Give gift of live music this Christmas

Published 12:01am Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas is the season of music, and music is the perfect gift for the season.

Whether a CD that will be played and enjoyed for years, or tickets to a concert or show that the recipient will anticipate with excitement and remember with fondness, the Natchez Festival of Music reminds everyone how special the gift of music can be.

The music festival has some wonderful gift ideas for those who live in Natchez and nearby communities, but we also encourage giving musical instruments to those who aspire to play, sheet music to those who can play and want to expand their repertoire and piano lessons to adults who wished they had learned to play but never did — or haven’t yet.

If your child has seen or performed in “The Nutcracker” or perhaps seen a video of “Peter and the Wolf,” it could be very meaningful for him or her to own a recording of Mr. Tchaikovsky’s music to listen to over and over again. An MP3 version, of course, not the old-school technologies some of us adults still use.

The Natchez Festival of Music has an exciting lineup of spring performances, tickets for which also would make welcome gifts.

One possibility is giving someone who has never seen an opera tickets to our production of “Verdi’s Rigoletto.” Or consider making a gift of Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate” to someone who loves musical theater but hasn’t had the opportunity to see a show in awhile. And no one, young or old, would fail to enjoy an evening of George Gershwin, including “Rhapsody in Blue,” the most popular and accessible classical work ever written by an American.

Serious music buffs will relish the opportunity to hear tenor Paul Groves, a Louisiana native who has sung leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala and with opera companies in Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris and Vienna. I cannot adequately describe what an unusual treat it will be for a town the size of Natchez to host a singer of Paul’s caliber. This special evening will include a gala at the antebellum home Gloucester. Family and friends from Memphis to New Orleans would be thrilled to plan a weekend in Natchez centered on this concert and party. Special packages are available through some of the Natchez hotels and B&Bs.

And, speaking of world-class singers, our May lineup includes a tribute to “The Black Swan,” Elizabeth Taylor-Greenfield, who was born into slavery in Natchez in 1817 and became an international sensation, performing for Queen Victoria in Buckingham Palace.

I have only scratched the surface of the gift-giving opportunities available through the Natchez Festival of Music. Please visit our website,, to learn about these performances and many others that will occur throughout the month of May. Or call us at 601-445-2210. Tickets to all music festival shows are available at Natchez Pilgrimage Tours. Don’t forget to attend “A Christmas Cabaret” at the Natchez City Auditorium at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14.

This Christmas give the gift of music in any form. It will reverberate for years.


Jay Dean is the artistic director of the Natchez Festival of Music.