DMI fundraiser features award-winning singer-songwriters

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Award-winning singer-songwriters Ashley Cleveland, Pam Tillis, Karen Staley and Tricia Walker will be joining forces in Cleveland for a unique evening of songs and stories to benefit the Delta Music Institute entertainment industry program at Delta State University.

The Original Women in the Round will be performing two shows “Bluebird Café style” on Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the Delta Meat Market in downtown Cleveland.

This talented foursome was the first female “in the round” group at the Bluebird Café, one of the world’s preeminent listening rooms, located in Nashville, Tennessee. Their first show together was in 1988, and they have continued to perform together for selected dates over the years. This “in the round” performance will consist of the songwriters seated in the center of the room, taking turns playing their songs and accompanying each other instrumentally and with harmony vocals.

Ashley Cleveland is a three-time GRAMMY® and two-time Dove Award winner who has released eight critically acclaimed albums. “God Don’t Never Change” features songs rooted firmly in a host of traditions — black spirituals, folks songs, 18th century hymns, gospel blues, and jubilee. The disc was nominated for a 2010 GRAMMY® Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album. Cleveland resides in Nashville with her husband, Kenny Greenberg, and their three children, Rebecca, Henry and Lily.

As the child of Country Music Royalty, Pam Tillis was determined from a young age to find her own way in music as a singer and songwriter. Her album “Put Yourself In My Place” yielded two No. 1 and two Top 5 singles in its first year when the album was certified gold. Tillis followed with three platinum albums on Arista Records. Tillis achieved six No. 1 songs during this time, including “Shake the Sugar Tree,” “Mi Vida Loca,” “When You Walk In The Room,” “In Between Dances,” “Don’t Tell Me What To Do,” and “Maybe It Was Memphis.” Tillis is a two-time GRAMMY award winner, six-time GRAMMY nominee, and a three-time CMA award winner, including Female Vocalist Of The Year in 1994. She is also a proud member of The Grand Ole Opry.

Karen Staley was born in Weirton, West Virginia and was raised in nearby rural Hookstown, Pennsylvania in the Tri-State area of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. She is a 30-year veteran of the Nashville music industry and has been involved in every facet of the business, from songwriting and performing to touring, recording and producing. Staley’s songs have been nominated for GRAMMY, Dove and International Bluegrass Awards, and her song “Keeper Of The Stars” won the ACM Song of The Year award and was featured on CMT’s “100 Greatest Country Love Songs of All Time” TV special.

Tricia Walker is a singer and songwriter whose songs are steeped in the passion, pain and grace of the American South. Born and raised in Mississippi, Walker has become one of the clearest voices of her own time and place. Her music has been recorded by Faith Hill, Patty Loveless and Alison Krauss, whose performance of Tricia’s “Looking in the Eyes of Love” earned a GRAMMY award. A recording artist herself, Walker’s CD, “The Heart of Dixie,” thoughtfully captures the songwriter’s view of the South with well-placed lyrics and music reflecting her folk, R&B and storytelling influences.

Eighty-five tickets will be available for purchase for each of the two shows. Tickets are $100 (including DMM buffet-style dinner)  and may be purchased by calling the DMI office at 662-846-4579 between the hours of 8 a.m. to noon Monday-Thursday.

The DMI 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, visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

EAC Report Cards posted online

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The Education Achievement Council Report Cards for Mississippi universities have been posted online at the following link: http://www.mississippi.edu/eac/. The report cards show the progress that has been made toward educational goals for each university and community college.

The Delta State EAC report card is posted here: http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/institutional-research-and-planning/resources/

The Report Cards include information on student enrollment, degrees awarded, college readiness, student progress, research and other university variables. The report cards include university-specific information, along with system-level data. Archived reports from previous years are also available online.

The Education Achievement Council was established by the Mississippi Legislature in 2010 to sustain attention to the state’s goal of increasing the educational attainment and skill levels of the state’s working-age population benchmark to the national average by 2025. The Council members are representatives of state government, public K-12 leaders, public, private and proprietary higher education officials and business community leaders.

Fighting Okra Records seeks next artist

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Fighting Okra Records, the student-run record label within the Delta Music Institute’s entertainment industry program at Delta State University, has launched its search for the next FOR recording artist.

Performing artists interested in pursuing this unique opportunity can visit fightingokrarecords.com, fill out the application form in its entirety, and submit online for a chance to be selected. The submission period will remain opent until  Nov. 10 at 11:59 p.m.

FOR is accepting submissions from both solo artists and bands of any musical genre. This year, the search has expanded beyond Delta State’s campus to include solo acts or groups in the surrounding area. All applicants must be 18 years of age or older and provide basic information regarding their musical endeavors.

FOR’s main purpose is to select a talented musician or band and provide them with professional industry utilities paired with significant industry insight to expand and strengthen the career of whomever the label selects.

“The artist or band selected for the Fighting Okra Records label will have a unique opportunity to have multiple university resources available to them for their career development through the students in the practicum course,” said Tricia Walker, DMI director. “The FOR members will facilitate photography, professional audio, publicity and promotion services on behalf of the artist in order to provide the artist with tools for building a strong foundation going forward.”

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 http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

Brooks provides lecture at UN conference in China

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Talbot Brooks (second from right), director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies at Delta State University, speaks on a panel at a United Nations conference in Beijing, China on Oct. 25.

Talbot Brooks, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies at Delta State University, provided an invited plenary lecture at the 7th annual United Nations International Conference on Space-based Technologies for Disaster Risk Reduction in Beijing, China on Oct. 25.

His presentation was titled “Application of Standards for Crisis Response and Risk Reduction” and was delivered to an audience of approximately 150 delegates from 44 nations. Brooks also hosted a plenary session about the latest space-based technologies for disaster risk reduction and participated as a member of the closing panel.

Brooks will be a contributing author for an upcoming United Nations policy paper about the use of space-based technologies, such as satellite imagery and GPS, for disaster risk reduction. He was also asked to present at the UNISPACE +50, a meeting celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first UN conference about the peaceful use of space. This meeting will take place in Vienna, Austria this coming summer (http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/unispaceplus50/index.html).

Brooks has served as a technical advisor for the United Nations since 2008 and participated in technical advisory missions to Vietnam, Mozambique, Laos, Nepal, and the Republic of Georgia.

“Our work with the United Nations is important to DSU from several perspectives,” said Brooks. “First and foremost, dignitaries from the countries I work with have visited campus and interacted with our students. For example, visitors like Jaime Neto, a minister of parliament from Mozambique, toured our lab and participated in a panel discussion about Africa and GIS.

“Working with the UN has also helped us develop new funding opportunities that are now starting to mature and translate into grants. We were invited to bid on a contract with the Singapore Land Authority earlier this year, and through a senior-level contact made at this last meeting in China, we will submit a proposal to the UN World Food Program to develop a flood severity rating using GIS. Lastly, we are consistently the only U.S.-based university invited to participate in meetings and technical advisory missions focusing on the application of geospatial technologies to crisis and emergency response. It’s something we can be truly proud of and part of what President LaForge means when he talks about creating ‘signature programs.'”

Students from Delta State’s  GIT Center students will also join Brooks this coming year for return visits to Vietnam and Mozambique, as well as a new mission to Sri Lanka.

Learn more about opportunities at Delta State’s Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies at http://www.deltastate.edu/artsandsciences/geospatial-information-technologies.

The mission of the center is to provide geospatial services, accessible education and training, and institutional knowledge for geospatial information technologies to the widest possible audience, and particularly, the mid-Delta region.

Delta State COEHS to screen student documentary

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The Delta State University College of Education and Human Sciences announced it will screen “I Sopravvissuti,” a documentary directed by Delta State junior psychology major Matteo Zengaro, on Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. in the Jacob Conference Center.

Zengaro was named a grant recipient of the 2017 Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum on May 1 for his film depicting the Italian tradition in the Mississippi Delta.

“We are pleased to showcase this creative work of Matteo Zengaro, a psychology major in the Division of Counselor Education and Psychology,” said Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the COEHS. “His interest in research dovetailed with the study of the experiences of early Italian immigrants to the Mississippi Delta. My interest is certainly piqued, and I invite others to join with the College of Education and Human Sciences in viewing this screening.”

Italian Americans have a long-rooted tradition in the Mississippi Delta, and Zengaro’s film brings those stories to life. Narrated by Delta State associate professor of English and chair of the Division of Languages and Literature Don Allan Mitchell, Zengaro’s film delves into the hardships early Italian Americans faced and how they overcame obstacles to give future generations a better life.

“I Sopravvissuti” (The Survivors) is the story of the sons and daughters of Italians who immigrated to the Delta and how present day Italian Americans keep their ancestors’ culture flowing within their community. The film highlights a culture that has been ingrained within the Delta community, but largely ignored in overall Italian American history.

“I want to thank the College of Education and Human Sciences for showing my film,” Zengaro said. “‘I Sopravvissuti’ is a unique film that shares the Italian American experience in the Delta. I also want to thank everyone who helped me along the way to make this film a reality.”

Admission to the screening is free and open to the public.