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Delta State and Eastern Michigan choirs collaborate for joint concert

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

On Friday (Feb. 24), the Delta State University’s Delta Chorale, directed by Dr. Adam Potter, will host a joint concert with Eastern Michigan University’s premier choral ensemble, the EMU Concert Choir, directed by Dr. Brandon Johnson.

The EMU group, from Ypsilanti, Michigan, has been touring the South for the past week. Their performance in Cleveland will take place in the sanctuary of Covenant Presbyterian Church at 7:30 p.m.

For Potter, the collaboration has special meaning.

“This concert brings together so many people I know and love,” said Potter. “Obviously, it is a unique opportunity for my students to get to perform with a collegiate choir from over 800 miles away. It is also an honor to partner on this project with my church family, the kind folks at Covenant Church. The director of the EMU Concert Choir, Brandon Johnson, was my undergraduate and master’s degree conductor and teacher. A 2016 Delta State music alumna, Monica Ely, is a soprano in the EMU choir. Amazingly, a former student of mine from when I was a high school music teacher in New York is also an EMU singer, now a graduate student in vocal performance. My worlds intersect here in Cleveland.”

Prior to the concert, the choirs will share a joint rehearsal and clinic with Johnson, as well as share a meal together. Johnson is the director of Choral Activities at EMU and the artistic director and conductor of the Detroit Concert Choir. Previously, he founded and was the artistic director of the emerging professional vocal ensemble Vox Lumine based in New York.

Johnson has conducted professional musicians across the United States while maintaining his extensive work with students of all ages. He has performed in venues across the country including Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center, and made his conducting debut at the renowned Carnegie Hall with the National Sacred Honor Choir. He holds degrees from Concordia College and The University of Arizona and was previously a faculty member at Houghton College.

The Delta Chorale is the premier touring vocal ensemble at Delta State. Comprised of approximately 40 mixed voices, it performs frequently both on and off campus. Its repertoire features high-quality choral music from diverse styles, musical eras, languages and cultures. The choir has performed by invitation at state and regional conferences of the Mississippi Music Educators Association and American Choral Directors Association.

Dr. Vernell Bennett, Delta State’s vice president for Student Affairs, will provide opening remarks at Friday evening’s concert. Coincidentally, Bennett is a graduate of the music program at EMU.

This concert is free of charge and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to help cover the expense of EMU’s trip to Cleveland.

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Handel’s “Messiah” to be performed at Delta State

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Zeigel Hall on the campus of Delta State is currently filled with the sounds of one of the most beloved musical works of all time, “Messiah,” by George Frideric Handel.

The Delta Chorale, Delta Singers Okramen and Delta Singers Women’s Chorale are learning the masterwork for a performance at the Bologna Performing Arts Center on Nov. 28 at 7 p.m.

Across town on Monday nights at First United Methodist Church, the Delta Choral Union is learning the same music in preparation for a grand collaboration that will take shape over the next three weeks, culminating in the concert performance.

Dr. Adam Potter, director of Choral Activities at Delta State and the conductor of the Delta Chorale and Delta Singers Women’s Chorale, is the music director for the performance. He will share the podium with ElizaBeth Beckham, conductor of the Delta Choral Union, and Kevin Tharp, conductor of the Delta Singers Okramen.

“There is no better way to kick off the holiday season than with a gala choral performance like this,” said Potter. “We are so excited to bring ‘Messiah’ to the Delta.”

The Delta Chorale is the premier touring vocal ensemble at Delta State. Comprised of approximately 40 mixed voices, it performs frequently both on and off campus. Its repertoire features high-quality choral music from diverse styles, musical eras, languages and cultures. The chorale has performed by invitation at state and regional conferences of the Mississippi Music Educators Association and American Choral Directors Association.

Delta Singers encompasses two separate choirs, the Okramen men’s choir and Women’s Chorale, which perform together frequently. These non-auditioned choirs provide singers an opportunity to learn many styles of music and also focus on developing vocal and musicianship skills. They also serve as lab choirs for advanced student conductors.

The Delta Choral Union is an adult volunteer community choir based in Cleveland. It has a proud history of excellent singing and highly-anticipated concerts. Beckham serves as its music director.

For this performance, the Delta State University choral program has hired a full roster of professional string players from the Memphis Symphony Orchestra to accompany the choirs. Their concertmaster will be Anne-Gaëlle Ravetto, instructor of violin at Delta State.

Department of Music faculty Josh Armstrong, Shelley Collins, Michael Ellzey, Bret Pimentel and Kumiko Shimizu will complete the orchestra in the wind, percussion and continuo sections.

The performance will also feature professional artists presenting the vocal solos Handel interspersed between the choruses. Laurissa Backlin, soprano, is currently an assistant professor of music at Delta State. Chad Payton, countertenor, is an assistant professor of voice at Capital University in Ohio (former DSU faculty from 2011-16). Jamie Dahman, tenor, joined the DSU voice faculty this fall. Patton Rice, bass-baritone, is the director of vocal music at the Mississippi School of the Arts and a frequent soloist with Mississippi Opera.

Tickets for this event are available at the Bologna Performing Arts Center box office or at choir.deltastate.edu. They are $15 for adults, $10 for DSU faculty and staff, and $5 for students and senior citizens.

This performance has been made possible by a generous donation from Margaret Heard Walker.

Hip-hop star Dee-1 is next week's feature artist in downtown Cleveland Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Hip-hop artist Dee-1 to perform next Levitt AMP Cleveland concert

By | Community, Delta Music Institute, Students | No Comments

Delta State University announces hip-hop artist Dee-1 will perform a free concert in downtown Cleveland on Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series.

Following his graduation from Louisiana State University, New Orleans native David Augustine Jr. taught middle school math in Baton Rouge by day and performed hip-hop onstage as Dee-1 by night. Rapping has always been Augustine’s therapy — his own creative means of writing about tumultuous collective experiences. Wanting to pursue his growing passion and become a rapper his students could be proud of, Augustine resigned from teaching before the 2010-11 school year to focus on his music career.

In 2011, he released “I Hope They Hear Me Vol. 2,” which was a life-changing mixtape, as several singles received extensive radio play and regular airplay on “MTV Jams.” The single “Jay, 50 and Weezy” received notable Internet attention for its content and mentions of Lil Wayne, 50 Cent and Jay-Z, winning the Best of Booth Award on DJ Booth. Since then, Dee-1 has given electrifying, crowd-surfing performances on national tours such as Macklemore’s Heist Tour, Mur’s Ridin All By Ourselves Tour, Lecrae’s Higher Learning Tour, Killer Mike and Young Dro’s Grind and Hustle Tour, Lupe Fiasco’s Tetsuo and Youth Preview Tour and his own Too Focused to Fail Tour. He has also performed with Lil Wayne, Drake, Trey Songz, Akon, The Roots and Mýa, and was named Artist of the Year at the 2010 NOLA Underground Hip-Hop Awards. 

The concert will take place on the downtown green space near College Street. Sweet’s BBQ will sell barbecue dinners and Delta Dairy will sell frozen treats. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, ice chests and bug repellant. Glass bottles are not allowed. Mic Hargrove will be the opening act beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series is supported in part by Levitt Pavilions, the national nonprofit behind the largest free outdoor concert series in America. Dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of our communities, Levitt partners with cities to transform neglected public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free, live music. In 2015, free Levitt concerts will take place in 16 cities across 14 states, all featuring a rich array of music genres and high caliber talent. In addition to Levitt AMP, Levitt forms the only national network of nonprofit outdoor music venues, each presenting 50-plus free concerts each year. Within this region is the Levitt Shell (www.levittshell.org) in Memphis, Tenn. with concerts taking place this May, June, July, September and October. Learn more about Levitt locations and impact at www.levittpavilions.org.

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series is sponsored by Delta State University and their partners: the Delta Music Institute, Delta State University Student Government Association, city of Cleveland, Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, Team Cleveland, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, Peavey, Domino’s Pizza and the Delta Arts Alliance.

For more information about the Cleveland Amp Levitt Concerts Series, visit http://concerts.levittamp.org/clevelandor call the Cleveland Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce at 662-843-2712.

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Levitt AMP [Cleveland] announces lineup

By | Community, Students | No Comments

Delta State University and the Cleveland community are gearing up for an exciting lineup of free public concerts thanks to the Levitt AMP [Cleveland] grant awarded by Levitt Pavilions.

The series lineup was recently announced, with the first show kicking off Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m. featuring country artist Adam Craig. Craig will rock out on the Green Space of the Crosstie Walking Trail at College Street in downtown Cleveland.

For the full lineup of shows, ranging from August until late October for 10 consecutive weeks, visit http://concerts.levittamp.org/cleveland. Follow all series updates on social media at Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Levitt-AMP-Cleveland-Music-Series/498395706985461?fref=ts), Instagram (LevittCleveland) and Twitter (@LevittCleveland).

Amber Foster, Levitt Amp Cleveland coordinator and a student at the Delta Music Institute, is looking forward to bringing a diverse group of musicians to town.

“I’m so excited about the lineup and to see the crowds that come out,” said Foster. “This is a really cool opportunity for Delta State and Cleveland. We’re in an area surrounded by music history, so I think it’s extremely important for us to show that through weekly concerts, museums and community involvement.

“People always say the Delta is a very unique and special place — and it is — but continuing to think of bigger and newer things for these small towns can truly widen opportunities for everyone, especially with music.”

As a DMI student, Foster is serving in this leadership role to fulfill her senior project. Expecting to graduate in December of 2015, Foster understands the valuable experience she will gain through this concert series.

“When taking this on as my senior project, I knew it would be a huge responsibility as a student here at Delta State,” said Foster. “But it couldn’t have been more perfect. My favorite part thus far has been booking the bands.”

The concert series will also require community support through volunteers, who can register at this link: http://concerts.levittamp.org/volunteer_cleveland.

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series is supported in part by Levitt Pavilions, the national nonprofit behind the largest free outdoor concert series in America. Dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of our communities, Levitt partners with cities to transform neglected public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free, live music.

In 2015, free Levitt concerts will take place in 16 cities across 14 states, all featuring a rich array of music genres and high caliber talent. In addition to Levitt AMP, Levitt forms the only national network of nonprofit outdoor music venues, each presenting 50+ free concerts every year. Within this region is the Levitt Shell (http://www.levitshell.org) in Memphis, Tenn. with concerts taking place this May, June, July, September and October. Learn more about locations and impact: http://www.levittpavilions.org.

For more information, contact Foster at levittamp@deltastate.edu or 662-846-4579.

Levitt-AMP-MusicSeries_LINK

Concert series gears up for fall

By | Community, Faculty/Staff, Students | No Comments

Delta State and the Cleveland community are getting ready for this fall’s concert series made possible through the Levitt AMP [Cleveland] grant awarded by Levitt Pavilions.

Amber Foster, Levitt Amp Cleveland coordinator, is a current Delta Music Institute student who is serving in this leadership role to fulfill her senior project. Expecting to graduate in December of 2015, Foster understands the valuable experience she will gain through this concert series.

“I am elated to take on this concert series as my senior project,” said Foster. “I’m really getting a huge dose of hands on experience that will further prepare me for the entertainment business. The fact that we have this opportunity to bring the community together in music is just awesome.”

Foster said that a whole team in Cleveland is dedicated to making this a great opportunity for the city. The lineup for the series will soon be announced.

“Each night we will have different genres of music, so there will be something new every week along with kids activities and food. Also, these are free shows. I can’t wait to see all the people that come out,” said Foster.

The concert project will reflect the three goals defined by Levitt Pavilions — to amplify community pride and the city’s unique character; enrich lives through the power of free, live music; and illustrate the importance of vibrant public places.

Lisa Cooley, Team Cleveland Main Street manager for the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce, said that the grant provides the community a unique opportunity.

“The Levitt program is great for Cleveland because it will provide quality entertainment while also bringing people into our downtown, and it will bring visitors to Cleveland,” said Cooley. “Anytime we bring people into our community and into our downtown, it creates an economic boost for our local businesses.”

The concert series will require community support from volunteers, who can register at this link: http://concerts.levittamp.org/volunteer_cleveland.

“We’re looking for enthusiastic, dedicated volunteers who’d like to use their love of music and people to enhance the Levitt AMP experience,” said Foster. “Help make the 10 weeks of free concerts at the Green Space on the Crosstie Walking Trail at College Street a huge success.”

The Levitt AMP Cleveland Music Series is supported in part by Levitt Pavilions, the national nonprofit behind the largest free outdoor concert series in America. Dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of our communities, Levitt partners with cities to transform neglected public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free, live music.

In 2015, free Levitt concerts will take place in 16 cities across 14 states, all featuring a rich array of music genres and high caliber talent. In addition to Levitt AMP, Levitt forms the only national network of nonprofit outdoor music venues, each presenting 50+ free concerts every year. Within this region is the Levitt Shell (www.levitshell.org) in Memphis, Tenn. with concerts taking place this May, June, July, September and October. Learn more about locations and impact: www.levittpavilions.org.