A portion of Delta State University President William N. LaForge's personal Beatles memorabilia collection is on display at GRAMMY® Museum Mississippi, including this 1966 ticket stub he saved after attending the band's final performance.

LaForge displays Beatles memorabilia at museum

By | GRAMMY, President | No Comments

Delta State University President William N. LaForge has made it no secret that he qualifies as a fan of the legendary band The Beatles.

“They’ve been a big influence in my life,” said LaForge. “In fact, ‘In My Life’ was a song played at my inauguration. The tribute band, 1964: The Tribute, was also at my inauguration. The Beatles had a big influence on those of us who grew up in the ‘60s. They have the best music on the planet, and there will never be another group like them.”

LaForge, who’s been known to play his guitar with Delta Music Institute students and faculty, credits The Beatles as his major musical influence.

“I remember being 14 in the summer of 1964 when they first came to the United States,” he said. “Everything on the radio was The Beatles. Since then, I’ve listened to them, and I love playing their music. They were a window into music for me. I’ve learned a lot of music, and a lot about music, through their songs.”

And his love for The Beatles was on full display this weekend — literally — as GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi opened its doors on Delta State’s campus March 5.

Just the second GRAMMY Museum in the world, the new facility honors Mississippi for being the birthplace of American music. Fittingly, The Beatles were a major part of the opening with an entire exhibit, “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!,” which celebrates the Fab Four landing in America and changing pop culture forever.

Stop by the museum, and one of the first things to catch your eye is a case full of LaForge’s unique items. LaForge, being the major Beatles fan that his is, has a large memorabilia collection.

“I offered a few things for the display to be supportive of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi’s opening and The Beatles exhibit,” he said. “One thing lead to another, and Emily Jones, our university archivist, helped assemble it. She found a showcase for everything and put it all together in great style.”

According to LaForge, the signature piece of the display is the ticket stub he saved after attending the band’s final paid live concert on Aug. 29, 1966 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. The only other saved ticket LaForge has seen from this show is at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Other items in the showcase include Beatles bobbleheads, records, vinyl 45s, DVDs, a complete library of sheet music, pictures, chord books and many other collectibles.

“Really, I’m just an amateur collector, nowhere near the level of the guys who put together ‘Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles! I’m happy to share the collection I have as long as the museum wants,” said LaForge.

Just days after the grand opening, LaForge said both the campus and community remain in awe of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.

“It’s incredible that we have a Grammy Museum here on this campus, and that we’re connected with it through our educational collaborations and partnerships,” he said. “The grand opening was a superb event and we look forward to endless opportunities.”

One such opportunity is the upcoming Beatles conference, “Beatles Symposium 2016: From the Cavern to Candlestick,” a two-day event being presented jointly by Delta State and the museum on April 1-2.

The symposium will celebrate the lasting influence and impact of The Beatles with a weekend full of activities, headlined by distinguished Beatles authors Ivor Davis and Jude Southerland Kessler.

Other activities will explore The Beatles’ musical and cultural impact, including discussions with noted Beatles historians, live music, recipe classes and film screenings, including a special screening of “Good Ol’ Freda,” which documents Freda Kelly, former head of The Beatles Fan Club.

“Beatlemania” is certainly in the air at Delta State University and GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.

Visit http://www.grammymuseumms.org/programs/upcoming-programs/beatles-symposium-event-schedule to follow schedule updates as the conference date approaches.


University to close at noon

By | Weather | No Comments

Bolivar County Emergency Management personnel are reporting 8 to 10 inches of rain have fallen in Bolivar County over the past several hours, and more rain is expected throughout the day. Bolivar County remains under a Flash Flood Warning, and many roads are flooded.

Due to this weather threat, and in the interest of safety, Delta State University will close at noon today (March 10). Essential service personnel should check with their supervisor to determine if they need to remain on campus. Any employees uncertain about reporting should check with their supervisor. 

The university plans to reopen at 8 a.m. tomorrow (March 11). Any changes to the schedule will be announced through the Delta State University web site (www.deltastate.edu), email and social media. 

If you have travel plans, please check weather conditions and road conditions and use judgment before traveling. Do not drive vehicles into areas where water covers the roadway. According to the National Weather Service, flood waters are usually deeper than they appear, and just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road.

Flood Warning and Flash Flood Warning for Bolivar County

By | Weather | No Comments

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning for Bolivar County that will remain in effect until 3:15 p.m. today.

Six to seven inches of rain have fallen over the last several hours. Many roads are flooded, and more rain is expected to develop throughout the day. 

Areas experiencing flooding include Greenville, Cleveland, Indianola, Leland, Ruleville, Hollandale, Moorhead, Shelby, Shaw, Drew, Parchment, Avon, Scott, Mound Bayou, Sunflower, Boyle and Benoit.

If you have travel plans, please check weather conditions and road conditions and use judgment before traveling. Do not drive vehicles into areas where water covers the roadway. According to the National Weather Service, flood waters are usually deeper than they appear, and just one foot of flowing water is powerful enough to sweep vehicles off the road.


Student exhibit and silent auction hosted by art department

By | Academics, College of Arts and Sciences | No Comments

Delta State University’s Department of Art invites the public to the opening of its annual juried Student Exhibition on March 17 from 5-7 p.m at the Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery. The exhibit allows the department to highlight work produced by students in the past year and provides the students a professional opportunity to prepare and submit work for a juried exhibition.

Students submitting work are also eligible to win monetary awards in a variety of categories. The awards are made possible through the generous support of art patrons from the Cleveland community.

This year’s juror is Ashley Chavis, a ceramic artist and curator, who teaches at Northwest Mississippi Community College. Chavis also runs the college’s art gallery and is the faculty advisor of the student art club, Les Fauves.

Chavis’s creative energies are devoted to producing functional pottery that has a unique sense of tactility and surface design. His work has been exhibited regionally and nationally and can be found at Southside Gallery in Oxford. He is a member of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, Southeastern College Art Conference, Southern Graphics Council International and Sycamore Arts Council.

Chavis commended the variety and quality of work submitted to this year’s show.

This year’s opening includes a silent auction of student and faculty work to benefit a Delta State art student who lost the use of her legs in a car accident.

“The student has been an inspiration for all in the art department,” said Dr. Michaela Merryday, associate professor of art. “She has never let her health issues limit her ambitions, nor cloud her optimism and sunny disposition. The student is in need of a new wheelchair and her colleagues and faculty are hoping to raise $1,000 through the sale of original works of art donated by them to help defray the costs of a new wheelchair.”

The silent auction will only take place on the opening night of the exhibit. Winning bids will be announced at the end of the day. Student awards will be presented at 6 p.m. The exhibition will remain on display from March 17 to April 22.

The Fielding Wright Art Center Gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The gallery is closed weekends, holidays and during semester breaks.

For more information on the Department of Art, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-arts-and-sciences/art/or contact 662-846-4720.