The Delta Music Institute will host a Grand Opening celebration on March 7 and 8 to showcase its new facilities inside the historic Whitfield building on the DSU campus. Several exciting events planned for the celebration will be announced within the next week.
The Delta Music Institute began with a generous donation by Fred Carl of the Viking Range Corporation in 2003. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, business, and creative areas of the music industry. As Mr. Carl explains, “When I first proposed the DMI concept, I made the point that this unique program needed and deserved its own identity, something that would clearly identify it as an area of the University that had a special purpose and mission. Delta Music Institute seemed to be the perfect name for a center within the University that had the primary purpose of bringing attention to the incredible role Delta music played in the creation of modern rock and roll and other forms of music that we now refer to as popular music.”
The DMI recording studios, which are the centerpieces of the Delta Music Institute program, have been constructed inside of what was the old Whitfield Gymnasium. Studio A serves as an orchestral studio, able to accommodate symphony orchestras, concert bands, mass choirs, and other large ensembles, while Studio B meets the recording needs of smaller ensembles or solo performers. Studio C functions primarily as a classroom and as a small audio project room. The design for the studios was created by veteran engineer/producer Norbert Putnam who says, “When I first entered the old Whitfield Gym, I was struck by the amazing reverb being generated by the hard reflective surfaces. It reminded me of Abbey Road’s studio in London.” Putnam continues, “The symphonic room at DMI may well be the largest studio of this type in the academic world. DMI students will have the opportunity to learn the different recording techniques used in a live reverberant space, as well as the generic absorbing design of the smaller studio.”
Students in the DMI program pursue career aspirations through an innovative Interdisciplinary Studies degree, allowing them to combine two or three concentrations of study. The result is a broad entrepreneurial approach to the music and entertainment industries.
When asked how the Delta Music Institute would benefit DSU, Dr. John Hilpert, President of Delta State, replied, “These studios, housed in this historic building, will give our students an opportunity to apply their audio recording skills under the supervision of DMI faculty in a unique facility. The Delta Music Institute is a strong addition to our overall academic program.”
DMI Director Tricia Walker indicated that the studios would also serve the community, region, and state. “Our studios will be open to the public for all types of recording projects. This will give our students the opportunity to learn valuable career and interpersonal skills in the context of real-life recording situations. Musicians and performers will have the opportunity to create and produce music in a world-class facility at a fraction of the cost of a commercial studio.”
“This grand opening,” concludes Mr. Carl, “is the culmination of the efforts of a group of dedicated people whose creativity and vision, not to mention hard work and determination, were channeled into a single purpose…to bring attention to the Mississippi Delta’s huge influence on 20th century popular music and the tremendous impact it had on the culture of the United States. The final result of all of this effort, the Delta Music Institute that is being dedicated, has far exceeded my original expectations.”
The citizens of the Delta are encouraged to come celebrate these exciting new facilities at the DMI Grand Opening on March 7 and 8. For more information on schedule and events, please call (662) 846-4579 or visit dmi.deltastate.edu.