Join us for a guild membership party

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Opera! Jazz! Broadway! The very sound of those words can lift the spirits and bring on anticipation of more great things to come during the 2008 Natchez Festival of Music. Next season promises another thrill-a-minute, pleasure-packed, ambitious schedule of presentations for all music lovers.

The festival will open with a presentation of the Educational Outreach program on May 3 at Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center. This will be an opportunity for the general public to see what the festival offers to thousands of school children each year. On May 4, the Alcorn State University Concert Choir will present an extravaganza of spiritual and gospel music at St. Mary Basilica. May 10 will bring performances of two short operas, “Bluebeard’s Castle and The Telephone.” The Broadway offering on May 16 and 17 will be the ever-popular “Oklahoma!,” starring Nat Chandler and Christine Heath, and the closing opera on May 31 will be “Cosi fan tutte.” Rounding out the month will be plantation recitals (one featuring the music of “Phantom of the Opera”), Night of Stars, Command Performance, an evening of New Orleans jazz, a sacred music concert at First Baptist Church, noon concerts for Together on Tuesdays at First Presbyterian Church, and a noon concert in Memorial Park.

I had the pleasure of attending and assisting with the annual festival auditions in New York City in October. The number of bright, talented and enthusiastic singers all vying to come to Natchez was overwhelming. It’s no wonder that Dr. David Blackburn can boast that he is able to pick the “best of the best” for Natchez! Many of these singers were auditioning for a return engagement in Natchez, and others commented that they heard wonderful things about Natchez and its hospitality from their colleagues who have been here.

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Our Festival of Music is certainly known in music circles there, but this festival doesn’t happen without the volunteers who tend to every detail to make it work. The board of directors of the festival works diligently to raise funds and carry on the business of the organization. The Natchez Festival of Music Guild are the worker bees who organize the many details associated with housing artists, transporting them to and from the airports, stocking the kitchen at Margaret Martin, raising funds — you get the picture.

You are invited to a guild membership party from 5:30 to 7 p.m., on Thursday, at 208 South Union St., the home of Pam and Gary Wood. Cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres will be served and you will have an opportunity to enjoy the company of other music lovers, learn more about the guild, and become a member or renew your membership. (Dr. Blackburn has promised to provide one or two of his singers for some musical entertainment, too!)

Please join us on Nov. 29 as we begin preparation for an exciting Festival of Music in 2008!

Diana Glaze is the secretary of the board of directors Natchez Festival of Music.