JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Sharon Rouse, from left, Tamy Jackson and Robert Paradise perform together moments before the start of the Historic Natchez Tableaux on Friday evening.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Sharon Rouse, from left, Tamy Jackson and Robert Paradise perform together moments before the start of the Historic Natchez Tableaux on Friday evening.

Historic Tableaux musician remembered

Published 12:00am Monday, March 18, 2013

NATCHEZ — Many of the 300-cast members of the Historical Natchez Tableaux production knew something important was missing this year.

Mickey Davis, a violinist in The Trace of Natchez Ensemble, died of a stroke in January. Davis played a major role in bringing back live music to Tableaux in 2001, after funds prevented the hiring of an ensemble.

JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Susie Kimbrough, left,  plays on the keyboard while Robert Paradise plays drums prior to a performance of The Historic Natchez Tableaux on Friday evening.
JAY SOWERS | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Susie Kimbrough, left, plays on the keyboard while Robert Paradise plays drums prior to a performance of The Historic Natchez Tableaux on Friday evening.

Pilgrimage Garden Club Tableaux Chairman Martha Salters said the entire Tableaux family is still grieving Davis’ death.

“We lost Mickey back in January when we just started to prepare for the show,” Salters said. “It is important for our heritage to move on and keep it going for our children, but there is still a missing piece.”

Even after Davis moved to Arkansas, he and his wife Kati would drive back and forth during Spring Pilgrimage to continue performing in the production.

Chairman of Natchez Garden Club Tableaux Committee Kim McAndrews said that Davis’ love for Tableaux was evident in his music.

“Mickey was such an integral part of the live music, and his personality bled into his performance,” McAndrews said. “Indeed, another chapter of the Tableaux music history has been closed, and a new chapter has begun in this 2013 Pilgrimage Season.”

Tableaux volunteers said Davis was a talented musician and champion fiddler who enjoyed all kinds of music.

The Trace of Natchez Ensemble director Susie Kimbrough had a special relationship with Davis that extended beyond the City Hall Auditorium.

“I met Mickey when he began teaching my daughter violin,” Kimbrough said. “He was an exceptional teacher, person and friend. I still miss him.”

The Tableaux cast decided to dedicate the 2013 Historic Natchez Tableaux in honor of Davis and his service to the show.

Cast member and Showboat Captain Kearby Swofford said that the cast could never thank Davis enough for his dedication to Tableaux.

“We owe him and his wife a great debt,” Swofford said. “We aren’t professionals, but if anyone would say ‘On with the show,’ it would be Mickey.”

Kimbrough said that although Davis is no longer with them, his presence still lingers throughout the show.

“Every program he gave his all, and at the end of every show he’d shout ‘What a band, what a band,’ Kimbrough said. “There are always kinks, but we give it our best, which is how Mickey would want it.”

Tableaux will continue at 8 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until April 6. Tickets for the production are $15 for adults and $7 for children.

  • Anonymous

    I must say that I never met Mr. Davis, but I was an admirer of his work! His playing was just incredible; he had a beautiful, full, rich tone. And his pitch was so good, which is NOT an easy job on the violin, because the instrument is always drifting in pitch and the violinist has to be able to compensate. And he did so, very well! and my fellow musicians all speak fondly about him, and also hold his ability in great esteem. Thanks, Mr. Davis- enjoyed your talent.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not a musician so I can’t speak to Mickey’s skill, however I knew Mickey fairly well and can say that he was one of the most dedicated people you will ever meet. He was one of those people that was always taking care of people and whatever they needed help with. He was a rock for his family and friends. Yes he will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.