The Delta Center represents Delta State at National Endowment for the Arts convening

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Dr. Rolando Herts (left to right) with Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts, and Malcolm White, executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, at “The Future of Arts and Creativity” convening in Washington, D.C.

By special invitation, Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State, recently attended “In Pursuit of the Creative Life: The Future of Arts and Creativity in America.” The event was hosted by the National Endowment for the Arts and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

Over 200 artists, industry leaders, educators, scientists, and civic leaders from across the country attended the day-long convening at The Kennedy Center. Participants developed ideas and strategies to enhance America’s creative infrastructure for the future toward making the arts and creative opportunities more accessible to all Americans.

“This event provided opportunities for interdisciplinary idea exchanges in strategic issue areas like economics, technology, and cultivating creative talent,” said Herts. “Our discussions will enhance The Delta Center’s community-engaged programs like the International Delta Blues Project and the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area that connect arts, culture, the creative economy, and people in our region.”

The convening featured keynote speaker Questlove, GRAMMY Award-winning founding member of The Roots and musical director for “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” in a moderated discussion with National Public Radio media critic, Eric Deggans. Facilitated working group discussions were framed by expert panel sessions on how to help creative people and communities thrive now and in the future.

Support for the event was provided by the Ford Foundation, Heinz Endowments, The Henry Luce Foundation, McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and Walton Family Foundation.

Travel supplements for invited entities like The Delta Center were provided by South Arts. South Arts is a nine-state regional arts organization based in Atlanta that provides grants, programs and services to artists and arts organizations in the southern United States.

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place On Earth” workshops. For more information, visit http://deltacenterdsu.com/.

Discover your inner elf! ELF The Musical will play Cleveland, MS on Dec. 2

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NETworks Presentations, LLC, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures and Unique Features, bring the Broadway musical ELF to the Bologna Performing Arts Center (BPAC) in Cleveland, Miss. Tickets are on sale now for the performance on Friday, December 2 at 8:00pm at the BPAC Ticket Office, 662-846-4626 or online www.bolognapac.com. ELF is locally sponsored by Planters Bank and Trust.

ELF is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. This modern day Christmas classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner ELF.

Based on the beloved 2003 New Line Cinema hit, ELF features songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with a book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone). The production will feature direction by Sam Scalamoni and choreography by Connor Gallagher.

The New York Times says that ELF is “A SPLASHY, PEPPY, SUGAR-SPRINKLED HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT!” USA Today calls ELF “ENDEARINGLY GOOFY!” Variety proclaims, “ELF is happy enough for families, savvy enough for city kids and plenty smart for adults!”

Tickets are on sale now at the BPAC Ticket Office. Children must be at least 4 years of age to attend, and parent discretion is always recommended when bringing children to evening performances. Additional information about ELF is also available at www.ElfTheMusicalOnTour.com.

Delta Blaze Competition Cheer Program racks up wins

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The Delta Blaze Competition Cheer Program, sponsored by Delta State Continuing Education, began the 2016-17 season at the Critique Kickoff Competition in Jackson on Nov. 12. The 32 team members, coached by Cheryl Turner and assistants, competed against teams from across the southern states.

The Junior Level 1 and Junior Level 2 squads returned to Cleveland with first place team banners from their wining routines.

Under the individual routine category, Bella Morgan received 2nd place in Mini Level 1, Madison Jefcoat received 1st place in Senior Level 3, Lily Naron received 2nd place in Youth Level 3, Caitlyn Smith received 4th place in Youth Level 3, Carlie Rogers received 2nd place in Junior Level 2, Haley Bassie received 3rd 4th place in Junior Level 3, and Machia Franklin received 2nd place in Youth Level 2.

All Delta Blaze squads and individual routines earned bids for the Emerald Coast Nationals that will be held in Florida in April of 2017.

“This is a great start to the new season. Dedication and hard word do pay off, and this is only the beginning for these girls,” said Turner. “The judges expect teams to get better through the season. Now it’s time to practice even harder, make our stunts and tumbling harder, and work on technique in all elements of our routine.”

Delta Blaze members include: Junior Level 1 – Kamiyah Burchfield, Mia Delahoussaye, Sara Peyton Edwards, Virginia Harris, Sarah Hendon, Carter Kittle, Daylen Kittrell, Rivers Langston, Ryley Massey, Katelyn Massey, Ann Gerard Mohamed, Emma Oswalt. Junior Level 2 – Amber Kirsten Allen, Gracie Day Bishop, Mary Ella Chicorelli, Sara Peyton Edwards, Jordan Ferrell, Mary Michael Fioranelli, Ella Fioranelli, Machia Franlin, Virginia Harris, Sophie Hays, Sarah Hendon, Daylen Kittrell, Rivers Langston, Mary Cambre Lee, Kirstin Lucas, Carrie Maggio, Bylar Malloy, Ryley Massey, Katelyn Massey, Ann Gerard Mohamed, Peyton Murry, Emma Oswalt, Elizabeth James Sanders, Caitlyn Smith. Individual routine participants – Caitlyn Smith, Machia Franklin, Lily Naron, Madison Jefcoat, Bella Morgan, Carlie Rogers, Haley Bassie.

Delta Blaze, a competition program from Delta AllStars Cheer, is organized through Delta State Continuing Education. Multiple level cheer and tumbling technique classes are offered for ages four and up throughout the year. For those interested signing your child up for cheer and tumbling classes, contact Elizabeth Joel, coordinator, at 662-846-4700.