Students Gear Up for College at Delta State

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DSU Professor of Art Pat Brown looks on as Fred Aldridge, John Frieson, and Robert Brenson, all of Drew, make mojos during a recent Gear Up camp held on the campus of Delta State University.

This summer students from all over Mississippi stayed on the campus of Delta State University during a weeklong residential camps entitled “The Mississippi Delta Arts & Heritage Summer Experience.” 

The students, all who will be entering their senior year of high school in August, focused on college preparatory workshops, art and a heritage issue relating to the Mississippi Delta.  The first camp studied on the geography of the Delta, the second camp learned about the Blues, and the last camp looked at the Civil Rights Movement through the lens of the Delta.  The camps, which are in their fourth year at Delta State, were made possible by a generous grant from Gear Up Mississippi.  They were run by Delta State University’s Delta Center for Culture and Learning.

The college preparatory exercises included essay writing workshops, an ACT prep workshop, meetings with financial aid officers and admissions officers, and a career assessment with the Director of Career Services.  The students also had the opportunity to stay on campus and interact with current college students, better preparing them for their own college careers.

The art component was led by Pat Brown, a Delta State art professor with more than 15 years of teaching experience.  Students had several hours each day of the camp to work on art projects.  Art projects included basket making, the creation of African dance costumes using different textiles and dyes, journals, handmade paper, diddley bows (a type of one-string guitar) and mojos. 

The Geography session focused on both the physical and human aspects of Delta geography.  The students learned about the Mississippi River, rode the Tunica Queen River Boat, saw where the levee broke in 1927 and learned about the consequences of the resulting flood.  The students also learned about the many immigrant groups which have peopled the Delta and contribute to its unique heritage.

The Blues session gave the students many opportunities to learn about the Blues in its birthplace, the Delta.  They heard a performance by Bluesman Terry “Big T” Williams.  A dinner and harmonica workshop was held at Dockery Farms, an important site in the development of the Blues and home to, among others, Charley Patton, the father of the Delta Blues.  They toured the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale and the Highway 61 Blues Museum in Leland.  Don Mitchell and Dr. Shelley Collins, both professors at Delta State, talked to the students about how the Blues developed and how it influenced and was influenced by other genres of music.  Tricia Walker, a veteran of the music industry who has returned to Delta State to head the Delta Music Institute, gave a song writing workshop.  The students then had the opportunity to record their songs.

 The Civil Rights session included trips to Ruleville to visit the Fannie Lou Hamer Memorial Gravesite, to Memphis, where the students toured the National Civil Rights Museum, and to Mound Bayou, where the students were given a tour and told the history of the town.  Charles McLaurin, a Civil Rights activist, spoke to the students about his memories and experiences with the Civil Rights Movement, in particular his work with Fannie Lou Hamer.

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Delta State to host marker unveiling in honor of Capps, public invited

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Charlie Capps, Jr. poses in front of tree dedicated in his honor in 2003. This Friday, members of the American Legion, National Guard and VFW will unveil a marker for that tree on the campus of Delta State University. The ceremony is open to the public and will begin at 10 a.m.

Delta State University will play host to a special ceremony Friday, July 27 at 10 a.m. on the quadrangle of the campus, as members of the National Guard, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion honor long-time Mississippi legislator, Charlie Capps, Jr.

The group will unveil a marker for the tree dedicated to Representative Capps in July 2003.
Capps, whose legislative career spanned four decades, retired from the Legislature in 2005. He was elected in 1971 and served as chair of the House Appropriations Committee for 16 years (1988-2003). A former sheriff, Capps also chaired the House Constitution Committee.
Delta State President, Dr. John M. Hilpert, commented at “Charlie Capps Day” in 2005, “Delta State has had no greater friend in the House of Representativethan Charlie Capps. A true ‘Statesman,’ Mr. Capps always had the best interest of this University and the Mississippi Delta in mind.”
The ceremony is free and open to public. For more information, please call University Relations at (662) 846-4675.

Delta State to host Express Registration

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Delta State will host an "Express Registration," Thursday, July 26 inside Kent Wyatt Hall. Check-in will begin at 8 a.m. with the day concluding at 4 p.m. Advisors will be on-site to aid students in course selection. For more information, please contact Admissions & Recruiting at 846-4020.

Delta Music Institute summer camp showcase set for Saturday

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1st Row L to R: Mary Mac Drake, Sarah Ann Boddie, Neal Ann Parker 2nd Row L to R: Andrew Geraci, Clarke Carter, Madison Dixon, Cody Roth, Matthew McCain. 3rd Row L to R: Galen Reeves-Darby, Perry Hammett, Aaron Sassenrath-Cole, Jonathan Upp, Michael Mattox, Steve Stringer, Martin Powell, Steven Ross. 

Students attending the Delta Music Institute Summer Camp on the campus of Delta State University will be showcasing their musical talents in a concert at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on Saturday, July 21, at 7 p.m.

The concert, which will feature familiar hits from the ‘60s and ‘70s, along with original songs written by the campers, is free and open to the public.

Fifteen campers from around the state have spent the week learning the ins and outs of commercial music in three different areas of instruction. Students attending the camp have studied audio engineering, performance band, or a singer/songwriter track in an interactive setting with the culmination being the live concert along with a studio recording.

The DMI Summer Camp performance band is under the direction of studio drummer/producer Vince Barranco, assisted by DMI instructor Barry Bays. Nashville recording studio owner/engineer Vaughn Skow has overseen the recording project, assisted by DMI faculty member Mark Snyder, and DMI Director Tricia Walker has offered direction to the singer/songwriter students. Grammy award winning artist Linda Davis offered stage performance coaching to the aspiring musical artists.

This is the inaugural year of the DMI Summer Camp and it is the newest addition to the Janice Wyatt Mississippi Summer Arts Institute program.

The Delta Music Institute is a first step towards a broad program in Media Arts Production. It began with a generous donation by Fred Carl of the Viking Range Company in 2003. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, business, and creative areas of the music industry.

Grammy winner Linda Davis joins DMI Summer Camp faculty

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Grammy award winning artist Linda Davis will be joining the faculty of the upcoming Delta Music Institute (DMI) Summer Camp on the campus of Delta State University, Sunday, July 15 through Saturday, July 21.

A Grammy and CMA award winning vocalist for her hit duet with Reba McEntire, “Does He Love You?” Davis has seven studio CDs and 14 videos to her credit. In addition to maintaining a regular touring schedule, she has developed “Song/Performance 101,” offering performance coaching to aspiring young artists. She will be working with DMI summer campers to hone their stage skills.
DMI Summer Camp faculty will also include Vaughn Skow, who will be directing the audio engineering track of the camp. Skow has won Emmy awards for his work in audio for television for the “Live at the Bluebird Café” series on Turner Broadcasting. He owns and operates Sunset Trail Studios in Nashville, Tenn., and has worked with clients such as Tracy Lawrence, Marie Osmond and Tom T. Hall.
Also instructing within the audio track will be Dr. Mark Snyder. Snyder is a composer who has written over 100 musical pieces for various ensembles, film and multi-media projects, and has released his music on nine independent recordings.
Directing the camp’s instrumental performance band will be Mississippi native Vince Barranco. Barranco has been a professional studio drummer, musician, songwriter and singer for over 25 years, having spent career time in New York and Nashville. He recently served as Music Director for the Peavey Awards and the Southern Governor’s Conference.
DMI instructor Barry Bays will be working with camp band members offering instruction in bass and guitar as well as musicianship. Bays directs the DMI Ol’ Skool Revue ensemble which plays the hits from R&B, Soul, Funk and the Blues.
DMI Director Tricia Walker will be leading the singer/songwriter track of the DMI Summer Camp. Walker spent over 25 years in Nashville as a writer, performer, producer, and publisher before returning to Delta State last summer to head the DMI program.
The DMI Summer Camp will explore three exciting music career tracks to encourage talented young musicians to follow their passion. Workshops, lectures and hands-on instruction will help encourage musical creativity in a residential camp setting.
The week-long camp offers unique tracks specifically tailored for singer/songwriters, instrumentalists and audio engineers. Fifteen campers from across the state auditioned and were accepted into this year’s inaugural camp.
The camp will culminate with a free live performance on Saturday, July 21 at 7 p.min the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the campus. The public is invited to attend and show support for these young musicians. For more information, please contact the DMI office at (662) 846-5270.