February 2011


DSU alumnus Aaron Spears Nominated for NAACP Image Award

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    Aaron Spears acting work on The Bold and the Beautiful has earned him a NAACP Image Award nomination.     Aaron D. Spears, DSU class of '94 and a star on the daytime drama The Bold and the Beautiful, has been nominated for the Best Actor in a Daytime Drama Series by the 2011 NAACP Image Awards.   In that category, Mr. Spears is vying for the award against three other nominees – Cornelius Smith Jr. of All of My Children; Darnell Williams of All of My Children; as well as his Bold and the Beautiful co-star Rodney Saulsberry.   The winners of the 42nd annual NAACP Image Award will be honored during the airing of the show on March 4 on the Fox Network.   Mr. Spears, who first began acting his senior year at DSU in the spring of 1994, has been a regular cast member of The Bold and the Beautiful since 2009. On the soap opera, he portrays the character of Justin Barber, an executive vice president of a publishing company.   In addition to his daytime drama success, Mr. Spears has performed in the movies Mannsfield 12, Babel, Traci Townsend, Blue Hill Avenue and Makin’ Baby. He will be starring in the upcoming crime action film Disrupt/Dismantle.   

DSU to Host the Rescheduled 2011 Delaware Brain Bee

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    Some future brain specialists may be among the contestants this weekend as Delaware State University hosts the 2nd annual Delaware Brain Bee Competition beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 5 in room 205, Mishoe Science Center South on campus. Brain Bee Coordinator stands with the 2010 winner Amy Forster and state Sen. Colin Bonini.   The Brain Bee Competition – rescheduled from a Jan. 8 weather postponement – is free and open to the public.   In this challenging competition, Delaware high school students will answer questions about the nervous system. Topics will range from how the brain functions normally to what goes wrong in the brain in connection with disorders like Alzheimer's disease, addictions, Lou Gehrig’s disease and depression.    Getting young men and women interested and excited about the brain is important given the urgency of finding cures for devastating illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease, said Dr. Princy Quadros Mennella, DSU assistant professor of biological science and the Delaware Brain Bee lead coordinator.     “Additionally, there is a greater need for better treatments for disorders such as depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as their incidences are on the rise,” Dr. Mennella said. “It is quite possible that one of our own Delaware high school students may be the next neuroscientist to solve enigma that is the human brain.”   This competition is not only an opportunity for the community to support our high school students, but also to learn more about the brain. In addition to the competition, there will be demonstrations on sheep brain dissections as well as a real human brain and spinal cord for display.    This year there will be contestants from the Charter School of Wilmington, Cab Calloway School of Arts, Cesar Rodney High School, Indian River High School and Polytechnical High School.   The winner of the Delaware Brain Bee gets to compete in the National Brain Bee, to be held in March 2011 in Baltimore, Md. Last year Amy Forster from the Charter School of Wilmington won the Delaware Brain Bee and competed in the 2010 National Brain Bee Championship, placing 17th out of 35th high school competitors from across the country                                                                 

DSU to Present Two One-Act Dramatic Plays

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Jazmyn B. Duncan (l) and Tyree Evans star in the one-act play Soul Gone Home

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    Bill Jamerson and Trawick star in Wine in the Wilderness, a story of love, art and urban unrest in the 1960s.     A group of Delaware State University student-thespians and community actors will take the stage to perform two separate one-act plays at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Feb. 24-25 in the Education and Humanities Theatre on campus   The evening of dramatic productions – which is free and open to the public – will include the one-act plays:   Soul Gone Home by Langston Hughes; a play that deals with a relationship between a mother and a son as explored by the two posthumously. Starring student-thespians Jazmyn B. Duncan and senior Tyree Evans.   Wine in the Wilderness by Alice Childress; a play that deals with the perceived images of African American women against the backdrop of the 1960s riots in Harlem. Starring student-thespians Jeremy Rodgers, Nicklas “Pete-Bailey” Robins, Gelila E. Asfeha and community actors Tiffany Trawick and Carlos Holmes.   Shirlyn Brown, a DSU adjunct professor, is the director of the one-act plays. Technical support is being provided by John Samardza, theatre manager, and the DSU Play Production II class.  

DSU to Present the Dramatic "Fannie Lou Hamer Story" on Stage

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    Delaware State University will present the powerful Mzuri Moyo one-woman dramatic production “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story: Songs on a Rugged Road” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8 in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus. Mzuri Moyo in her portrayal of Fannie Lou Hamer.   The dramatic play – which is being presented by the DSU Office of Student Affairs as part of the Black History Month observance – is free and open to the public.   Fannie Lou Hamer, one of the most talked about activists of the golden age of civil rights, was a prominent Mississippi freedom fighter during the 1960s. Her work with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to promote voter registration in the South and her deep commitment to grass-roots anti-poverty projects made her a force to be reckoned with.   Ms. Moyo has traveled the country with her signature performance in the one-woman musical play on the life of the 1960s civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. The play, first showcased in 2001, has become the backdrop for voter registration wherever it is performed.   In 2002, Ms. Moyo received an AUDELCO Award – given annually to honor New York City African American Theatre works and thespians – for the Best Solo Performance.     A talented vocalist, the native of Patterson, N.J., has been enthusiastically received on cabaret and concert stages internationally. Ms. Moyo recently sang in Paraguay with the Opera for Peace, performing as one of three sopranos in a performance with the New York City Symphony.  

DSU's Feb. 26 "A Tribute to Donald Byrd" to Honor the Famed Musician

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DSU will celebrate the famed musician and artist-in-residence with performances of prose and gospel-jazz.

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    The Delaware State University Foundation, Inc., will celebrate a legendary jazz musician as it presents “Amazing Grace – A Tribute to Dr. Donaldson T.L. Byrd” from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Legendary jazz musician and DSU artist-in-residence Dr. Donald Byrd.   The Tribute to Dr. Byrd will feature an exciting afternoon of prose and gospel jazz highlighted by jazz artist and DSU alumnus Dr. Carlton Cannon and his group JABARI, which has performed with the legendary musician in the past.   JABARI features Mr. Cannon on sax (who as a DSU student was mentored by Dr. Byrd in the 1990s), longtime Philadelphia pianist Dennis Fortune, Baltimore guitarist Ron Smith, world traveled bassist Karl McNeil, master percussionist Kenyatta Henry, renowned drummer Vernell “Dooder” Mincey, as well as vocalist/trumpet player Crystal J. Torres, who is billed as a “modern-day musical trailblazer who has performed with Roy Hargrove, Beyonce Knowles, Paquito D’Rivera and other renowned performers.   The Tribute event will also feature performances by some of DSU’s top student musicians.   In addition to being renowned in the jazz world as a stellar trumpet musician and composer, Dr. Byrd is also an Artist-in-Residence at DSU.   Dr. Byrd, a professional jazz musician since the 1950s, became known as one of the top trumpeters of the jazz “hard-bop” genre as he performed with musicians such as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock and Thelonious Monk. Ironically at one point in the 1950s, Dr. Byrd actually replaced Clifford Brown in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers band.   In the 1970s, Dr. Byrd began to record jazz fusion that combined jazz with funk, soul and R&B. While teaching music at Howard University in 1974, Dr. Byrd formed a jazz fusion group that consisted of his best students and called them the Blackbyrds. The group produced the 1972 album Black Byrd, which became Blue Notes Records’ highest-ever selling album. In the 1990s, Dr. Byrd jazz fusion explorations expanded to the hip-hop genre.   Dr. Byrd has recorded 38 jazz albums and performed on countless other musicians’ recording projects. In 2002, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized Dr. Byrd as one of its NEA Jazz Masters. As an educator, Dr. Byrd has developed a “Music + Math = Art” education program that he has introduced to youth across the country.   A native of Detroit, Mich., Dr. Byrd is an alumnus of Wayne State University and the Manhattan School of Music. In 1982 he earned an Ed.D from Columbia Teachers College of New York City.   For more information about the Tribute to Dr. Byrd, call (302) 857-6055.  

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