College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Music Professor on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

The University of Mississippi music professor Nancy Maria Balach will appear on “Wheel of Fortune” 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28.

Professor Nancy Balach of The University of Mississippi’s music department will appear as a contestant on the 30th-anniversary episode of “Wheel of Fortune,” to be aired Friday. Local NBC affiliates will air the episode at 6:30 p.m. This will be Balach’s first appearance on television, and it came as a spur-of-the-moment opportunity. When she and her family were in Pittsburgh this past June, they attended a “Wheelmobile” event at Meadows Racetrack and Casino, she said. More than 4,000 people came to try to take part in a simulated round, according to Balach. “It appeared that they were looking for outgoing, articulate and interesting people,” she said. “So I stepped up to the plate singing opera, doing Zumba and talking energetically about my family, my work at Ole Miss and my life in Oxford.” Two weeks after her visit to the Wheelmobile, Balach learned that she had been selected for a callback. Balach said the process took place in a small ballroom and “was not a big party, it was all business.” Two weeks later, Balach began preparing to appear on “Wheel of Fortune.” “It was so fun, but much too fast,” she said of the experience. Even as a vocal performance expert, Balach said she benefited from appearing on “Wheel of Fortune.” “You never know when your training or your background is going to come in handy,” Balach said.
Charles Gates, chair of the department of music at Ole Miss, said Balach’s friends and colleagues in the department are looking forward to her TV appearance. “As a performing musician, she brings great personality to the stage, and I know she will be an engaging contestant on the show,” he said. A public viewing party will be held on 6:30 p.m. Friday in Nutt Auditorium. All are encouraged to attend.