Music guild hosting after hours party

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Natchez Festival of Music Guild would like to invite you to an after hours/membership party at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, at the Presbyterian Manse at 307 South Rankin St., on the corner of Orleans and Rankin streets, owned by Tim Chesteen.

The guild is the part of the Natchez Festival of Music organization which is open to all and which provides support for the many exciting activities of the festival. We welcome you to come Thursday to learn about the upcoming season of fabulous music and to enjoy meeting Rick Estes, the festival coordinator, who will return to Natchez and will be working with George Hogan, our artistic director.

And what an exciting year is in store for everyone this year as the festival celebrates its 20th season!

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Songs of the South will be presented between April 6 and 11 as part of the Natchez Pilgrimage entertainment. On April 25 the Alcorn State University Concert Choir and Jazz Band will have its spring concert.

As part of its educational outreach program each year, the festival has an opera that is presented to all students in grades kindergarten through sixth in Natchez and many surrounding communities during the last two weeks of April.

A public performance of this opera, SHOT, inspired by the national Safe Streets programs, will take place on May 1. At noon throughout May there are many free events: Together on Tuesdays each Tuesday, Brown Bag Concert by the River at the Vidalia Amphitheater, Concert in the Park with George, and La Bohme: Pre-Opera Chat.

A special event will be a reception on May 18, Celebration of Bud Scott, with the Festival Jazz Group in conjunction with NAPAC, the Natchez Garden Club, the Pilgrimage Garden Club and the Historic Natchez Foundation. Each weekend in May will be wonderful.

There are Night of Stars and Command Performance, concerts by the most outstanding singers of the first two weeks and the last two weeks of May, respectfully. There will be a Big Band Dance with the St. Joseph Jazzers, a two-part contest among the young artists — Death by Aria and Stars of Tomorrow.

Of course, the main performances of the year are the Broadway musical Man of La Mancha on May 15 and the beloved opera La Bohme on May 29, followed by a final gala. There is something for every kind of music lover, and it will all be wonderful!

We encourage your participation and enthusiastic support of the Natchez Festival of Music as it continues to bring to Natchez a large number of outstanding musicians who have performed throughout the nation and the world.

During May, these world-class singers also perform for nursing homes, churches, civic organizations and many other groups.

The guild organizes fundraising activities throughout the year to support the festival and cares for the artists during the season. Among other activities, we had a great Country Music Band, “Wild Horses,” for a dance and concert; and have recently had a Valentine’s Party, “It’s All About Love.”

Possibly the greatest pleasure of being a member of the guild is having many opportunities to interact personally with the wonderful artists who come to Natchez each year and give so generously of their talents to enrich our lives.

We hope that you will join the guild and be a part of the tradition of sharing this great music which contributes tremendously to the economic and cultural quality of life in Natchez and the surrounding areas.

I look forward to seeing you Thursday.

Rena Jean Schmieg is the president of the Natchez Festival of Music Guild.