musicians

B.B. King AllStar Choir to perform at Winning the Race

The B.B. King AllStar Choir will perform at the opening reception of the Winning the Race conference March 30 at 5:30 p.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

The B.B. King AllStar Choir will perform at the opening reception of the Winning the Race conference March 30 at 5:30 p.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center.

The B.B. King AllStar Choir will perform at the opening reception of the Winning the Race conference at Delta State University March 30. The reception takes place at the Bologna Performing Arts Center at 5:30 pm.

The opening event is sponsored by the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, The Delta Center for Culture and Learning, Vicksburg National Military Park and Eastern National for the National Park Service Centennial. The event will also feature special guest Robert Stanton, former director of the National Park Service. It will be free and open to the public.

The choir, which was founded in 2013, is sponsored by the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola. It is comprised of musically gifted youth grades six through twelve. They are selected by audition from communities throughout the Delta region, including Greenwood, Indianola, Cleveland, Boyle and Ruleville. 

“It has been a privilege and a joy to work with such talented, enthusiastic young singers,” said Dr. Cheryl L. Weiss, choir director. “We are pleased to be working with the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area to showcase some of the best and brightest young musicians that our region has to offer.”

The choir was one of only nine youth choirs selected to perform at the Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans. They also have sung for Governor Phil Bryant and other prominent Mississippi Politicians at the Delta Council Meeting, the WABG-TV March of Dimes Telethon and in a private concert for B.B. King. This spring they will sing the National Anthem for the Mississippi Braves baseball team and be featured at the Little Walter Music Festival in Alexandria, La.

Follow all Winning the Race conference updates at http://www.deltastate.edu/president/winning-the-race/.

The MDNHA is a partnership between the people of the Mississippi Delta and the National Park Service. The MDNHA was designated by U.S. Congress in 2009 and is governed by a board of directors representing agencies and organizations defined in the Congressional legislation. More information about the MDNHA, including the complete approved management plan, is available at www.msdeltaheritage.com

The mission of The Delta Center is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the MDNHA and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project. For more information, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/academics/delta-center-for-culture-and-learning/.

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Delta Center for Culture and Learning Participates in NEH Workshop

   Photo: Bill Abel

 

Photo: Bill Abel

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State recently hosted a workshop called “The Most Southern Place on Earth:  Music, History and Culture of the Mississippi Delta” workshop.  The workshop is held twice a year by the Center, with major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) program known as Landmarks in American History and Culture.  Each workshop admits forty teachers from anywhere in the U.S.  The session lasts for six days, and examines the Delta’s heritage in the Blues, religion, Civil Rights, foodways, and other important manners.  

Tim Shaw, a top-notch instrument maker and elementary art teacher, was able to reunite with bluesman Bill Abel while attending.

Shaw first met Abel when they did a workshop together last summer. Shaw had been making cigar box guitars for a year when he learned of Abel’s cigar box show at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs. Shaw’s wife got her husband and his friends permission to be in Abel’s show through the cultural center.

“I spent two days with him down there at the cultural center. We immediately hit it off,” Shaw said. “I called my wife after the first day and I said, ‘I have met my Jesus.’”

The two have been in touch since, but Shaw’s being at Abel’s performance during the NEH workshop was a complete surprise.

“I didn’t tell him I was coming,” Shaw said. “Yesterday when he was unloading his stuff I came here early to help, and I said, ‘Remember me?’ And he just couldn’t believe I was here.”

   Photo: Tim Shaw

 

Photo: Tim Shaw

After Abel’s show on Wednesday night, Shaw demonstrated his skills on Abel’s cigar box guitar. Shaw said that while he has always been interested in music, he only became a musician in his early 30’s.

“I worked with two guys who were surprised that I didn’t play anything because I knew so much about music,” Shaw said. “They set out on a mission to teach me to play. One of them played the drums, the other one played guitar. They decided they were going to teach me the bass so we could have a band.”

From playing instruments, Shaw became interested in making them. During his quest to make a solid-body electric guitar, he encountered a news clip about a man who made cigar box guitars on the coast. Shaw visited the artist’s gallery in Bay St. Louis with some friends the following Sunday and ended up buying one of the artist’s cigar box guitars.

“I took it home and took it apart and looked at it and thought, ‘Huh, this is interesting. I think I can do this,’” Shaw said. “And so my endeavor to make solid body electric guitars took a left turn to cigar box guitars.”

Shaw, whose projects are usually commissioned, says that the six-day workshop has left him inspired.

“I’m really excited about this workshop. I’ve already designed three new guitars,” Shaw said. “I can’t wait to go home and make them. They’re going to be blues themed.”

For more information, contact the Delta Center at 662-846-4311 or Luther Brown at lbrown@deltastate.edu

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Delta Center Welcomes Swedish Blues Fans

Photo: Swedish Blues fans at Po' Monkey's Lounge in Merigold. Photo by Lee Aylward.

Photo: Swedish Blues fans at Po' Monkey's Lounge in Merigold. Photo by Lee Aylward.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University recently provided an introduction to the Delta’s heritage to a group of 30 Swedish Blues Enthusiasts.  Individuals came from all over Sweden and included some Swedish speaking Americans as well.  The tour began in Memphis and ended in New Orleans.  Stops in the Delta included the Delta Blues Museum, Ground Zero and Red’s Lounge in Clarksdale, Po’ Monkey’s Lounge in Merigold, The Delta Center at DSU, Dockery Farms, the Senator’s Place in Cleveland, the B.B. King Museum, and Robert Johnson’s burial site.  Many of the tour participants were Blues musicians, and all were very well-read, enthusiastic students of the Mississippi Delta.  This was the third Delta tour by the Swedish travel company Travel Arena Falun, based in Falun, Sweden, and they expect to return to the Delta regularly.  

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Delta Center assists Canadian film crew

PHOTO: (L to R) Award-winning Country musician and TV personality Jason McCoy, Terry ”Harmonica” Bean, and TV producer Joel Stewart of CMT Canada, all at Po’ Monkey’s Lounge in Merigold, Mississippi, prior to shooting part of Jason McCoy Eats America.

PHOTO: (L to R) Award-winning Country musician and TV personality Jason McCoy, Terry ”Harmonica” Bean, and TV producer Joel Stewart of CMT Canada, all at Po’ Monkey’s Lounge in Merigold, Mississippi, prior to shooting part of Jason McCoy Eats America.

The Delta Center for Culture and Learning recently helped the television company CMT Canada film part of an episode of their popular show Jason McCoy Eats America at Po’ Monkey’s Lounge in Merigold.  The cast and crew interviewed Bluesman Terry “Harmonica” Bean, and their star, Jason McCoy, later performed with Terry Bean.  Jason McCoy is a Canadian singer/songwriter who is best known for his country music. In 2001 he won Male Vocalist of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards, and he has also had 3 SOCAN Song of the Year awards, 19 CCMA nominations and 5 Juno nominations, all for Best Country Male Vocalist.  Other parts of this episode were filmed in Clarksdale, and other episodes of the series have been filmed throughout the Southeastern US.

 

 

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