Illustration by Ben HIllyer
Illustration by Ben Hillyer

Dance of decades set for May 24 NHS reunion

Published 12:04am Wednesday, April 23, 2014

From the “Jitterbug rockers to the Woodstockers,” the Natchez High School classes of the 1960s are planning the “dance of the decades” next month in Natchez.

The classes of 1960-1969 are invited to a reunion at the Natchez City Auditorium, a memorable landmark for late 1950s and early 1960s teens, said organizer Jack Kelly of the class of 1961.

The auditorium housed the Teen Scene, a free dance for teens, hosted by WMIS radio station on Saturday nights.

“Kids from Ferriday, Vidalia, Natchez and even Fayette came to that thing,” Kelly said. “I can tell you it’s one of the best memories I have.”

Memories at the Monmouth Drive-in, prom night and more will give the former classmates plenty of chances to reminisce about their glory days.

Class of 1965 graduate and organizer Ronnie Boutwell said the reunion started as a gathering of the classes of 1963-1967.

“Then people on both sides of those classes started saying they wanted to come, so we just turned it into a reunion for entire decade,” he said.

The Tams, an R&B and soul group popular during the 1960s and 1970s, will be playing the reunion. Boutwell decided to book the group after seeing them play his wife’s class reunion in Yazoo City a few years ago.

“We used to have them up at Ole Miss, and they were just great,” he said. “They’re a show band, and you just can’t help but dance to them.”

The Tams are sure to make the night worth the trip, but Boutwell said the best part of the reunion will be seeing familiar faces from his youth.

“There are people in my class that I probably haven’t seen since high school or college, and that was 50 years ago,” he said. “We’re just getting old fast … and we decided we’re just going to fix it where everybody has to come to Natchez, and if they miss it, they’re going to really hear it from their classmates.”

The reunion is May 24, and Kelly said everyone from the “Jitterbug rockers to the Woodstockers” are sure to be there.

“I really just can’t wait to be in the same room with everyone,” she said.

Registration for the reunion is $50 a person and includes the dance and assorted finger food. A cash bar will also be available.

Registration information, including name, guests and class year, along with a check for the fee can be sent to Reunion of the 60s, P.O. Box 17977, Natchez, MS, 39122.

At registration, attendees will get a color-coded name tag to help them find classmates. Members of these classes may invite classmates from different decades at the same price.

A reception for early arrivals will be at BriarVue May 23. Complimentary hors d’oeuvre and a cash bar will be available.