Tuesday, September 18, 2007


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Lisa L. Rollins, 615-898-2919,
or Tim Musselman, 615-898-2493

Oct. 4 Music Spectacular Benefits Katrina-Ravaged Southern University

(MURFREESBORO, Tenn.)—The academic partnership between MTSU and Southern University of New Orleans will be expressed via sound Thursday, Oct. 4, during The Presidential “Prism” Gala Concert, a music-filled benefit for the Katrina-ravaged SUNO
that promises to deliver “sonic surprises.”
Beginning at 7:30 p.m. in MTSU’s Tucker Theatre, an array of bands, orchestras and choral ensembles from the McLean School of Music—as well as special guests Cedric Dent of the Grammy-winning Take 6 and David Pruett, world-music percussionist—will team to present an evening of diverse musical performances that pay tribute to the historic institution whose faculty, students and staff have operated from FEMA trailers for more than a year.
Regarding the Prism concert, Dr. George T. Riordan, director of the McLean School, said, “Just as a prism diffuses flashes of kaleidoscopic colors, this gala event is designed to produce a steady stream of sonic surprises from unexpected places as our band, jazz, choral, string and world-music ensembles perform a continuous array of music in a 360-degree setting.”
“Once you experience a prism concert, you will definitely want to return,” added Dr. Reed Thomas, director of bands for MTSU. “The word ‘experience’ is well-chosen in describing this event, (because) the audience members are an integral part of the concert. You will never know where the music is coming from next, and at some point you will be literally surrounded by music and musicians—a truly up-close and personal encounter.”
The concept for the Oct. 4 prism concert, with its uninterrupted, surround-sound presentation, originated at the famed Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., where the first such event was stage four decades ago, Thomas observed.
“Not only does the tradition continue there,” he said, “but universities across the nation have picked up the idea and annually draw thousands to such spectaculars, where music schools can show off the wide variety of their offerings at one event.”
SUNO Chancellor Victor Ukpolo said the upcoming Presidential “Prism” Gala Concert is but one of numerous gestures by MTSU that continues to convey tremendous support for his university’s rebuilding and long-term success.
“The relationship Southern University at New Orleans established with MTSU earlier this year greatly assists our institution with enhancing educational opportunities for our students,” Ukpolo said. “More than two years post-Katrina, SUNO remains the only institution of higher learning in New Orleans that has not returned to its original campus, a goal that is expected to be fully accomplished by fall 2009. But despite this challenge, having this relationship with MTSU is quite special.”

“When we pledged to form an academic partnership with Southern University at New Orleans in February of this year, we did so with purpose and a sustaining intent that was comprehensive in its scope,” remarked MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee,
who visited New Orleans shortly after the hurricane and toured the SUNO campus earlier this year.
“The Presidential ‘Prism’ Gala Concert is only one collaboration of what will be many between MTSU and SUNO, “ McPhee said, “and this musically rich performance is a cultural event that will benefit not only our respective students, faculty and staff, but also contribute to the boarder arts community in the area.”
A former associate vice chancellor for the Tennessee Board of Regents in 1997-99, Ukpolo has said it’s estimated that Hurricane Katrina’s total damage to SUNO had reached $60 million.
“My professional career in higher education began in Tennessee, and this outpouring of support makes me feel as though I never left the state,” Ukpolo said. “On behalf of the entire SUNO community, I again extend thanks to President McPhee and everyone at MTSU for your encouragement, thoughtfulness and heartfelt support. “
♫ TICKETS: Tickets for the prism-themed concert, $20 each, are now available through the MTSU Ticket Office by calling 615-898-5261. Tickets also will be available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. MTSU student tickets are $10 each.
“Our prism concert is destined to become an annual showcase for our music program, but this year we have the added privilege of supporting our fellow scholars in need at SUNO,” Riordan said. “Once the people of Middle Tennessee get to know this concert, they will look forward to it … and we expect that it will sell out each year.”

The Presidential “Prism” Gala Concert Participants

Large Ensembles
Wind Ensemble
Symphonic Band
Concert Chorale

Jazz Ensembles
The Band of Blue Marching Band

Small- and Medium-sized Ensembles
Chamber Winds
Flute Ensemble
Clarinet Ensemble
Brass Quintet
Trumpet Ensemble
Horn Ensemble
Trombone Choir
Low Brass Ensemble
Percussion Ensemble
String Ensemble
Hot Jazz Group

World Music Ensembles
Steel Drum Band
Salsa Band
Silviu Ciulei

Special Guests
Cedric Dent
David Pruett


ATTENTION, MEDIA: Interview requests related to this story may be directed Lisa L. Rollins in the Office of News and Public Affairs at lrollins@mtsu.edu or by calling 615-898-2919. To request jpegs of any of the MTSU ensembles or bands participating, please e-mail your request to tmusselm@mtsu.edu.

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