Gallery to open new year with Thibodeaux’s photography

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Delta State University’s Fielding Wright Art Center opens the new year Jan. 18 with an exhibition of Brandon Thibodeaux’s “In That Land of Perfect Day.”

An opening reception will be held Jan. 18 from 5-7 p.m., and Thibodeaux will present a public lecture in the gallery prior to the reception at 4 p.m.

The exhibition is in conjunction with Thibodeaux’s recent book, also titled “In That Land of Perfect Day,” and is a visual document of Thibodeaux’s time living in the northern Mississippi Delta.

It chronicles the lives of the families he befriended in the Delta, marking important milestones such as the birth of a child, as well as capturing their daily routines as they worked, played, attended church and provided for their children.

Seen together, these photographs are a testament to the strength, faith and perseverance of his subjects.

“While this work makes specific reference to the rural African American experience, I am reminded that these themes of faith, identity and perseverance are common to us all. For these are the traits of strong men,” said Thibodeaux.

“In That Land of Perfect Day” has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and other mainstream publications. The Guardian praised the photographs as depicting “the contemporary experience of rural African Americans with grace and dignity.”

Thibodeaux’s career in photography began at a small daily newspaper in southeast Texas while studying photography at Lamar University. He holds a Bachelor of Science in photojournalism from the University of North Texas with a specialization in international development. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas, where he works for clients like Shell Oil International,,, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others. When he’s not doing that he is likely found running the back roads of the American South with a twin lens over his shoulder.

The exhibit will be on view at Delta State until Feb.22. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed on weekends, holidays and during semester breaks.

For more information, visit the Department of Art’s website at or contact 662-846-4720. For updates and announcements of upcoming events, follow Delta State Art Department on Facebook or join the email list.

Sound of Music to make Delta premiere at BPAC

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A brand new production of “The Sounds of Music,” produced by NETworks Presentations, is making its Mississippi Delta premiere Jan. 25 at the Bologna Performing Arts Center as part of a North American tour.

Tickets are on sale now at the BPAC Ticket Office, 662-846-4626 and online The event is locally sponsored by Guaranty Bank and Trust. For more information, visit

“The Sounds of Music” features music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, and book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, suggested by The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp.

The beloved musical story of Maria and the von Trapp family will once again thrill audiences with its Tony®, Grammy® and Academy Award®–winning Best Score, including “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss” and the title song.

The production enjoyed extraordinary success as a live television prrogram when “The Sound of Music Live!” aired on NBC in December, 2013 and was seen by over 44 million people. 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the film version, which continues to be the most successful movie musical in history.

“I waited for a moment when we could rediscover ‘The Sound of Music’ as it was originally create,” said Ted Chapin, president of Rodgers & Hammerstein. “Because of the enormous success of the film, few were aware that it started life as a hit Broadway show — and a very big hit at that. The artists behind this production embraced what the authors wrote, looked at it all through modern eyes and, in so doing, found depth and resonance that has been recognized by critics and audiences across the country. It’s like visiting an old friend but finding yourself surprised as well. It’s also a reminder of why this show is such an evergreen.”

The creative team for this new production includes direction by Matt Lenz, based on the national tour’s original direction by three-time Tony Award® winner Jack O’Brien (Hairspray, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Coast of Utopia). Original choreography by Danny Mefford (Dear Evan Hansen, Fun Home, The Bridges of Madison County, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) has been recreated by Jonathan Warren, with music supervision by Andy Einhorn (Hello, Dolly!, Bullets Over Broadway, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Light in the Piazza).

The design and production team is comprised of Tony Award® nominee Douglas W. Schmidt, set design (The Front Page, 42nd Street, Into the Woods); Tony Award® winner Jane Greenwood, costume design (The Little Foxes, 2014 Special Tony Award® for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre), six-time Tony Award® winner Natasha Katz, lighting design (Long Day’s Journey Into Night, An American in Paris, Once, Aida, The Coast of Utopia, The Glass Menagerie) and Shannon Slaton, sound design (Present Laughter, The Humans). Casting is by Stewart/Whitley.

For more information, including the 2017–2018 touring schedule, please visit:

Gladys Knight to perform at BPAC March 22

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The Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State University announces a special addition to the 2017-18 lineup — the “Empress of Soul,” Gladys Knight.

Knight, a winner of seven GRAMMY Awards, possesses one of the richest voices in pop music. She will perform live in concert March 22 at 7:30 p.m. on the BPAC’s main stage.

The concert is locally sponsored by the Bolivar Medical Center.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, Knight created a string of memorable hits, including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Neither One of US (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye),” “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me,” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Rolling Stone magazine listed her among the 100 greatest singers of all time, and she’s a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Knight has enjoyed No. 1 hits in pop, gospel, R&B and adult contemporary, and has triumphed in film, television and live performance. She loves to perform, beaming her trademark smile as she connects with audiences on an intimately emotional level.

Tickets to see Knight are on sale now at or by contacting the BPAC Ticket Office at 662-846-4626.

South Delta Chapter hosts record crowd at the Onward Store

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The Delta State University National Alumni Association recently traveled to The Onward Store outside of Rolling Fork, Mississippi for the annual South Delta Chapter Meeting. Alumni and friends from Sharkey, Issaquena, Yazoo, Humphries and Warren counties were in attendance.

The crowd was entertained by Delta Music Institute instructor Barry Bays and Delta State President William N. LaForge. The talented duo played five songs for more than 65 guests in attendance.

LaForge provide an update from campus, and Bays discussed the academic opportunities at the Delta Music Institute. Doug Pinkerton, head coach of women’s cross country, represented the Delta State Athletic Department.

Patrick Hundley, interim executive director of Alumni & Foundation; Keith Fulcher, special assistant to the president for Donor Relations; and Jeffrey Farris, director of Alumni Affairs, represented the Delta State Alumni & Foundation Office.

The chapter celebrated by giving out three $500 scholarships to deserving students from the south Delta area. The 2017 recipients are Walker Holcomb, Heather Craddock and Walter Warren. These student will be enrolling at Delta State in the fall of 2018.

The chapter also recognized Wade Tackett ’05 as the South Delta Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. Tackett is the head football coach at Simmons High School in Hollandale, Mississippi. His team won the 1A state championship with a perfect 15-0 record.

Click the below link to see photos from the affair:

Save the dates for upcoming alumni events in 2018: Brookhaven (Feb. 8), Delta Models Reunion (April 27), Go Green Weekend (April 28), Pig Pickin’ (TBA), Homecoming (Nov. 10).

For more information on the DSU National Alumni Association, call 662-846-4660 or email To stay up to date with DSUNAA activities, follow these social media sites: Facebook (Statesmen Graduates), Twitter (@DSU_Alumni), LinkedIn (DSU alumni), Instagram (dsualumni) and You Tube (dsualumni1).

DMI to offer “Meet the Beatles!” class in spring 2018

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The Delta Music Institute will be offering a “Meet the Beatles!” course in the Spring 2018 semester at Delta State University.

The class will be an overview of the Beatles, both individually and collectively, as well a study of their music and influence on the society of the 1960s. The course will be taught by Charles Abraham, instructor of entertainment industry studies, with guest lectures by additional Delta State faculty and staff, including President William N. LaForge.

“Meet the Beatles!” is open to all students, regardless of major. The syllabus has been reviewed and approved by John Lennon’s half-sister, Julia Baird, and by personnel at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England.

Both Abraham and LaForge saw the Beatles perform in concert in 1966 — Abraham in Memphis for the famous “Cherry Bomb” show and LaForge 10 days later in San Francisco, at the final Beatles concert.

The course number is DMI 492-01 (CRN 19154), and counts for three academic credit hours. The class will meet at 11 a.m. on MWF in the Whitfield Building, room 204. There are a few seats still available. The course may be counted as a general elective for most degree programs on campus.

“I have had a great time preparing this class,” said Abraham. “It seems like all my music friends want to teach it, so come ready to talk about the Beatles while enjoying and discussing some great music. This class is a tribute to the band that started it all.”

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