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LMR Launches Secret Salon Society at UM

Annual Giving Program to Benefit Music, Arts Education

Among those attending the recent unveiling of the new Secret Salon Society logo are (front row, from left) Nancy Maria Balach, CEO/artistic director for Living Music Resource and interim chair of the University of Mississippi Department of Music, and Korynn Lacher, UM master’s student in vocal performance of Richland, Washington; and (back row, from left) Benjamin Rorabaugh, UM master’s student in vocal performance of Long Beach, Mississippi, Brady Bramlett, executive managing director for LMR and associate director of annual giving, Reagan Arnold, UM bachelor’s student in music education of Collins, Mississippi, Ava Street, UM bachelor’s student in music education of Purvis, Mississippi, Alexis Rose, UM bachelor’s student in vocal performance of Omaha, Nebraska, Jiwon Lee, UM master’s student in education and performance of Oxford, Mississippi, and Lilly Swilley, UM bachelor’s student in music education of New Albany, Mississippi.

Living Music Resource™, an innovative music and arts education program housed at the University of Mississippi, has launched the Secret Salon Society™ as its official annual giving philanthropic initiative.

“Those joining the Secret Salon Society will be our partners who will be instrumental in providing the crucial support needed to allow all of us to continue enjoying the vibrant world of ‘edutainment,’ made possible by the spectrum of programs created by Living Music Resource,” said Nancy Maria Balach, CEO/artistic director for LMR and interim chair of the Department of Music.

LMR gives Ole Miss students enriching experiences outside the classroom that help them become more marketable in today’s varied music industries and professions.

LMR initiatives include the production of LMR Live, a popular interactive web talk show series, as well as master classes, full productions and concerts, commissioning of new music works, intensive workshops and mentored research opportunities for music majors.

Supporters of LMR are invited to become members of the Secret Salon Society for an annual gift of $1,000. This will provide funding to build on LMR’s foundation of education, outreach and entertainment. Having a dedicated funding resource will bolster scholarships for students, increase funds for artists’ fees and equipment costs, and support the costs of student travel.

“The members of the Secret Salon Society will enable us to continue offering free programming to our university students, partners in the Oxford-Lafayette community and viewers across the country,” said Brady Bramlett, executive managing director for LMR.

Society members will be recognized in several ways. Members will be invited to a concert each year, a spring social event and all other LMR events. Donors who join now through April 4, 2020, will be identified as founding members.

“By joining the Secret Salon Society, you’re providing the financial support that is invaluable for music education, the arts and LMR,” Balach said. “With your help, LMR’s research revolution continues!”

The society was officially unveiled recently before a group of LMR supporters at the Purser House in Oxford, Mississippi – an event made possible through the generous support of Rex Harrison Brunt of Oxford.

The event’s musical program featured a combination of LMR students and out-of-town performers, all of whom were participating in the Aria Competition that was part of the Living Music Institute – “The Performer as Entrepreneur,” a collaborative program for emerging artists between LMR and the Music Department.

The annual Living Music Institute provides vocal coaching and training for exceptional singers just embarking on their careers, as well as professional and career development.

Korynn Lacher, a UM master’s student in vocal performance, sang “Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiß” from Franz Lehár’s “Giuditta.” Even though she has only been involved in LMR since the fall semester, Lacher said she has already received enormous benefits from the program.

“LMR not only brings in Grammy Award-winning artists, Broadway stars and musicians of all different backgrounds but also leaders from the University of Mississippi, as well as prevalent and talented people from within the city of Oxford and beyond,” said Lacher, a native of Richland, Washington.

“It’s amazing to learn from all these different people, and it’s especially beautiful to see how music brings us all together,” she said. “The arts unify a community and it gives me hope in pursuing a career in music.”

Since it began in 2013, LMR has experienced tremendous growth in offerings for UM students and local and regional communities. To continue providing this free, high-quality programming with renowned artists for students, community members and online viewers, LMR has a crucial need for a stable and expanded budget to meet and exceed the standard of education and showmanship that has come to be expected by friends, fans and supporters of LMR and music education, Bramlett said.

“Without an investment of private contributions, LMR’s future is uncertain,” he said. “The Secret Salon Society will provide a more reliable financial future for opportunities in music education that, otherwise, is not offered at the University of Mississippi or anywhere else in the country.”

By Jonathan Scott

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