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May is a special month for art lovers

If you love top-notch, colorful but soothing art that pops, New Orleans Jazz, bronzes and sculpture that capture deep emotion, then this May is your special month!

The first event is from 7 to 9 p.m. May 3 at Magnolia Bluffs Casino in the Cypress Mill Italian Steakhouse and 180 Lounge as the sun sets on the Mississippi River. The Natchez Festival of Music will unveil and auction off its commissioned original watercolor by Marina and Chris Cavette. This piece is the first of a series of commemorative works. A “hint” is posted at natchezfestivalofmusic.com under the “News” tab. Signed and numbered posters of this fabulous work will also be available for purchase, but the first 10 will be auctioned. Admission to this festival kick-off event is free, but an RSVP by April 28 to Mary Lessley at marylessley@yahoo.com or 601-442-4272 is needed to accommodate attendees. Adult refreshments and fare will be served, compliments of Magnolia Bluffs Casino, which will also provide Free $10 FreePlay from the Magnolia Bluffs Casino Players Club, limited to one per attendee and valid only on the evening of this event.

Then, on each of the following three Monday mornings, renowned artist Rolland Golden will announce his selection of one of his special Jazz pieces, which will be placed in silent auction for that week. The piece will be on display for viewing at The Rolland Golden Gallery, 419 Main St. beginning that Monday and continuing until such time that the piece is moved on the following Saturday to that night’s event venue. Bids will be accepted beginning at the time the item is placed in silent auction, continuing until the Saturday night event. Bids start at 50 percent of the Rolland Golden list price.

To commemorate the Festival’s finale event, the Festival commissioned Columbia native Ben Watts to create an original, one-of-a kind sculpture of Rigoletto and his daughter Gilda in the final tragic scene from Verdi’s opera “Rigoletto.”

This breathtaking piece, which rips with emotion, will be unveiled and auctioned on Sunday, May 19 at the 4 p.m. Musical Wine Tasting event at Briarvue overlooking the Mississippi River. This back-by-popular-demand, sure-to-sell-out quickly, ticketed event leads patrons right into the final festival week for Drago’s Tango on Friday, May 24 and Verdi’s Rigoletto and the Finale Gala on Saturday, May 25.

As always, the festival website features other quality gifts in the way of the photograph of Bud Scott Band at the first Natchez Pilgrimage and a number of Ben Watts bronzes.

For more information, go to natchezfestivalofmusic.com with particular attention to the “News,” “Tickets and Events” and “Gifts and More” tabs.

We can’t wait to see you there…and thank you for supporting the arts and particularly the performers!


Mary Lessley is president of the Natchez Festival of Music.