Submitted photo — Guitarist Daniel Schroeder and vocalist Melanie Gardner wil serenade the crowd during the sixth annual Valentine’s Day gala to be hosted at the Bailey House. This year’s theme ties into the stained glass window of the house.
Submitted photo — Guitarist Daniel Schroeder and vocalist Melanie Gardner wil serenade the crowd during the sixth annual Valentine’s Day gala to be hosted at the Bailey House. This year’s theme ties into the stained glass window of the house.

Get romantic at Valentine’s Day gala

Published 12:02am Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Love don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

At least that’s the thought surrounding the Natchez Festival of Music Guild’s sixth annual Valentine’s Day gala, which will feature a New Orleans-based musical duo known for its jazz standards and cover tunes.

The gala, which will be 7 p.m., Feb. 14, will be hosted at The Bailey House, the home of Dr. Jack and Linda Rodriguez.

The house, built in 1897 and recognized as one of the grandest examples in Mississippi of Colonial Revival architecture, provides the setting for a bit of swinging music just under, appropriately, swinging art.

The Bailey House features a large stained glass window, created by Von Gerichten Art Glass Company, based on a painting known as “The Swing” by Manjit Mehndiratta, which hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The painting was inspired by “Paul et Virginie,” or Paul and Virginia, a novel by French author Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre first published in 1787. The novel’s main characters are childhood friends who grow up on an isolated tropical island paradise and fall in love.

“The theme ties into the stained glass window depicting a lady in a swing being pushed by a man,” festival board member Stephanie Butts said. “The window and house provide such a great venue for the gala.”

Vocalist Melanie Gardner and guitarist Daniel Schroeder will entertain those attending the gala.

The Melanie & Daniel musical duo of New Orleans was formed in 2010 and has played at bars, restaurants, weddings and private parties throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama.

The duo performs everything from jazz to pop making it the perfect fit for the evening, festival board member Virginia Benoist said.

“(Artistic Director) Jay Dean found the group, and he really knows how to find good people for all our events,” Benoist said. “We’re really pushing to get the younger crowds, so we’re hoping they’re going to be the perfect fit.”

The gala will also have a live auction by auctioneer Rusty Jenkins featuring a variety of items up for bid.

“The gala is the festival’s largest fundraising event of the year,” Butts said. “Money raised (at the gala) will be used to support the performers, musicians and stage crews.

“Funds are also used for event venues, costumes and sets.”

Elegant hors d’oeuvres provided by Susanna Sharp of Aunt Suzie’s Catering will be served, and ticket prices include spirits and wine at an open bar. The Bailey House is located at 400 S. Commerce St.

A limited number of tickets are available. Tickets are $100 per person or $95 each if purchased as a couple. Tickets can be purchased through Natchez Pilgrimage Tours at 601-446-6631, 1-800-647-6742 or at the Natchez Visitor Reception Center at 640 S. Canal St. Visit natchezfestivalofmusic.com for more information.

The Natchez Festival of Music is a non-profit organization created in 1990 that provides opera, Broadway and jazz performances in the Natchez area.