Festival of Music event set for March 30

Published 12:01 am Monday, March 17, 2008

The brand-new Vidalia Conference and Convention Center will have added sparkle March 30, when the Natchez Festival of Music brings an exciting gala event to its halls.

On that Sunday evening you’ll be wined, dined and entertained like never before in this Miss-Lou. The night will begin with a wine tasting that includes hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, and entertainment by some of our professional May festival performers.

The evening continues with a four-course dinner: a salad of apples, beets and candied walnuts; a soup of curried eggplant; smoked pork tenderloin stuffed with dried fruits and currants; and white chocolate charlotte russe with raspberry sauce for dessert.

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But the true highlight of the evening will be the entertainment. Director David Shenton, the wonder-kind violinist, pianist, composer and arranger, has an illustrious cluster of stars to work with.

Christine Heath is renowned as a cross-over artist, equally at home with musical theater as well as opera. You’ll see her again as Laurey in “Oklahoma” in May.

Hilerie Rensi is a superb mezzo soprano whose credits include numerous award-winning portrayals of Gilbert and Sullivan roles.

Lucas Goodrich has performed as Tony in “West Side Story,” along with major tenor parts in “Romeo et Juliet,” “The Mikado,” and “The Rape of Lucretia.”

Stanley Wilson’s tenor tones seem to come effortlessly from this exciting and versatile singer. His repertoire ranges from Mozart to Cole Porter.

Souvik Mondle has performed in some of the greatest opera halls in the country. This baritone created the role of General Vallejo in the critically acclaimed world premiere of David Conte’s “The Dreamers.”

Our event begins at 4:45 p.m. on the Riverfront Promenade, then at 6:15 we’ll begin dinner, the concert and a live auction for patron ticket holders.

And speaking of tickets, you’re allowed to purchase tickets to the entire gala event or the wine tasting only. There will be light entertainment during the wine tasting, but you should definitely come for the entire dinner in order to get the full effect of this enthralling group of superbly talented performers.

Tickets for the wine tasting, with open bar and entertainment are $60 each or $100 per pair. Tickets for the wine tasting and gala dinner are $135 each or $250 per pair. All tickets can be purchased from the Natchez Visitors Center Ticket Shop at 640 S. Canal St. You may call them to make reservations at 601-446-6345.

Divas, delicacies, drinks and deals is a fundraiser for the Natchez Festival of Music. Its funds help bring professional opera and Broadway class performers to this area. Community support from Vidalia, Natchez and the greater Miss-Lou deserves recognition and appreciation.

Your contributions make the cultural and musical events and education outreach programs happen.

Come and join us for dinner and a taste of these magnificent artists.

Sam Jones is a board member for the Natchez Festival of Music.