Blue Sky Studios producer featured in upcoming DMI All Access

By | College of Arts and Sciences, Community, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments

The Delta Music Institute entertainment industry studies program at Delta State University will host producer and Blue Sky Studios owner Casey Combest Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in Studio B for an interactive discussion and Q&A as part of the DMI All Access series.

DMI All Access is a series of open forums and lectures throughout the academic year featuring industry professionals from various areas of the music business. The event is hosted by Richard Tremmel and is open to the public at no charge.

As a producer and audio engineer, Combest has plenty of incentive for keeping the local recording industry thriving. In 2002, he began recording music in his dorm during his freshmen year at Mississippi College, which allowed him to explore his interest in recording gear and to demo music for his own band.

While Combest has produced music under the Blue Sky Studios moniker since 2009, he decided to focus on recording full-time in 2013, shortly after he and his wife moved to Jackson. Currently, he has a steady stream of studio projects, both in and outside of music, which he divides between himself and engineer Justin Patterson and editor Bobby Hansford, based on their different sensibilities.

Combest says there’s a surprising level of cooperation between recording studios in the Jackson area. He often rents studio time from Malaco Records, and has also had a hand in developing country/bluegrass trio Long Time Coming, made up of three brothers enrolled in the DMI entertainment industry program at Delta State.

“It’s easy when you first start to think recording is about the gear or even about the end product,” said Combest. “While that’s vastly important, what’s most important is the people and helping them tell their story, helping them achieve what they want to achieve.”

In addition to running his studio, Combest also created and hosts a podcast called ‘Made in Mississippi’ that focuses on entrepreneurs who are building, and have built, successful businesses within the state. Season 3, sponsored by C Spire, launches this month.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelors 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, contact 662-846-4579 or visit

2018 Statesmen Scholars recognized

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Delta State President William N. LaForge joined the new class of Statesmen Scholars at the culmination of Statesmen Scholarship Day on Jan. 29.

Delta State University’s Office of Admissions recently announced the distinguished class of 2018 Statesmen Scholars after hosting the second annual Statesmen Scholarship Day Jan. 29 on campus.

Students across the Mississippi and the region were selected to attend this prestigious event based on ACT scores, high school GPA, academic leadership and service demonstration.

Securing one of the four-year “full ride” scholarships is no easy task, as over 100 invitations were sent to prospective DSU students, and the competition was at a high level for a high reward.

Ten worthy students were selected for the Statesmen Scholarship, which covers tuition, room and board, fees, and up to $300 for books.

Participants faced two sets of interviews, one focusing on student life and one focusing on academics. Adding excitement to the event, recipients of the scholarships were announced at a reception at the end of the day.

Admissions recruiter, Rebekah Arant, said this was a unique opportunity for future Delta State Students.

“It’s not hard to recruit high achieving students when they have a chance at a full ride scholarship,” said Arant. “We are thrilled with this year class of scholars, and we’re very excited to welcome them to the Delta State family.”

This year’s scholars are:

For more information on scholarships or the application process at Delta State, visit, or contact 662-846-4020.


Fighting Okra Records selects MIC HARGROVE as feature artist

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

Fighting Okra Records, the student run record label within the Delta Music Institute at Delta State University, has selected its recording artist for 2018. FOR is excited to announce MIC HARGROVE as the label’s newest featured artist.

MIC HARGROVE, born Michael Hargrove, is a modern day hip-hop and soul music renaissance man hailing from Grenada, Mississippi. With years of experience under his belt, Hargrove is looking to expand his career through FOR.

Hargrove is a DMI student in pursuit of the goals he preaches in his music.

“It feels like a great opportunity to represent my family, town, state and school on a level that I’ve never seen before,” said Hargrove. “I’m most excited about the relationships that I will gain with my fellow students within FOR that will last long after we graduate.”

Hargrove has been influenced by the struggles of small-town Southern living but carries himself with the bravado of a seasoned performer. By incorporating his love for live band performances, he has seamlessly blended his admiration for modern hip-hop music with the sounds of authentic musicianship.

The label’s selection followed the public search for artists across Mississippi who submitted their work for a chance to perform in a final showcase. A panel of judges scored the performances of the top five applicants, and after much deliberation, Hargrove was chosen through the highly-competitive audition process.

Fighting Okra Records’ purpose is to provide a practical, real-world entertainment industry experience to DMI students. Its mission is to provide a variety of independent artists with professional quality music and entertainment industry services in an effort to expose their name in recordings to the broadest possible audience. For more information on Fighting Okra Records, visit, and follow FightingOkraRecords on Facebook and OkraRecords on Twitter.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and 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 about the DMI or Fighting Okra Records, contact 662-846-4579 or visit

Applications open for B. F. Smith Scholars Program

By | Academics, Graduate and Continuing Studies, Students | No Comments

The Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies at Delta State University is now accepting applications for the 2018-19 B.F. Smith Scholars Program.

The B.F. Smith Scholars Program provides funding for qualified entering graduate students. The highly competitive GA position, which awards $5,000 plus tuition per semester, is awarded to a limited number of students with a proven record of undergraduate achievement.

The successful applicant will demonstrate a commitment to the Mississippi Delta region in pursuit of a degree related to community and economic development.

”The B.F. Smith Scholars Program is truly an asset to Delta State University and to our graduate students,” said Jeanna Wilkes, coordinator of graduate studies and admissions at Delta State. “The changing landscapes of the Mississippi Delta economy are evident to our leaders, and the program was established to offer recipients direct research and development opportunities — and to engage in economic activities on our campus and in our community. Recipients are expected to serve a graduate internship while attaining their first post-baccalaureate degree, as the B.F. Smith Scholars Program supports the students with a $5,000 stipend plus tuition.”

The application priority deadline is May 1 at 5 p.m., and the final deadline to apply is June 1 at 5 p.m.

For more information, contact Wilkes at, or visit for application and eligibility requirements.

Hamlet coming to BPAC

By | Bologna Performing Arts Center, Community, Students | No Comments
The Bologna Performing Arts Center presents Aquila Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” on Feb. 6-7.


The Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State presents “Hamlet” by Aquila Theatre Feb.6 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets begin at $15 and are available at the BPAC Ticket Office, by phone at 662-846-4626, or online at

There will also be a special performance for schools on Feb. 7 at 10 a.m.

“Hamlet” is arguably Shakespeare’s greatest play. Written in 1602, it is one of the most complete portrayals of the human psyche that exists in Western literature.

A compelling tale of familial discord, personal ambition, love and revenge, Hamlet has enthralled audiences for 400 years. Mortality and madness are two of the most pronounced themes of Shakespeare’s epic and the characters — Hamlet, Ophelia, Gertrude and Claudius — inhabit a rich landscape replete with deceit, mistrust and schemes. Four centuries after its premiere, Hamlet continues as one of the classics of the world stage.

Aquila Theatre’s mission is to make classical works accessible to the greatest number. As a company dedicated to the classics, Aquila Theatre feels a responsibility to acknowledge and explore newfound classical works.

Aquila was founded in London in 1991 by Peter Meineck. In 1997, it became a U.S. non for profit organization and is currently based in New York.

The New York Times said   “Aquila Theatre is a classically trained, modernly hip troupe,” and that “the versatile cast of eight, with actors in multiple roles, consistently command attention and admiration.”

Directed by Desiree Sanchez, Aquila’s “Hamlet” will seek to shed new light on Hamlet’s tragic story. The production will use Sanchez’s innovative use of movement, design, sound and superb acting to vividly explore the depths of rage, madness, love and death brought about by a culture of obsessive personal ambition.