The Chancellor’s Commission on the Status of Women at the University of Mississippi will highlight women on campus, starting in April 2017.
It has been an exciting and successful 2017-18 season and we look forward to our last two offerings as well as the myriad of activities that use the Ford Center such as India Night, Nepal Night, Phi Kappa Phi, Who’s Who, and Commencement. On April 22 and 23, the UM Opera Theatre and LOU Orchestra present the Benjamin Britten opera, Albert Herring. This is considered the best English comic opera of the 20th century and one that will delight the audience. When I was appointed Director of the Ford Center, I retained my faculty position as the Director of Opera Theatre. As I now sit in two “director’s chairs,” I have the unique opportunity to help create a memorable experience for our music students as they perform in this wonderful facility. Our last presentation of the regular season is the Russian National Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty on April 25. This is a beautiful production and the story ballets are always an audience favorite.
There are new initiatives in place that encourage collaborative projects between the Arts within the university and community. We just offered a live performance-art piece that combined live actors performing the poetry of Ann Fisher-Wirth and featuring the photography of Maude Shuyler Clay accompanied by transitional guitar music. Another big project planned for December 1, 2017 is a community and university collaborative performance of the famous Christmas opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors with professional guest artists, university students and faculty, and community singers supported by the LOU Orchestra. On that same evening, the LOU Orchestra with guest singers and the university choirs will present Handel’s oratorio, Messiah, including a sing-a-long with the audience of the “Hallelujah Chorus.”
One of my favorite new initiatives is providing live theatre for children. New, and yet well established, is the expansion of the Youth Music Theatre Workshop that has been in place for over 20 years. Now housed in the Ford Center, and offering two separate classes, there will be several professionals joining my husband and me as we offer this popular music theatre workshop from June 12 – 23. Just a hint that it will feature trolls, Moana, and The Pirates of Penzance. And there is more to come for our youngest audience members. Next season I am coordinating with the Oxford schools to bring students into the Ford Center for age-appropriate performances during the day. We want to introduce children to live performances and help them develop an appreciation for the Arts and encourage them to explore the excitement and exhilaration of self-expression in music, theatre, dance, and storytelling.
Our vision is to incubate and curate a variety of performing arts that will entertain and inspire our community. Oxford is an Arts center and the Ford Center will continue to expand its reputation as an Arts leader in the town, state, and region. This facility is a gem and we want to encourage everyone to feel that there is something wonderful to explore as they enter the doors of this amazing performing arts center.
~ Julia Aubrey, Associate Professor of Music, serves as the Director of the Ford Center for the Performing Arts.