Fantasia Performance Postponed

Concert to be rescheduled at a later date

Fantasia ford center ole miss university of mississippi the color purple grammy award r&b pop black alumni reunion american idol ticket box office

Fantasia performance to be rescheduled due to icy road conditions.

OXFORD, Miss. – Due to the severity of the road conditions and in the interest of the safety of all those traveling, tonight’s FANTASiA concert sponsored by the University of Mississippi Black Alumni Association at the Gertrude C. Ford Center has been postponed.

A new date for the concert will be scheduled as soon as possible. Tickets to the tonight’s postponed performance will be honored at the rescheduled event or can be refunded through the UM Box Office at 662-915-7411.

Fantastic Fantasia Coming to Ford Center

'American Idol' and Grammy winner expected to wow her UM fans with March 5 show

Fantasia ford center ole miss university of mississippi the color purple grammy award r&b pop black alumni reunion american idol ticket box office

Fantasia will perform at the Ford Center on March 5 at 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy of Fantasia.

OXFORD, Miss. – As University of Mississippi electrical engineering student Michael Simeon continues to rise on the popular “American Idol” competition show, former winner Fantasia Barrino is preparing to perform on the Ole Miss campus.

The Grammy-winning singer and third season winner of “American Idol” performs March 5 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets range from $75 to $100 for the general public, but a 25 percent discount is available. UM student tickets are $30.

Fantasia is renowned for her charismatic, energetic style onstage that is rooted in the traditions of gospel music. The North Carolina native takes her audiences to church even when she’s singing her own R&B/pop hits or those made famous by others. Add in some colorful costumes, lighting and stage moves and concert-goers get a memorable evening of entertainment.

“The American Idol who went on to become a best-selling recording artist and acclaimed Broadway star in the musical ‘The Color Purple’ will kick off the Black Alumni Reunion weekend in style with her 7:30 p.m. performance,” said Julian Gilner, assistant director of alumni affairs. “Knowing how Fantasia performs, it should be a fantastic show!”

To purchase tickets, go to or call the UM Box Office at 662-915-7412. To buy online, users must create an account or log in to see the seating chart. At checkout, use the coupon code BAR2015 to receive a 25 percent discount.

Music of the South Concert Series Continues with Rory Block

Monday performance at the Ford Center blends traditional and new blues with folk stylings

Rory Block will perform at the Ford Center on February 23 at 7:30 p.m. Photo courtesy Rory Block.

Rory Block will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Ford Center. Photo courtesy Rory Block.

OXFORD, Miss. – Blues artist Rory Block performs Monday (Feb. 23) at the Studio Theatre of the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts as the Music of the South Concert Series continues at the University of Mississippi.

The 7:30 p.m. show is also sponsored by the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture. General admission tickets are $25 each at the UM Box Office inside the Ole Miss Student Union or online at

“Rory Block brings a unique style to blues and folk music,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “Her dedication to blues will delight our Mississippi audience.”

Block was born in New Jersey and spent her childhood in New York City, but has dedicated her life and career to not only preserving the Delta blues tradition, but delivering it to audiences in a new way. She combines traditional blues with an innovative new style, redefining the world of acoustic blues and folk music.

Block has been called “a living landmark” by Berkeley Express and “one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists” by Blues Revue. The New York Times said, “Her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.”

Bela Fleck and the Knights Perform Thursday at Ford Center

Show blends elements of classical, country, bluegrass, jazz and world music

knightsOXFORD, Miss. – Stretch your understanding of the banjo and what it can do Thursday evening (Feb. 5), when Bela Fleck and the Knights come to the University of Mississippi’s Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts for an evening of music that defies easy categorization.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $28 for the mezzanine and balcony and $35.50 for the orchestra level. Student tickets are $10. All are available at the UM Box Office in the Ole Miss Student Union.

Fleck, recipient of 14 Grammys and 30 nominations, is pushing the limits of classical music by adding influences from country, bluegrass, jazz and world music. He has been nominated for more different categories than anyone in Grammy history.

His orchestra, known as The Knights, engages listeners by using their roots in traditional classical music and adding a passion for new musical discovery.

“This is a performance that is sure to engage listeners of all types of music,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “Bela Fleck’s award-winning talent will entertain everyone from music majors to community members.”

‘Anything Goes’ Wednesday at Ford Center

Broadway production features lively music, classic Porter tunes

ole miss anything goes theatre gertrude c. ford center for the preforming arts university of mississippi box office tony award

A performance of Tony Award-winning Broadway Musical Anything Goes will be held at the Ford Center Wednesday.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts continues its lineup of top-notch entertainment this spring, with the national Broadway tour of Tony Award-winning musical “Anything Goes” coming up Jan. 28.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $55 for the balcony, $61 for the mezzanine and $66.50 for the orchestra level and are available at the UM Box Office, inside the Ole Miss Student Union.

The story follows the S.S. American as it sets sail, causing two unlikely couples to fall in love.

The performance features several of Cole Porter’s classic songs, including “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “You’re the Top” and “Anything Goes.”

The critically acclaimed performance has been called “a knockout” by The New York Times and “gorgeous and sparkling” by Entertainment Weekly.

“At the Ford Center, we strive to bring a variety of entertainment to the Ole Miss campus to enrich the lives of students and Oxford community members,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “We are very excited about the performance of yet another Broadway show as part of our Ford Series and we know all in attendance will enjoy the show.”

Michael Eric Dyson to Deliver Keynote for UM Black History Month Event

Performances, film screenings and panel discussions also scheduled

Michael Eric Dyson

Photo courtesy Michael Eric Dyson

OXFORD, Miss. – Renowned author, educator and syndicated radio host Michael Eric Dyson is the featured speaker for University of Mississippi Black History Month observances in February.

Dyson, a sociology professor at Georgetown University, will deliver the keynote address at 6 p.m. Feb. 19 in Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at the Inn at Ole Miss. Admission is free and open to the public.

“I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Dyson speak at an MLK Day celebration several years ago,” said Shawnboda Mead, director of the UM Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement and coordinator of the events. “He is a dynamic and engaging speaker who offers a provocative and fresh perspective on issues of race, politics and popular culture. The opportunity to hear his powerful message and voice is one our community won’t want to miss.”

All members of the campus community are welcome to take part in the upcoming events.

“We look forward to the opportunity to learn, honor and celebrate the achievements of African-Americans throughout history,” Mead said.

The observance officially begins Feb. 3 with a noon Kick-Off Celebration in the Ole Miss Student Union lobby. Featured participants are Brandi Hephner LaBanc, UM vice chancellor for student affairs; Rosusan Bartee, professor of leadership and counselor education; and the UM Gospel Choir. Donald Cole, assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs, will present the 2015 Lift Every Voice Awards, which honor faculty and staff who have contributed to inclusion and diversity at the university. A reception follows.

Union Unplugged performances are scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Feb. 5, 10, 19 and 24. Entertainment will include the Gospel Choir on Feb. 19 and the Ole Miss African Drum and Dance Ensemble on Feb. 24.

Several film screenings are also scheduled. “Dear White People” shows at 5 p.m. Feb. 5 and again at 3 p.m. Feb. 8. Both screenings will be in the Turner Center auditorium. The satire on race relations at an Ivy League institution will be followed by a public discussion. On Feb. 7, a group of up to 30 UM students will travel to Memphis to see the Golden Globe-nominated feature film “Selma” and visit the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.

A third film, “The New Black,” will be shown at 3 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Ole Miss Student Union Ballroom, Room 404.

The Luckyday Residential College dining hall will host a soul food luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 17. Students will be able to use their meal plans and faculty and staff will be able to purchase lunch at the regular rate. Complimentary tickets will be awarded throughout the month to students, faculty and staff in attendance at Black History Month events.

The observance continues Feb. 26 with an “Are You Ready?” dialogue at 5 p.m. at a location to be announced. Co-sponsored by the CICCE and the African-American Male Initiative, the discussion will focus on “Telling Our Stories: Living While Black-The African-American Male Experience.” The events conclude at 7:30 that evening with the Black History Month Concert in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, sponsored by the UM Department of Music.

“The Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement has worked to collaborate with other departments and student organizations to host Black History Month,” said Courtney Pearson, graduate assistant. “We have worked really hard to ensure that the events surrounding Black History Month are inclusive and engaging and are looking forward to interacting with those who come out.”

Dyson, who has taught at Chicago Theological Seminary, Brown University, the University of North Carolina and Columbia University, was the Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Carson-Newman College, graduating magnum cum laude, and his master’s and doctoral degrees in religion from Princeton University. His commentary on American culture has landed him on the “Nightline,” “Charlie Rose,” “Good Morning America,” “Today” and “Oprah” shows. He also has been on every major National Public Radio show.

Dyson has written for numerous academic publications, including Cultural Critique, Cultural Studies, DePaul Law Review, The Leadership Quarterly, New Art Examiner, JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Transition, Social Text, Religion and Literature, Theology Today, Union Seminary Quarterly Review, Princeton Seminary Bulletin and Black Sacred Music. He has been hailed for both his intellectual acuity and rhetorical gifts. As the Chronicle of Higher Education said, “He can rivet classroom(s) and chapel(s) alike with his oratory.” He has been called “one of the youngest stars in the firmament of black intellectuals” and lauded as “one of the most important voices of his generation.”

His 1993 debut, “Reflecting Black: African-American Culture Criticism,” won the Gustavus Myers Center for Human Rights Award in 1994. Dyson’s critically acclaimed follow-up, 1994’s “Making Malcolm: The Myth and Meaning of Malcolm X,” was hailed as “a study that is as substantive and comprehensive as public criticism of such a figure can hope to be,” and was named Notable Book of 1994 by both The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

He has also written for scores of mass publications, including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Vibe magazine and Rolling Stone. Dyson has also been written about in Time, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, Current Biography and the New Yorker, and he has been featured in Essence, The Village Voice and on the cover of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Dyson has lectured across the nation and throughout the world in countless colleges, universities and public auditoriums. He won the 1992 Award of Excellence for Magazines from the National Association of Black Journalists.

For more information about UM Black History Month events, visit or call the Center for Inclusion at Cross Cultural Engagement at 662-915-2191.

Mediaeval Baebes to Perform Dec. 9 at Ford Center

Show to feature familiar Christmas carols and traditional medieval songs

The Mediaeval Baebes will bring their unique performance to the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on Dec. 9.

The Mediaeval Baebes will bring their unique performance to the Ford Center on Dec. 9.

OXFORD, Miss. – The beautiful and mysterious Mediaeval Baebes, a British ensemble of female musicians, will perform their arrangements of familiar Christmas carols Dec. 9 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts as part of their “Of Kings and Angels” concert series.

The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets, priced at $17 and $23 apiece, depending on seating, are available at the UM Box Office, located inside the Ole Miss Student Union, or by calling 662-915-7411.

In addition to singing Christmas classics and traditional medieval songs, the Mediaeval Baebes take texts from the time period and put them to original compositions using traditional medieval instruments. Those stories include tales of unrequited love, the inevitability of death and various misadventures.

When these pieces are sung in a variety of languages from Latin, Middle English, Medieval French and German to Cornish and Medieval Welsh, the time period is truly brought to life.

“The Mediaeval Baebes are highly skilled musicians and have learned to perform on traditional medieval instruments, allowing this style of music to be accessible to modern audiences,” said Kate Meacham, Ford Center marketing director. “We hope audiences in Oxford will take the opportunity to see such a unique performance.”

Jazz Ambassadors to Perform Friday at Ford Center

Concert features music to complement 'The Girls of Atomic City'

The Jazz Ambassadors will perform at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts Friday, Nov. 14.

The Jazz Ambassadors will perform at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts Friday, Nov. 14.

OXFORD, Miss. – The official touring band of the United States Army will perform a free concert Friday (Nov. 14) at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts as part of Military Appreciation Month.

The Jazz Ambassadors offer a little something for everyone. The band’s repertoire includes swing, bebop, Latin, contemporary jazz, standards, popular tunes, Dixieland, vocals and, of course, patriotic music. The band’s members wrote many of the musical pieces that they perform.

“We are always happy to welcome the military bands to the Ford Center,” said Norm Easterbrook, Ford Center director. “For this concert, we were able to work with the band to focus the concert on music from the 1940s as a complement to the UM Common Reading Experience book ‘The Girls of Atomic City.'” 

The Jazz Ambassadors have performed in all 50 states and several countries with notable performances at the Toronto Jazz Festival and the Kennedy Center, and even had an appearance on the “Colbert Report.”

Free tickets are available at the UM Box Office, inside the Ole Miss Student Union.

Broadway Musical ‘Sister Act’ Coming to Ford Center

Monday night show features lively music, dancing and comedy

Tony-nominated Broadway musical Sister Act will be at the Ford Center Nov. 10.

The Tony-nominated Broadway musical ‘Sister Act’ will be at the Ford Center Nov. 10.

OXFORD, Miss. – The Tony-nominated Broadway musical “Sister Act” is coming from Manhattan to the University of Mississippi for a Monday night performance at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The performance is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday. Tickets range from $55 to $66.50, depending on seating, and are available at the UM Box Office inside the Ole Miss Student Union or online at

The musical follows the plot of the 1992 film of the same name. Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder and is put into protective custody, disguised as a nun in a convent, where she must deal with the rigid lifestyle. With her powerful voice, she inspires the choir and brings the church to life.

“‘Sister Act’ is just a lot of fun,” said Norm Easterbrook, Ford Center director. “It has great music and a good story but overall, it’s just a good time.”

The show, produced by Whoopi Goldberg, TROIKA Entertainment and Sister Act on Tour LLC, received five Tony Nominations in 2011, including nods for Best Musical and Best Original Score by Alan Menken. Menken has been nominated multiple times for Academy, Grammy and Golden Globe awards and is known for his works in Disney films and musicals such as “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Little Mermaid.”

“To hear people laugh and cheer the way they do at ‘Sister Act’ – a show people think they know but are pleasantly surprised to discover is not what they are expecting – is a magical experience for a producer,” Goldberg said. “Happily, audiences across the country are able to get in on the fun as Deloris and her fabulous sisters spread the love nationwide.”

UM Hosts Freedom Series Nov. 15-18

Week's events include concerts, museum tour and film screening

freedom series

The University of Mississippi Freedom Series

OXFORD, Miss. – Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Mississippi Freedom Summer, the University of Mississippi has a slate of events coming up Nov. 15-18 in its Freedom Series.

Scheduled events include the UM Gospel Choir‘s 40th anniversary concert Nov. 15 and an Oxford Civic Chorus concert Nov. 17. Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Adult admission is $10 each night, with a special $5 admission for students the second night only.

The Burns-Belfry Museum and Multicultural Center, 710 East Jackson Ave., will be open to visitors from 2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 16. A screening of the documentary “Freedom Summer” begins at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Oxford Studio Cinema on Jackson Avenue. Both events are free to the public.

“For years, the events of Freedom Summer evaded the history books, and several generations of Mississippians are unaware of the details surrounding the events,” said Donald Cole, assistant provost, assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs and program co-coordinator.

“If you are one of the individuals who missed this part of your state’s history, or were told only portions of it or if you want to hear from individuals who actually experienced it, then you will want to attend the events planned for Freedom Summer. Even if you’re not a historian, you’ll enjoy the music, folklore and academic lectures associated with this event.”

The Oxford Civic Chorus concert features music inspired by the civil rights movement. Special guests include the Grammy-nominated UM Gospel Choir, Mississippians Jazz Ensemble, Lafayette High School Choir, Oxford High School Choir and Blue Ten Harmony. The concert will begin with composer-music teacher-pastor Lena McLin’s famous 1973 cantata, “Free At Last: A Portrait of Martin Luther King Jr.” Other songs will highlight protest from the era and inspiration.

“Dr. McLin, who grew up with Martin Luther King Jr. in Atlanta, wrote this piece to honor the memory of her friend,” said Brooke Worthy, civic chorus director. “This is a great opportunity to hear an important piece that is rarely performed in the United States. In addition, the concert on Monday night brings together some wonderful ensembles in one venue.”

Presented by UM Libraries, the nationally-acclaimed documentary “Freedom Summer” focuses on the memorable 10 weeks in 1964 when more than 700 student volunteers from around the country joined organizers and local African-Americans in an effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in the South. “Freedom Summer” is part of the Created Equal film series that chronicles the legacy of the long civil rights movement.