Live music takes stage again at Historic Pageant

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 8, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Mickey Davis believes his quartet, A Trace of Natchez, and the Historic Natchez Pageant can create beautiful music together.

Tonight, for the first time since the mid-1990s, the pageant will feature live music instead of compact discs for accompaniment.

Actually, violinist Mickey Davis; wife Katie Davis, who plays the viola; keyboardist Susie Kimbrough; and cellist Tim McGivern have been involved in music in one way or another since they were children.

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&uot;We’ve been working on this about three or four weeks now,&uot; said Davis who, along with his fellow performers, will have to play for 18 nights during the event. &uot;But in a way, we’ve been practicing for this all our lives.&uot;

And when Davis visited the pageant last year for the first time &045; to see his grandchildren perform &045; he knew exactly what the collage of skits and dance performances needed. Later in the year, Betsy Holleman &045; who chairs the pageant with Stephanie Butts and Elizabeth Swalman &045; heard of Davis’ interest and took him up on the offer.

After all, they had been interested for quite some time in finding musicians to perform live for the annual Pilgrimage event.

&uot;There’s more spontaneity, more bounce with your step, when there’s live music,&uot; Holleman said.

&uot;It’s a lot more lively, more real,&uot; Butts added. An added bonus is that, unlike CDs, live music can be adjusted in tempo to accommodate what’s taking place on the stage, Davis pointed out.

Not only is A Trace of Natchez playing pageant music &045; they are also compiling a book of the music so it will be in written form for generations of musicians to come.

Live music stopped in the mid-1990s when musicians that had been performing for years got older and less able to perform on all 18 nights of the pageant, pilgrimage officials said.