a Jackson native, began performing at the age of 13 when he and some friends formed a band to play at school. After leaving school to play music full-time, he began performing solo at nightclubs across the South and landed work as a session guitarist at MALACO Studios in Jackson, working for such R&B notables as Dorothy Moore, Eddie Floyd and Anita Ward.

It was at Malaco that he met drummer James Stroud and pianist Carson Whitsett, who encouraged Knobloch’s writing and performing. The encouragement paid off when “WHY NOT ME,” co-written with Whitsett and produced by James Stroud, reached No.1 on the Billboard AC chart and No.18 on HOT 100. After a two-year stint in Los Angeles, Knobloch home to the South and relocated to Nashville, where he currently resides.

As an artist, session musician and songwriter, Knobloch found success with Thom Schuyler and Craig Bickhardt, forming the group SKB, who claimed a No. 1 country record with “Baby’s Got A New Baby,” co-written by Knobloch with fellow Mississippian Dan Tyler.

His songs have been included on gold and platinum selling records by artists Faith Hill, George Strait, Delbert McClinton, Etta James, Ray Charles, Lorrie Morgan, John Anderson, Trisha Yearwood, Neal McCoy, Confederate Railroad, Sawyer Brown, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Kenny Rogers.

In addition to this year’s featured guests, DMI Director Tricia Walker will sing and DMI’s newest band, B4Y2K, will perform hits from the ’90s. Thacker Mountain Radio is hosted by Jim Dees and features the show’s talented house band, The Yalobushwhackers.

Thacker in the Delta is open to the public at no charge, but gifts and donations to the Friends of DMI fund are encouraged. For online giving, please visit www.deltastategiving.org and search for Delta Music Institute.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts & Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelors 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 information, contact 662-846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.