The spring concert will be 8 p.m. Tuesday at Ole Miss.

By Deborah A. Purnell

OXFORD - The University of Mississippi joins the world in commemorating Ghana's 50th anniversary of independence Tuesday with a spring concert featuring the Ole Miss African Drum-Dance Ensemble.

The free 8 p.m. concert, "Rhythms of Liberation," is set for the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

George Dor, OMADDE artistic director and native Ghanaian, said he is excited about the concert, but he added that "more telling is the number of university departments co-sponsoring the event." Sixteen campus departments and offices are co-sponsors, as well as the local Wal-Mart.

"It suggests the extent to which Ghana's independence has disciplinary relevance or bearing on what the various co-sponsors do daily," said Dor, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Chair of Ethnomusicology. "It also exemplifies the university's commitment toward internationalization and the community's love for international faculty, staff and students living in Oxford."

During the 90-minute concert, Oxford city officials are to present a special proclamation from Mayor Richard Howorth declaring March 6 as "Ghana Independence and Friendship Day."

"The citizens of Oxford enjoy having an international community as part of our growing city, and we are happy to join the university community in commemorating Ghana on its 50th anniversary," Howorth said.

Dor said that as a treat for its ever-supportive audience, OMADDE plans to present "Love Your Neighbor as Yourself," a contemporary Ghanaian dance, written and choreographed by Dor, and premier "Liberate the World," also by Dor. "Liberate the World" features UM students Amanda Crane, Michael Brookings and Racheal Macklin, who also are members of the Ole Miss Gospel Choir and University Glee choir.

While Tuesday's concert offers great music and performances of popular Ghanaian dances, including Tokoe, Gahu and Borborbor, Dor said the event is about education.

"Educating people about other international communities is a goal of Ole Miss," he said. "This is a cultural event, and this is a celebration, but it is also a unique opportunity to teach the history of the area."

OMADDE formed at UM in 2003, with the purchase of 15 drums, hand-carved from tweneboa, a Ghanaian cedar tree. The ensemble has performed at many university events, including the 2003 Open Doors commemoration, 2003 International Conference on Race and 2004 Black History Month concert.

For more information on OMADDE, call Dor at (662) 915-7269.

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