Delta Music Institute

Hip-hop star Dee-1 is next week's feature artist in downtown Cleveland Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Hip-hop artist Dee-1 to perform next Levitt AMP Cleveland concert

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Delta State University announces hip-hop artist Dee-1 will perform a free concert in downtown Cleveland on Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series.

Following his graduation from Louisiana State University, New Orleans native David Augustine Jr. taught middle school math in Baton Rouge by day and performed hip-hop onstage as Dee-1 by night. Rapping has always been Augustine’s therapy — his own creative means of writing about tumultuous collective experiences. Wanting to pursue his growing passion and become a rapper his students could be proud of, Augustine resigned from teaching before the 2010-11 school year to focus on his music career.

In 2011, he released “I Hope They Hear Me Vol. 2,” which was a life-changing mixtape, as several singles received extensive radio play and regular airplay on “MTV Jams.” The single “Jay, 50 and Weezy” received notable Internet attention for its content and mentions of Lil Wayne, 50 Cent and Jay-Z, winning the Best of Booth Award on DJ Booth. Since then, Dee-1 has given electrifying, crowd-surfing performances on national tours such as Macklemore’s Heist Tour, Mur’s Ridin All By Ourselves Tour, Lecrae’s Higher Learning Tour, Killer Mike and Young Dro’s Grind and Hustle Tour, Lupe Fiasco’s Tetsuo and Youth Preview Tour and his own Too Focused to Fail Tour. He has also performed with Lil Wayne, Drake, Trey Songz, Akon, The Roots and Mýa, and was named Artist of the Year at the 2010 NOLA Underground Hip-Hop Awards. 

The concert will take place on the downtown green space near College Street. Sweet’s BBQ will sell barbecue dinners and Delta Dairy will sell frozen treats. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, ice chests and bug repellant. Glass bottles are not allowed. Mic Hargrove will be the opening act beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series is supported in part by Levitt Pavilions, the national nonprofit behind the largest free outdoor concert series in America. Dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of our communities, Levitt partners with cities to transform neglected public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free, live music. In 2015, free Levitt concerts will take place in 16 cities across 14 states, all featuring a rich array of music genres and high caliber talent. In addition to Levitt AMP, Levitt forms the only national network of nonprofit outdoor music venues, each presenting 50-plus free concerts each year. Within this region is the Levitt Shell ( in Memphis, Tenn. with concerts taking place this May, June, July, September and October. Learn more about Levitt locations and impact at

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series is sponsored by Delta State University and their partners: the Delta Music Institute, Delta State University Student Government Association, city of Cleveland, Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, Team Cleveland, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, Peavey, Domino’s Pizza and the Delta Arts Alliance.

For more information about the Cleveland Amp Levitt Concerts Series, visit call the Cleveland Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce at 662-843-2712.

Mary Peavey of Peavey Electronics, left, joined Miles Fulwider, DMI coordinator of Sound Recording Technology, for the announcement of a major sound equipment donation.

Peavy Electronics donates to DMI and Levitt AMP series

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Hartley and Mary Peavey of Peavey Electronics recently donated $4,500 of sound reinforcement equipment to support the DMI Entertainment Industry Studies program at Delta State University in preparation for the upcoming Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series.

“Music inspired my lifelong passion for making the tools that allow us to create music,” said Hartley Peavey, founder and CEO of Peavey Electronics Corporation. “I hope that this donation of Peavey products will act as a bridge to link the rich musical legacy of the Delta region to the next generation of music professionals.”

Music industry veteran Tricia Walker, director of the Delta Music Institute, said the Peavey donation will augment the DMI’s live sound reinforcement capabilities and provide students with an additional opportunity to work with state-of-the-art audio technology.

“We are very grateful to receive this support from Peavey Electronics,” said Walker. “Peavey once again stepped up with their excellent products that will be instrumental in the success of the Levitt AMP Music Series here in Cleveland this fall.”

The donated equipment includes four Peavey QW-18 subwoofers and a Peavey IPR2 7500 watt power amp to boost the low end of any number of live sound applications.

“Building on the tradition of Mississippi’s undeniable musical history, gifts like this support the creative and entrepreneurial dreams of the next generation of young entertainment professionals,” added Walker. “The Delta Music Institute, with its entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary approach to studying the music and entertainment industries, serves to advance the musical culture and creative economy that is alive and well in Mississippi.”

Founded by Hartley Peavey in 1965 as a one-man shop, today, Peavey Electronics Corporation is one of the largest makers and suppliers of musical instruments, amplifiers and professional audio systems in the world — distributing more than 2,000 products to more than 130 countries. To find out more, visit

The DMI is an independent center under the College of Arts & Sciences at Delta State University. Its mission is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the entertainment industries. The DMI offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Entertainment Industry Studies. For more information, visit

Radio station owner Elijah Mondy (left), father of Delta State web designer April Mondy, spent countless hours working with FCC consultant engineer Ed Czelada (right), to establish 88.1 WDSW-LP, the university's new FM radio station.

Donors make radio station a reality at Delta State 

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Tune your FM radio dial to 88.1 WDSW-LP and you’ll hear a new sound coming from Delta State University.

Thanks to generous private donations of time, equipment and monies, the university has established a radio station, which is still in its developing stages. The low-power 250-watt station is designed to broadcast clearly on campus and around Cleveland, and is scheduled to be fully operational this fall.

Currently, the station is playing a temporary rotation of light country music that is being fed from a music database. The next step is to develop a plan for the station in terms of programming, goals, structure, budgeting, management and timeline.

President William N. LaForge said the university is thrilled to host the new station and is grateful for the private funding and support that brought the project to fruition.

“We were able to cobble together some in-kind and dollar contributions that made this possible,” said LaForge. “The Delta State University Foundation, along with friends and supporters, helped us get over the finish line. It’s all privately funded, and we hope to continue that going forward.”

Elijah Mondy, a radio station owner in Mississippi and Arkansas, contributed substantial time to make everything come together.

Mondy was motivated to sort through the groundwork thanks to his family’s ties to the university. His daughter, April, who received her undergraduate at Delta State in 2011 and master’s degree in 2013, is the university’s web designer. Mondy also has two sons enrolled at the institution. April and three of her siblings assisted their father with the setup.

“With my daughter working here and two sons attending, I have really taken a big liking to Delta State,” said Mondy. “It’s exciting that the school will now be able to directly communicate with the campus, community and alumni. This will be an asset for Delta State and be a great way to communicate locally and to the world.”

Mondy used his expertise and years of experience in the radio industry to provide initial assessing of the studio space and determine what equipment would be needed. He also brought in his radio colleague, Ed Czelada, an FCC consultant engineer, to help spearhead the technical setup of equipment, wiring and the radio tower. Czelada, who owns over 20 radio stations in Michigan, drove down to Mississippi and spent several days on campus.

Mondy added that he hopes the station will eventually be livestreamed through the Internet so that the world, literally, can learn about Delta State happenings.

Alumnus J. Boyd Ingram ’64 (right) and his wife Carol joined President William N. Laforge when Ingram announced he would donate and purchase equipment to help make the station a reality.

Alumnus J. Boyd Ingram ’64 (right) and his wife Carol, joined President William N. Laforge when Ingram announced he would donate and purchase equipment to help make the station a reality.

Other prime donors include alumnus J. Boyd Ingram ’64 and his wife Carol. Ingram recently sold the station he owned and operated in Batesville, Miss. The Ingrams donated and purchased equipment, which helped to make the station a reality. Ingram also helped with some of the initial equipment assembly.

“The Ingrams are very much to be credited for helping us get this show on the road,” said LaForge. “We also owe a great debt of gratitude to the Mondy family for assisting with the setup.”

Among others making contributions were radio station owner Larry Fuss, and alumnus Lee Baker ’89 and his wife Susie of Morse Communications.

While station programming has not been finalized, LaForge said it will provide a number of distinctive opportunities on campus. The Office of Communications and Marketing will be able to utilize the air space, as well as Delta State’s unique Delta Music Institute program.

Other areas that may be incorporated include news, weather, university calendar and information, athletics, live music and performance, and potentially music recitals occurring on campus.

A lot of this will be discussed and planned through a committee,” said LaForge. “In time, we will lay out an underwriting fundraising plan to support the station long term. The concept certainly supports things we’re doing at Delta State, like being the academic center of the blues.

“The station gives us a little pizzazz as a university and a community. Now we’ll have new opportunities to keep our constituencies apprised of events and activities. It will also give some of our students a chance to participate in the broadcast end of it. This will certainly be a nice addition to Delta State’s focus on music and culture.”

Follow all upcoming station updates at

Musician Steve Azar, James Ceranti Motors and the St. Cecilia Foundation recently teamed up to donate a vehicle to the Delta Music Institute. Pictured are: (left to right): Steve Azar, Tricia Walker, James Ceranti, Vickie Jackson, Katt Grant and Travis Calvin.

Supporters donate car to DMI Mobile Lab program

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James Ceranti Motors, country music star Steve Azar, and Azar’s St. Cecilia Foundation of Greenville, Miss. recently gifted the Delta Music Institute Entertainment Industry Studies program at Delta State University with a vehicle to support the DMI Mobile Lab and the DMI “Healing With A Groove” outreach programs.

“Ever since moving back home to the Delta and becoming an artist-in-residence at the Delta Music Institute, I have been fortunate enough and blessed to be a small part of a team that truly inspires not only students attending Delta State University, but also school children throughout our Delta,” said Azar.

The mission of the Steve Azar St. Cecilia Foundation is to raise funds for charitable organizations, particularly in the Delta region, that aid sick, disadvantaged and abused children. The foundation also supports the promotion and growth of art and music programs within educational and cultural institutions. Since it’s inception, the foundation has disbursed more than $400,000 to many organizations.

“The DMI has a teaching roadshow like no other, and I strongly believe that if you’re going to go out and continue to spread the arts and technology to our kids, then you have to have a vehicle to get you there, literally,” added Azar. “So when I called my dear friend James Ceranti and told him what was needed, he didn’t even blink — he just said let’s do this. So between my foundation and his dealerships, we were able and more than happy to help.”

Music industry veteran Tricia Walker, director of the DMI, said that the donated vehicle will allow for increased efficiency of the DMI external programs.

“We are very grateful to receive such generous support from James Ceranti Motors and Steve Azar and the St. Cecilia Foundation,” said Walker. “As business leaders in the Delta — not to mention leaders in community support — James Ceranti and Steve Azar stepped up with a donation that will be key in our ability to continue and expand our outreach into Delta communities on behalf of young students.”

The 2008 Nissan Altima will be a welcomed complement to the DMI Mobile Lab as it partners with schools and organizations throughout the Delta in introducing young students to songwriting, digital audio and music production.

The DMI is an independent center under the College of Arts & Sciences at Delta State University. The mission of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the entertainment industries. The DMI offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Entertainment Industry Studies. For more information, contact 662-846-4579 or visit

Mary Claire Rackley of Gulfport, Evan Lindsey of Minter City (left), and Landry Bullock (right) from Crystal Springs, rehearse for the upcoming DMI Summer Showcase on July 18 at 6 p.m. at the BPAC on the campus of Delta State University.

Delta Music Institute summer campers present showcase

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Students attending the ninth annual Delta Music Institute Summer Camp will present a showcase of original songs and commercial music on July 18 at 6 p.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus of Delta State University. The concert, free and open to the public, will include material from various commercial music genres, along with several original songs created by the camp’s songwriting students.

Eighteen students ages 15-18 from Mississippi, Alabama, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and California are participating in the 2015 DMI Summer Camp. The intensive six-day residential camp experience explores three music industry tracks, including audio engineering, band performance, and songwriting that are integrated together, culminating in a recording session at the DMI studios and a showcase performance at the BPAC.

Instructors for the camp are DMI faculty members along with entertainment industry professionals.

“It’s always amazing to see these talented young people put together such a great show in only a week’s time,” said DMI Director Tricia Walker. “It’s also fun to watch them form friendships with other like-minded campers from all over the state.”

Supporters of these talented young musicians are encouraged to attend and enjoy Saturday’s show.

The Delta Music Institute offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Entertainment Industry Studies at Delta State University. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, business and creative areas of the entertainment industry. For more information, call the DMI office at 662-846-4579 or visit