MSU Riley Center Reveals Lineup

Officials say it's a mix with something for everyone. Randy Travis, Bruce Hornsby, Willie Nelson, Robert Earl Keen, the 40th Anniversary Tour of the band, America, and Mavis Staples.

These shows will run through the spring and summer.

Officials say this is an exciting day for a performing arts center that is gaining respect across the region and country.

"The Riley Center has continued to grow its outreach," said executive director Dennis Sankovich. "People from all over the south have been contacting us and finding out about our shows, and it continues to grow. It takes time to build a tradition and I think we spent that time and invested it. And this center is continuing to increase its outreach across the south and the country."

Current season ticket holders get the first opportunity to keep their seats. And then later this month, sales open for all people interested in a second-half season package.

Current season-ticket holders will get first crack at retaining their current seats from January 11 through January 21. Those who want to buy new season tickets get a one-week exclusive opportunity January 24-28. Sales of “Pick 3” ticket packages, which allow patrons to select three or more shows at a discounted price, begin January 31. Finally, on February 7, all tickets go on sale, including individual tickets for every show in the series.

Tickets and information are available by phone or in person at the MSU Riley Center box office Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The telephone number is 601-696-2200, and the address is 2200 Fifth Street in downtown Meridian.

Important dates:
• Season ticket renewals: January 11-21
• New season tickets: January 24-28
• Pick 3 tickets: beginning January 31
• Individual tickets: beginning February 7
• Spring/Summer Series premiere: March 3, Randy Travis
• Spring/Summer Series finale: August 5, Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers

MSU Riley Center
2200 Fifth Street
Meridian, MS 39301
Box office hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Spring/Summer Series includes country-music legends Randy Travis and Willie Nelson, alternative-country favorite Robert Earl Keen, young blues guitarist Jonny Lang, a family-friendly touring theater company, adventuresome music from Victor Wooten (of Béla Fleck and The Flecktones) and Bruce Hornsby, the big-band sounds of the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra and the vocal group The Pied Pipers, classic rock from America, and all kinds of soul, from iconic Mavis Staples to contemporary KEM to the final concert by Bill Medley of the 1960s duo The Righteous Brothers, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,and “Rock and Roll Heaven” on August 5.

Randy Travis
Thursday, March 3, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
$57, $51
Pre-Show Party at 6:00 p.m.

In the 1980s, Randy Travis led the “neotraditionalist” wave that took country music back to its roots: straightforward instrumentals and vocals sung from the heart. Such hits as “On the Other Hand,” “Diggin’ Up Bones,” and “Forever and Ever, Amen” sold millions of records. In the past decade, Travis turned to gospel music before returning to country with the 2008 album Around the Bend and his Grammy Award-winning duet with Carrie Underwood, “I Told You So.”

40th Anniversary Tour
Thursday, March 10, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
$50, $44

America returns to the stage, bringing the classic feel of ‘70s folk and soft rock with such legendary hits as “A Horse With No Name” and “Sister Golden Hair.” Having been awarded a Grammy for best new artist at the front of its career, the band has also been inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, proving that some things only get better with age. America tours the globe to sellout crowds as far away as Brazil and Australia, showing that its musical talent truly has no bounds.

America’s Hits On Parade with The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra & The Pied Pipers
Directed by: Bill Tole
Saturday, April 2, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
$28, $22

The rich musical history of the big-band era that pushed Americans out of the Great Depression and through the Second World War returns to lift the American spirit as the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra and The Pied Pipers deliver a show titled America’s Hits on Parade. After Jimmy Dorsey’s hit “Tangerine” and The Pied Pipers’ collaborative hit with Frank Sinatra “I’ll Never Smile Again,” the two legendary groups join forces to resurrect the music that forged class and elegance in early-day Hollywood and worked its way into every American heart and home. Enjoy an evening of America’s hits made famous by many of the greatest recordings ever made, including the above songs along with “In the Mood,” “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You,” “There Are Such Things,” “Boogie Woogie,” “Stardust” and many more.
Mavis Staples
Friday, April 8, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
$32, $26

This Rock and Roll Hall of Famer continues to thrill audiences with her soulful and powerful voice. Named one of the 100 greatest singers of all time by Rolling Stone and 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll by VH1, Staples commands the sort of respect that earned a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for The Staple Singers, for which Mavis was lead singer. Her new album lives up to those lofty standards. Produced by Jeff Tweedy, front man for Wilco, the album, You Are Not Alone, is receiving rave reviews, from critics and fans alike. From original songs written by Tweedy to classic old Staple Singers numbers, the album’s lineup demonstrates the full range of Staples’ undeniable talent.

Saturday, April 16, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
$57, $51

Pre-Show Party at 6:00 p.m.

Soulful singer-songwriter KEM released his third album, Intimacy, in 2010, to critical acclaim and impressive numbers. Within hours of its release, the album commanded the No. 1 spot on iTunes’ Top R&B/Soul Albums chart and quickly shot to No. 6 on iTunes’ overall Top Albums chart. Add to that a 2010 Soul Train Award nomination for best Male R&B/Soul Artist, and it’s clear that KEM ranks among today’s hottest hit-makers, along with Alicia Keys, Usher, Erykah Badu and Sade. KEM delivers smooth R&B with gorgeous ballads such as “Why Would You Stay” and “Share My Life,” which are sure to become mainstay hits enjoyed for years
to come.

Bruce Hornsby
Saturday, April 30, 2011 / 7:30 p.m. $50, $44

This three-time Grammy Award winner has occupied the radio waves for many years now with such hits as “Mandolin Rain” and “The Way It Is,” which hit No. 3 on the Billboard top 200 during its 28-week run on the charts. His talents on the piano and other keyboards often summoned invitations to play with The Grateful Dead, and his joyful and energetic stage presence has been entertaining sellout audiences since the mid-’80s.

During the month of May, the MSU Riley Center together with the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation salute Meridian’s own Jimmie Rodgers - Father of Country Music and a Founding Father of American Roots Music.

Willie Nelson
Thursday, May 5, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
$74, $68

Pre-Show Party at 6:00 p.m.

An American icon who is recognized worldwide, Willie Nelson has been rewarded for his talented performances on stage and on the big screen with nine Grammy Awards, nine Country Music Association Awards, nine Academy of Country Music Awards and two Broadcast Music Inc. Awards. He has been seen in the recent Hollywood films The Dukes of Hazzard and Swing Vote. The famed musician is well known for his rendition of “Always on My Mind,” his writing of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” and of course his performance of “On the Road Again,” also written by him. This working-class hero always delivers a memorable performance that is close to the heart and compelling.

Family Show

There’s an Alligator Under My Bed, a Nightmare in My Closet, and Something in My Attic
Presented by Omaha Theater Company
Friday, May 6, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $18 (adults), $10 (children under 12)
Omaha Theater Company puts three classic children’s tales together for one magical production. Based on books written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer, the author of more than 300 children’s books, this family event teaches children how to overcome those bedtime fears in a fun and creative way. Parents enjoy taking a step into their child’s imagination, and kids light up with excitement as Omaha Theater Company draws audiences into the storybooks with imaginative costumes and scenery.

Robert Earl Keen
Friday, May 20, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
$35, $29

Pre-Show Party at 6:00 p.m.

Robert Earl Keen cheerfully admits that you’ll have a hard time finding his music on the radio, but he packs concert halls across the country with rabid fans who know the lyrics to every song. Such sharply observed and slyly humorous classics as “The Road Goes On Forever” and “Merry Christmas From the Family,” delivered in his unassuming Texas twang, have made him a hero to alternative-country aficionados. As a teenager, Keen discovered old recordings of Meridian’s own Jimmie Rodgers. “Since then,” he said, “I’ve always liked that one-guy-with-guitar-with-the-story-kinda-song thing.” Keen happily returns to the MSU Riley Center, which he called “the crown jewel of Mississippi” after his 2007 appearance.

Jonny Lang
Sunday, June 5, 2011 / 6:00 p.m.
$50, $44

Pre-Show Party at 4:30 p.m.

The day before his 16th birthday, this blues and rock prodigy released the critically acclaimed, multiplatinum Lie to Me. For his second major-label release, at the age of 17, Lang received his first Grammy nomination. In 2007, he won a Grammy for his gospel-inspired Turn Around album. With a varied career that spans blues, rock and soul, Lang has toured with The Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy, Aerosmith, B.B. King, Blues Traveler, Jeff Beck and Sting. He released his first live album, Live at the Ryman, in late 2009 and has had recent collaborations with artists as diverse as Carlos Santana, Cyndi Lauper and Lee Ritenour.

Victor Wooten
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
$32, $26

Five-time Grammy Award winner Victor Wooten is a composer, producer, author and famed bass player most known for playing with Béla Fleck and the Flecktones. With three consecutive wins as Bass Player magazine’s Bass Player of the Year under his belt, he saw his most recent album, Palmystery, hit No. 7 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart. His ability to take command of the bass guitar and manipulate it in seemingly impossible ways continues to mystify fans of all ages and backgrounds.

The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley
Friday, August 5, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
$46, $40

Pre-Show Party at 6:00 p.m.

This duo is responsible for the iconic song “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” The song went straight to No. 1 on the charts in both the United States and the United Kingdom and was made famous again in the movie Top Gun. Rolling Stone ranked the song No. 34 among the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and it has enjoyed more airtime than any other song in history. Next, the band quickly belted out “(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration,” which hit No. 1 on the Billboard chart again. In 1987, the deep, spirited voice of Bill Medley connected with listeners in the song “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” which achieved further fame in the film Dirty Dancing and won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a Grammy, and a Video of the Year award.

Select shows will feature pre-show parties in the Grand Lobby. That allows patrons to socialize, enjoy refreshments and explore the splendor of the MSU Riley Center. Those who haven’t yet experienced the facility have a treat in store. When Keene, a well-traveled Texas troubadour, made his first visit in 2007, he said, “The Riley Center is the crown jewel of Mississippi. In the future, music fans worldwide will make pilgrimages to Meridian and renew their faith.”

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