GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi will host Wes Sheffield and the Slowburners (left) and Kingfish June 29 at 7:30 p.m. Photos by Todd Wolfson and Rory Doyle.

GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi announces “Celebration of Pride & Joy: The Texas Blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan”

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GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi will host a concert June 29 at 7:30 p.m. to celebrate the opening of its second special exhibit, “Pride & Joy: The Texas Blues of Stevie Ray Vaughan.”

Taking place on the museum’s front lawn, the concert will be headlined by Wes Sheffield and the Slowburners, along with 17-year-old blues guitar phenom Christone “Kingfish” Ingram from Clarksdale.

Tickets to the show are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the performance. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling the museum box office at 662-441-0100, or in person at 800 W. Sunflower Rd. in Cleveland. Food and drinks will be available for purchase on the museum grounds.

“We are so excited about this celebration of our new exhibit,” said Emily Havens, executive director of the museum. “It will be a great evening of fun, food and terrific music by Wes and his band.” 

Curated by the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE, the exhibit opens June 30 and will offer visitors an in-depth look at the iconic career of legendary bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan. Jimmie Vaughan, Stevie’s brother, serves as a guest curator of the exhibit.

About Wes Sheffield
Wes Sheffield is quickly becoming an emerging artist to watch in Mississippi. Raised in a small town tucked away in North Mississippi, Sheffield quickly developed an affinity for the soulful sounds for which the South has always been revered. He recorded his first album with help from Adam Grace, a native of Tupelo, Mississippi, and member of the six-piece roots rock/Americana band Truth & Salvage Co. After a hard month of work at Creative Workshop Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, Sheffield completed his debut album “Fever.” Encouraged by the legendary Muscle Shoals Swamper, producer, engineer and session guitarist Jimmy Johnson, Sheffield began serious work on his latest record. The new project is being produced by Johnson and Glenn Rosenstein, and recorded in part at Blackbird Studios in Nashville.

About Christone “Kingfish” Ingram
Exposed to the rich gospel music emanating from his family’s church, combined with the blues he heard being played by musicians in his Delta neighborhood and at the Delta Blues Museum, Kingfish became a natural sponge of musical talent. Kingfish has shared the stage with Bob Margolin, Eric Gales, Rick Derringer, Guitar Shorty, Buddy Guy and many more. He has played festivals and venues all over the U. S., and has also performed in Washington, D.C. at the White House, right in front of First Lady Michelle Obama. This child prodigy’s soul is possessed with the feeling, passion and fire of the much older men who created the most important genre of American music — the blues.

For more information, visit grammymuseumms.org.

Dr. E.E. "Butch" Caston

University recognizes Caston’s career

By | College of Education and Human Sciences, Faculty/Staff, President, Students | No Comments

Delta State University is paying tribute to one of its most dedicated retiring employees — Dr. E.E. “Butch” Caston.

Caston, a graduate of Delta State in 1966, retires Friday after serving as interim vice president for Student Affairs since July of 2015. He has come out of retirement multiple times to serve interim roles for the institution.

“I’m looking forward to returning to retirement,” said Caston. “I have a good feeling about our accomplishments this year.”

Caston first made his professional mark at the university by serving as dean of the College of Education from 1989-2002.

“The one thing that I found coming to Delta State initially as a student, was that it’s a close and accepting environment,” said Caston. “Many years later, returning as an employee, I found that quality still existed, and it still does today.”

Caston said he leaves Delta State with nothing but pride for the university that has been a part of his life for decades.

“I’m a product of the university. I came here as a student. Delta State held me up until I could grow up. I’ll always be grateful for that,” he said.

He returned to the university in 2013 at the request of President William N. LaForge to serve as interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. His return in 2015 followed the retirement of Dr. Wayne Blansett, who served the university for 40 years.

“Butch Caston has evidenced outstanding service to Delta State by coming out of retirement twice, first in 2013 as provost, and in 2015 as vice president for Student Affairs,” said LaForge. “He was incredibly successful in both posts. The Delta State family, and I in particular, will be eternally grateful to him for his dedication and loyalty. He was on outstanding member of Delta State leadership for years. I deeply appreciate him for his commitment of time and effort to the university.

“I’ve joked with him already, but I wish him better luck in his next effort at retiring.”

President Emeritus Dr. Kent Wyatt, who worked with Caston when he was dean, echoed LaForge’s praise.

“Delta State University was fortunate to attract Dr. Butch Caston back to his alma mater when he accepted administrative roles in the College of Education,” said Wyatt. “Through his leadership and innovative ideas, he helped make Delta State University the outstanding regional university it is today. Dr. Caston’s love for Delta State has been continuous and an inspiration to all. After retirement, he stepped forward in top administrative roles when his all alma mater needed him. Personally, I want to thank Butch for his loyalty and never failing friendship.”

Dr. Michelle Roberts, vice president for University Relations and Chief of Staff, said she will greatly miss Caston’s presence on campus.

“I have had the opportunity to watch Dr. Caston excel in many different areas at Delta State, and in every role, he has shined,” said Roberts. “But, in my view, his role as vice president of Student Affairs has been his crowning moment. He was a natural when it came to working with students. It’s like his personal family grew to include the thousands of Delta State students as his children.”

“Dr. Caston did not play the typical interim role,” added Roberts. “He did not view this position as simply keeping a seat warm. He rolled up his sleeves, and was determined to leave Delta State a better place than he found it. His love and passion for Delta State, our students, and this community are admirable, and the service he has provided our university has been extraordinary. Dr. Caston exemplifies the spirit of the Delta State family, and he is indeed a true Statesmen.”

Mikel Sykes, a senior at Delta State, has worked closely with Dr. Caston, most recently during Sykes’s two terms as Student Government Association president.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Dr. Caston the past couple of years, especially seeing how much he cares about the student experience,” said Sykes. “He’s been a leader I’ve looked up to during my time in the SGA. We all wish him the best in retirement.”

Taking over for Caston is Dr. Vernell Bennett. Bennett arrives at Delta State after previously serving in the same role at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Kentucky. Her extensive experience at KSU enabled her to foster collaborations between Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, faculty, staff, students, the administration and community.

Follow all Delta State University news at www.deltastate.edu.

Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences.

Griffin continues role with MAPE

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Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences at Delta State, will continue her volunteer service as second vice president on the board of the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education.

MAPE has served as a non-profit network of educators and community partners since 1984 and is one of just a few statewide partnership organizations of its kind in the U.S. The organization is committed solely to providing training and materials to help build local support for the success of all students.

Griffin is returning to fulfill her term in the second vice president role. Newly elected MAPE officers began their terms on June 1.

Veteran board member Phil Hardwick of The Hardwick Company, LLC, was elected president. Board member Maggie Stevenson of Mississippi Public Broadcasting was elected first vice president, and Vickie Powell of Mississippi Economic Council was re-elected secretary. Patrice Guilfoyle of the Mississippi Department of Education returns as treasurer. Past president is Suzanne Bean, education and leadership consultant.

This year, MAPE welcomed new board members Kameron Ball of C Spire, Sumesh Arora of Innovate Mississippi and Sherwin Johnson of Jackson Public Schools.

Former directors re-elected to the board are: Debbie Anglin of Pascagoula-Gautier School District, Jane Beach of Parents for Public Schools, Sandi Beason of Clinton School District, Michael Bentley of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, Nadine Gilbert of Jackson State University, Susan King of Mississippi Department of Transportation and Rebecca Starling, retired partnership coordinator for Jackson Public Schools.

Board members returning to fulfill remaining terms are Everett Chinn of Greenville Public Schools, Beth Fisher of Trustmark and Linda Southward of the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University.

On Aug. 23, MAPE will present the 2016 Winter-Reed Partnership Award to Oleta Fitzgerald, Southern Regional director of the Children’s Defense Fund, during a tribute luncheon at the Clyde Muse Center in Pearl. Sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting MAPE at 601-573-0896 or visiting www.mapie.org. Individual tickets for the awards banquet are $75 and may be purchased online at www.mapie.org or from MAPE, P.O. Box 2803, Madison, MS 39130.

MAPE was designated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1994.

This summer's interns at GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi include: (left to right) Holly Ruth Pitts, Katie Ann Locke, Gregory Braggs, LindseyAnna Pardue and Mary Parker Janoush.

DMI students shine as GRAMMY Museum interns

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A number of Delta Music Institute students are making their mark at GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi this summer as museum interns.

The museum, which opened on Delta State’s campus in March, is providing unique opportunities for entertainment industry majors enrolled at the DMI.

“Because Delta State is a designated GRAMMY Affiliate University, the partnership between DSU and GRAMMY Museum Mississippi immediately places our students in a professional network of music and entertainment industry professionals,” said Tricia Walker, director of the DMI. “We hope that the knowledge students have gained in the classroom will be reinforced in a professional work setting. It’s important for them to begin to make that transition from student to professional, and their internship experience is critically important in that transition.”

DMI students Gregory Braggs and LindseyAnna Pardue are currently enjoying their internship responsibilities.

“This has been a great learning experience so far,” said Braggs. “It’s given me the opportunity to work with new equipment and troubleshoot issues. A lot of things I’ve learned at the DMI, I’m using here, and it’s great to work in this environment.”

Braggs, who works as an operations/production intern, edits publicity videos, operates visual equipment for different events and programs, and helps design publicity material. Pardue is serving as an administrative intern, where she assists the administrative coordinator with daily operations, and assists with office management projects and tasks.

Former DMI student Katie Ann Locke is also serving as an administrative intern. Other interns include University of Mississippi students Holly Ruth Pitts and Mary Parker Janoush.

Mary Parker is the daughter of Lucy Janoush ‘78, president of the Cleveland Music Foundation and a key figure in making the museum a reality in Cleveland. Lucy was named the 2015 Delta State University Alumnus of the Year.

And the ties to the DMI run deeper thanks to the museum’s administrative coordinator, Chace Holland, a DMI graduate in 2015.

“I like seeing the different opportunities the Grammy Museum has brought here, especially to the students,” said Holland. “It’s good to give back to Delta State and the DMI program so all the students can have similar opportunities I had as a student. The relationship is a great one, and it’s going to grow exponentially with everything that’s being offered here.”

Walker is thrilled to have DMI students at the museum.

“The internship opportunities at GRAMMY Museum Mississippi provide valuable ‘real world’ experience for our entertainment industry students in the areas of audio/video production, event management, and marketing/promotion,” said Walker. “It’s also important for them to develop their people skills in working with the public, whether that be visitors to the museum or clients using the facilities for specific events.”

To inquire about future internship opportunities at the museum, contact Robin Webb, visitor experience coordinator. Webb, also a DMI graduate, can be reached at rwebb@grammymuseumms.org.

For more information on the DMI, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/dmi-delta-music-institute-homepage/. To learn more about GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, visit http://www.grammymuseumms.org/.

MSAI collage compressed

MSAI underway at BPAC

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The second week of the Janice Wyatt Mississippi Summer Arts Institute Core Arts program is well underway at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

Forty-eight middle and high school campers from Mississippi and beyond are taking part in their choice of 20 visual and performing arts classes on the campus of Delta State.

For the last 19 summers, MSAI Arts Camp has provided diverse, unique and challenging arts classes. This year, students have the opportunity to explore topics such as sculpture, ballet, poetry, photography, theatre and more in the state-of-the-art facilities at the BPAC and Delta State.

Campers spent the weekend of the June 11 in Memphis as they played at Sky Zone and saw Theatre Memphis’ performance of “Oliver!” Students returned to Cleveland discussing the techniques of stage combat they are learning in class and witnessed in the show.

New York-based theatre teacher Christian Vernon is serving as a Core Arts faculty member for a third year. His students are taking part in improvisation, theatre combat and puzzle design for escape room classes. While Vernon is teaching his theatre classes in the BPAC Recital Hall, Bethany Philipp, a member of the Front Porch Dance Company out of Jackson, is busy engaging her students in dance improvisation, modern dance and ballet in the Delta and Pine Land Theater. As a member of the Mississippi Arts Commission teaching artist roster, Philipp is engaging students in new ways of using their bodies while thinking about movement.

Photographer Will Jacks is teaching a multimedia class in which students are creating their own documentary of camp life at Core Arts. Campers are lugging around recording equipment and conducting interviews with campers, faculty and staff.

Students are looking forward to showcasing their work at the Closing Reception on June 17 at 7 p.m. in the BPAC. The public is invited to join the visual and creative writing classes as they present their works at the reception, which is free and open to the public. The following morning, June 18, the performing arts classes will appear in the Final Performance at 10 a.m. in the BPAC’s Delta and Pine Land Theater.

“We are pleased with the high caliber faculty we are able to employ this summer and the incredible talent these young artists have shown at Core Arts,” said Joannah Taylor, Core Arts director and Arts Education coordinator at the BPAC. “This program attracts such talent and nurtures these artists in a safe and encouraging atmosphere. You won’t believe the things these young people have been able to accomplish in two weeks.”

The 2016 Core Arts program is made possible through support from the Mississippi Arts Commission, The American Legion, AT&T, Entergy, the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, the King’s Daughters and Sons Circle Number Two, the Crosstie Arts Council and Delta Dairy. For more information on the Janice Wyatt Mississippi Summer Arts Institute, call 662-846-4844, or visit www.bolognapac.com.