Walker tabbed new DMI director

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Tricia Walker will direct the Delta Music Institute at Delta State, beginning July 1.

Her hope is to become a successful cross-over artist. It is not musical genres Tricia Walker is looking to cross, though. Rather the Fayette, Miss., native is aiming to parlay over 24 years of industry experience into the educational corridors of Delta State University’s Delta Music Institute (DMI).

Recently selected the program’s new leader, Walker will officially take the reigns July 1, replacing former executive director Norbert Putnam.

Of Walker’s hiring, Dr.
John Thornell, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost at Delta State University, offered, “I am pleased that Tricia Walker has accepted the directorship of the Delta Music Institute. Her background in the music industry in Nashville and her management of her own music production company will serve her well in this important position.

“I am confident she will not only move the academic program forward with our students, but also create partnerships with music constituencies throughout the Delta,” he continued. “She provides the enthusiasm needed to ignite this program and bring it to its full potential. We look forward to her joining the DSU community.”

A graduate of Delta State University, Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in music education en-route to completing her graduate work in theory and composition at Mississippi College. While in Clinton, she performed at various festivals and bookings. She won American Song Festival and Mississippi Song Festival awards and moved to Nashville to sign with giant gospel music publisher Word, Inc. As her songs were recorded on Grammy-nominated discs by Kathy Troccoli, Debby Boone and The Imperials, her reputation as a songwriter spread.

Following a two year stint with PolyGram Publishing International, Inc. as a staff writer, Walker advanced to creative director/staff writer for Crossfield Music, a post she held for a decade. In 2000, she launched her own production company, Big Front Porch.

Big Front Porch Productions is driven by a mission “
to present musical works and opportunities for learning that both entertain and enrich audiences while challenging them to examine their own lives and “tell their own story.” We purpose for our work to have integrity by creating our products with honesty, thoughtfulness, and courage, presenting the truth with love.

Walker’s production company focuses on: 1. live performances, house concerts and festivals; 2. audio recordings; 3. songwriting workshops/residencies designed for beginners through advanced; and 4. audio production.

Additionally, she has worked as a backing musician for Grand Ole Opry star Connie Smith, Paul Overstreet, Russ Taff and country mega-star Shania Twain. Walker was instrumental in forming the original “Women in The Round,” a songwriter group which includes Pam Tillis, Ashley Cleveland and Karen Staley. The foursome ranks as one of the most celebrated foursomes ever at Nashville‘s prestigious Bluebird Café

She has performed at the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Tin Pan South Songwriting Festival in Nashville, was a New Folk Winner at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas and featured at Austin’s South by Southwest Music Festival.

Throughout it all, though, Walker’s focus remained and still remains on her own music – music which has been recorded by Faith Hill, Patty Loveless and Alison Krauss. Krauss’ performance of Walker’s whose “Looking in the Eyes of Love” earned a Grammy.

Recent musical highlights included singing at Robert Redford’s Christmas Cantata at Sundance Resort in Utah as well as a live performance during a newly choreographed work for the Nashville Ballet entitled “All the Way Home,” co-written by Tricia and Kate Campbell.

Delta State’s DMI allows students to study music engineering, music production and video editing, as well as contemporary composition and study musician theory and practice. It is a first step towards a broad program in arts production. First conceptualized, founded and funded by Fred Carl of Viking Range, DMI debuted on the Delta State campus in 2003. 

For more information on the Delta Music Institute, please call (662) 846-4579 or visit


Moon awarded prestigious fellowship

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Dr. Beverly Moon, associate professor of English and Coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies degree program, has been awarded a Sasakawa Fellowship through the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

The fellowship will support Moon’s participation in the National Faculty Development Institute on “Incorporating Japanese Studies into the Undergraduate Curriculum” at San Diego State University June 1 to June 23, 2006.

The award covers institute tuition, housing, some transportation costs and a daily stipend for meals and other expenses.

Designed for faculty without prior experience in Japanese studies who wish to incorporate information about Japan into the undergraduate courses they teach, the institute intends to introduce “participants to a comprehensive range of teaching and learning resources related to the study of modern Japan.”

It involves four weeks of intensive seminars, lectures, readings and cultural activities focused on Japanese culture, literature, history, government, business and education.  The staff includes internationally recognized Japan scholars from across the United States and abroad.

 Made possible by a generous endowment from the Nippon Foundation, Moon contends she applied for the Sasakawa Fellowship because her interest in interdisciplinary studies, cross-cultural experiences and study-abroad programs. Further, she felt it imperative to provide such opportunities to Delta State students. 

“I hope that the classes I teach will benefit from my increased awareness of Japanese culture, history, language and business – an awareness that corresponds to what I stress is essential for my students in our world: global interests, international perspectives and multidisciplinary focuses,” she maintained.   

In addition to taking the Japan Studies experience directly to her classroom, she is also planning to bring programs and exhibits that highlight the cultural experience of Japan to the campus.

Set to begin her eighth
year of service at Delta State University this fall, Moon is a member of the American Association of University Professors and the American Association of University Women.


Delta State’s Roberts completes premier leadership training

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Dr. Michelle Roberts

Dr. Michelle Roberts, Executive Assistant to the President at Delta State University, recently completed The Millennium Leadership Initiative (MLI) in Washington, D.C.

Sponsored through American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), MLI is a premier leadership development program focused on “preparing the next generation of presidents and chancellors.”

Designed for senior-level administrators interested in advancing their careers, particularly to the presidency, MLI’s institute consisted of four days of intensive sessions, exposing MLI protégés to the vital topics necessary to understand the responsibilities of the presidency.

Roberts was one of 37 people from across the
United States accepted into the MLI program.  Participants were accepted to the program after an application process that first included a nomination from member presidents and chancellors, after which the presidential subcommittee chose candidates from education, government and private sector.

“MLI’s institute was one of the most rewarding professional development experiences in my career. The program provided me with an opportunity to examine the nuances of the college presidency and to explore the various aspects and skills needed to lead a successful university,” Roberts said.   

Participants explored various topics, including the complexities of working with governing boards; the importance of advancing the institution, including fundraising; the role of the president in institutional budget management; how to communicate the institutional message and present themselves effectively through media training; how to advocate for their institution during a visit to representatives on Capitol Hill; and, how to navigate the executive search process.

Following the four-day training session, participants become involved in a year-long mentoring component, which formally links institute graduates with presidents and chancellors who provide counsel throughout the search process into the early days of the first presidency. This aspect signals the MLI commitment to ensuring graduates’ ongoing success as chief executive officers.

In its seven years, MLI proudly touts 214 graduates, 27 of which have become presidents and chancellors – many at AASCU member institutions.

AASCU represents more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems of higher education throughout the
United States and its territories, including Delta State University.  AASCU schools enroll more than three million students or 55 percent of the enrollment at all public four-year institutions.



BPAC tops in the state

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Recently heralded as the Best Performing Arts Venue in Mississippi by the readers of Mississippi Magazine, Bologna Performing Arts Center Executive Director David Dallas is hoping that’s just the momentum the center needs as it prepares to, both, announce its 2006-2007 season and launch its annual membership drive.


“We know that there aren’t many facilities in the nation that compare to what we have here, but it’s wonderful to know that there are others out there who feel the same,” Dallas proclaimed. “This is a huge honor because it was voted on by readers all over the state, not just the Delta readers.


“Being recognized is a high honor. But more than that, I think it speaks to our continued commitment to bring our patrons and supporters the best in both stage productions and arts education programs,” he continued.


But, like many of the most successful performing arts centers across the country, ticket sales and other earned income cannot cover the cost underwriting the season’s programming alone. Annual memberships are vital to the success of any arts venue, including the BPAC.


“We would urge one and all to become an annual member for the 2006-2007 season,” Dallas advocated. “Yearly contributions are critical to fulfilling our cultural mission. Private contributions will ensure the future success of the Bologna Performing Arts Center.”


For loyal patron and perennial annual member Wilma Gilbow, the decision is simple, offering, “The Bologna Performing Arts Center has been repeatedly recognized as one of the premiere venues for the performing arts in the Southeastern United States, and we are very fortunate to have the BPAC at home in the Mississippi Delta.


“By supporting the annual membership program, I consider it an investment, not only in this outstanding facility and its phenomenal main stage series, but particularly in the superlative arts education programming the BPAC offers to the children of the Delta. The return on this investment is incalculable,” she finished.


And, Dallas feels confident your “investment” would be well worth it, as the BPAC is expected to deliver another stellar season of programming.


“While we’re still ironing out some of the final details, what I can share with you is this – you won’t be disappointed,” Dallas lauded. “We have high standards with our programming, and this year is no different.”


The Bologna Performing Arts Center will first welcome CeCe Winans, Sunday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. as the inaugural performance of the 2006-2007 season.  A pure musical delight, Winans has received nine Grammy Awards, 21 Grammy Nominations, 18 Dove Awards and numerous Stellar Awards, as well as being named Female Vocalist of the Year twice in her 20-plus year career as one of the gospel greats. Her heavenly voice will amaze your ears and relax your soul.


Also slated for this year’s season – KODO, Thursday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. “We are very, very excited to be able to bring KODO to our mainstage. Just as the Sowetto Gospel Choir had audiences riveted last season, I am sure KODO will be just as exciting, energetic and truly,  a performance you will not want to miss,” Dallas boasted.


Based in Sado Island, Japan, KODO is one of the elite taiko drumming groups today. Showcasing traditional dance and vocal arrangements based on the traditional rhythms of regional Japan, their energetic renditions will have you leaving the theater in awe and amazement.


The complete BPAC season schedule is set to be announced in late August. For more information on the season schedule or to become an annual member, please call (662) 846-4625 or visit





Bologna Performing Arts Center Announces 2010-2011 Season Simply Spectacular

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The Bologna Performing Arts Center  will present an exciting season of performances in 2010-11. Shows on the main stage will include: Amy Grant, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, Cirque Shanghai Bai Xi, Tallahatchie Hayride, Spirit of Christmas, Harlem Gospel Choir, Second City, Neil Bergs 100 Years of Broadway, and The Memphis Operas production of The Barber of Seville.


Amy Grant

Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.

The Bologna Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce that Amy Grant will open our season. The concert will benefit the Delta Music Institute. Amy Grant has won six Grammys, numerous dove awards, a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, and numerous other accolades. She is an American icon who has earned the respect of fans and peers with her honesty, vulnerability, and ceaseless creativity. Her artistry and integrity has placed her at the forefront of the American music industry.


Mississippi Symphony Orchestra

Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 4 p.m.

The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra is the largest professional performing arts organization in the state. They perform for more than 75,000 Mississippi residents each year at more than 120 concerts statewide. The orchestra is led by Conductor Crafton Beck and features Jennifer Frautschi on Violin.


Cirque Shanghai Bai Xi

Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.

Cirque Shanghai Bai Xi is a visually spectacular production combining astounding Chinese acrobatics, fast-paced action, and contemporary staging. They bring seemingly limitless skills to twenty-first century audiences via aerial acrobatics, plate spinning, contortion, martial arts, and more. Cirque Shanghai Bai Xi is also accompanied by state of the art computerized lighting and a fusion of exotic oriental and modern orchestration.


Tallahatchie Hayride

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 7 p.m.

Bologna Performing Arts is proud to present Tallahatchie Hayride with special guest Charlie Louvin. The world famous Tallahatchie Hayride is an country music stage show that is reminiscent of the Grand Ole Opry and the Louisiana hayride. The special guest of the evening will be Charlie Louvin who has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1955 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002.


Spirit of Christmas

Monday, December 13, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.

Broadways Spirit of Christmas tap dances and sparkles its way right through Christmas. This dynamic Christmas extravaganza stars broadways very own Santa Claus, joined by Elves, Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman accompanied by a dazzling cast of singers and dancers.


Harlem Gospel Choir

Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 2 p.m.

The Harlem Gospel Choir has shared it message of love and inspiration with people around the world. Their rich harmonies and sound are unfettered, joyous and inspirational. Their songs of hope and inspiration will touch the depths of your soul and lift your spirit to angelic heights.


Second Citys Fair & Unbalanced

Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

The Second Citys Fair & Unbalanced takes unbridled comic pleasures in the faults of our politicians, celebrities, and even our significant others. No institution escapes the satiric eye of The Second City, from the blowhards of the Beltway to the Hollywood elite. Second Citys Fair & Unbalanced is a hilarious ride through present day America.


Neil Bergs 100 Years of Broadway

Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 3 p.m.

100 Years of Broadway recreates the greatest moments from the finest shows of the century featuring the actual stars of shows such as The Phantom of the Opera, Les  Miserables, CATS, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Jekyll & Hyde. Neil Berg presents brilliantly revived arrangements of Broadway classics as well as thrilling numbers from Broadways newest hit shows. These performers light up the stage promising to captivate the audience for the evening.


The Barber of Seville

Produced by the Memphis Opera

Tuesday, April 12, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.

Gioachino Rossiniss The Barber of Seville proves to be the finest comic opera in existence. The lovely Rosina and handsome Count Almaviva have marriage on their mind, but sadly, Rosina is promised to the elderly scheming Dr. Bartolo. From start to finish it is marvelously crafted, brilliantly inventive, and uproariously funny.


The Bologna Performing Arts Center


The Bologna Performing Arts Center, a multi-disciplinary facility, opened its doors September 1, 1995. The Center houses the 1178 seat Delta & Pine Land Theater and the 135 seat Recital Hall. The Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State University has earned recognition as one of the premier houses for entertainment and arts in Mississippi and the Southeast. Just recently, the BPAC earned top honors as The Best Performing Arts Venue in Mississippi, as voted on by the readers of Mississippi Magazine. The state-of-the-art facility was built in 1994 through state funding from the Mississippi legislature, offering a rich tapestry of cultural and educational programs to serve the entire Mississippi Delta. The center attracts quality programming, superb artists and powerful performances to enrich, entertain and strengthen our Delta community.


Tickets may be purchased by calling the box office (662-846-4626) or by visiting the Bologna Performing Arts Center online at