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Area children offered music experience

Beginning April 14 through April 25, more than 7,000 children in kindergarten through sixth grade in southwest Mississippi and Concordia Parish will experience music as never before — all part of the Natchez Festival of Music education outreach program.

This year’s children’s opera, The Bremen Town Musicians, is the operatic version of The Town Musicians of Bremen, with music by J. Offenbach, G. Rossini, G. Donizetti, A. Sullivan and G. Verdi.

It is the story of four farm animals — a rooster, cat, dog and donkey — brought together by fate and forced by necessity to set aside their differences and pull together as a team while recognizing their diversity and exercising tolerance.

This is a celebration of friendship, cooperation, respect for others and teamwork for problem-solving.

The Bremen Town Musicians is one of many children’s operas written by John Davies.

His children’s operas are performed across the country, feature strategies for dealing with myriad social issues and promote acts of kindness.

Davies, librettist for the opera, selected the words for the opera, using arias from famous operas and the music of the very best composers.

For these roles, professional musicians Caitlin Feisman, Jonathan Hill, Jami Leonard and Alex Adams-Leytes auditioned in New York with Dr. Jay Dean, the Festival’s artistic director.

Jonathan Levin returns to the festival this year as the artistic director/accompanist for the program, while the stage director will be Diana Glaze and the stage manager is Tom Dungan.

April 14-18 performances will be at Franklin County Lower Elementary and Franklin County Upper Elementary in Franklin County, at North Pike Elementary in Summit, at Brookhaven Elementary, Brookhaven Academy and the Mississippi School of Arts in Brookhaven, at Jefferson County Elementary School in Fayette and at Vidalia Lower and Vidalia Upper Schools in Concordia Parish.

Public and private schools in Adams County will attend performances together. Performances on April 21-25 will be at Braden Auditorium, 10 Homochitto St. in Natchez, with students from the following schools in attendance to enjoy this production: Adams County Christian School, Cathedral Elementary, Frazier Elementary, McLaurin Elementary, Morgantown Middle, Robert Lewis Magnet School, Trinity Episcopal Day School, West Elementary, as well as Wilkinson County Christian School and Centreville.

The public is invited to attend any of the performances at Braden Auditorium. The halls will be ringing with music and laughter!

The schedule, including times, is posted on the Festival’s website at natchezfestivalofmusic.com.

For more information, go to the “Outreach” or “Fat Lady for Young Patrons” tab on the Festival’s website.


Bobbye Wynn is a retired music teacher from the Natchez-Adams School District and chairwoman of Children’s Outreach Program for the Natchez Festival of Music.