By Edwin B. Smith
University of Mississippi Communications
Grammy Award-winning classical and pop artists highlight the 2021-22 season of scheduled performances at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi.
The fall 2021 program opens on September 14 with the world premiere of the “Voices of Mississippi” multimedia experience. The program includes musical performances by notable Mississippi artists, films and archival footage, and includes personal stories and tales from William Ferris, founding director of the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture and former president of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Other artists scheduled include Grammy winner Reneé Fleming on September 20; Bruce Hornsby, November 7; and the Beach Boys, December 11; jazz group Post Modern Jukebox, December 4; the solo drama “The Fannie Lou Hammer Story” on October 6; classical pianist Andreas Klein with photographer Andreas Rentsch on November 4; and the unique physical theater production “Stomp” on November 29th.
“How exciting it is to open our doors again after this long intermission,” said Julia Aubrey, director of the Ford Center. “We have stellar, diverse and diverse events that will appeal to a wide range of art lovers. Because the reboot is a bit slow for touring bands, we are only offering the fall season at this point. “
“In the spring we’re bringing back shows that have been canceled with a Broadway series that includes ‘Beautiful – The Carole King Musical,’ ‘Waitress’ and ‘An American in Paris,'” Aubrey said. “Plus we’re adding a big blues event with Edgar Meyer and a Saturday morning with Dog Man.” Tickets for these shows will be available from October.
The full spring 2022 lineup will be announced later.
The Ford Center follows university guidelines, so all members of the public must be masked inside the facility, Aubrey said. The center also brought back the COVID protocols behind the scenes.
The performance of acclaimed soprano Fleming is a highlight of the season that will provide further opportunities for the community and Ole Miss students, Aubrey said.
“We are incredibly lucky to bring the stunning Renée Fleming to our performing arts center,” she said. “Thanks to the generosity of Nancye B. Starnes, this will be a three-day event featuring Ms. Fleming as the head of ‘Music and the Mind,’ a panel discussion that explores the intersection of music, of health and neuroscience with regional panelists invited at 4 p.m. Sunday September 19.
“We have the privilege of offering this international star in concert the following evening, at 7:30 pm, Monday, September 20. Tuesday morning at 11 a.m., Ms. Fleming will work with some young singers in a vocal master class. The panel and the master class are free and open to the public.
Aubrey said bringing “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story” to the Ford Center, in conjunction with the Center for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement, was important to her.
“Mississippian and activist, Ms. Hamer has built a national reputation for fighting for the right to vote,” Aubrey said. “Mzuri Aimbaye will invite students to join her on stage for her impactful presentation of Ms. Hamer’s journey as a civil rights activist. “
Aubrey said she is grateful to the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation, Friends of the Ford Center, sponsors and volunteers for their generous contributions supporting this season.
“Thank you to all of you for making sure the arts thrive at Oxford,” she said.
For more information on tickets and reservations, visit http://fordcenter.org/.