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Late teacher, friend’s memory honored with ‘Sorta Love Songs’


Jan Swoope



Two cabaret-style performances of "Sorta Love Songs" March 19-20 at McComas Hall on the Mississippi State University campus will be more than pure entertainment. They will be heart-felt tributes to the memory of Lora J. DeFore, a much-missed colleague, mentor and friend. 


Starkville Community Theatre, the Mississippi State University Department of Communication and Theatre MSU are joining creative forces to honor the late communication instructor who lost her long battle with cancer in November 2009. 


Scott Burkel, lyricist for "Sorta Love Songs," and writing partner Paul Loesel offered the musical show to honor their friend and serve as a fundraiser for the Lora J. DeFore Scholarship Fund at MSU. 


"This is a great opportunity to have a wonderful evening and help support the scholarship," said Pattye Archer, a frequent community theatre director and close friend of DeFore''s. "Lora meant so much to so many of us, but her students were some of the luckiest people to have had her in their lives. The scholarship in her name will allow Lora to continue to impact students for many years to come." 


The "Sorta Love Songs" cast includes plenty of familiar area talents -- M.J. Etua, Blake Garrett, Cherri Golden, Madeline Golden, Brian Hawkins, Lorraine Hughes, Maureen Hughes, Thomas La Foe, Kris Lee, Brad Moreland, Suzanne Oakley, Rick Rogers, Lyle Tate, Molly Watkins and Carole Sorenson as musical director and accompanist. 


Archer stated, "This is very exciting because not only are we raising money for Lora''s scholarship, but our performance will be one of the first by a community theatre or university of this show." 


DeFore was a strong supporter of the SCT, volunteering in multiple capacities. She taught more than seven different public relations and journalism courses throughout her 19-year tenure at MSU and served as coordinator of the public relations concentration of her department and was its internship program coordinator, as well. She was a three-time recipient of the Lambda Pi Eta Faculty Member of the Year award.  


Admission to the 90-minute show beginning at 7:30 p.m. is $15 minimum donation at the door. For those who cannot attend, contributions to the scholarship fund may be mailed to the Lora J. DeFore Scholarship Fund, Department of Communication, P.O. Box PF, Mississippi State, MS 39762.  


For additional information, contact the Department of Communication at 662-325-3320.


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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