Help us make 25th year incredible

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Natchez Festival of Music is celebrating its 25th anniversary. We would like to invite you to join the celebration. “Love in Bloom,” our 2015 fundraiser, benefit dinner, live and silent auctions and show will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Carriage House Restaurant.

Chef Bingo Starr will prepare a delicious meal featuring his 48-hour Angus Beef Pot Roast, amazing sides and a decadent dessert. Cocktails will be available throughout the evening at the cash bar.

Robert Grayson, Grammy-award winning tenor, our own treasure and Mississippi native Crystal Morris, and rising star tenor Jonathan Ray will wow patrons and guests with songs from the most beloved Broadway Musicals and cherished Operettas.

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Morris and Ray, with Grayson at the keyboard, will sing selections from Gershwin, Porter, and Gilbert and Sullivan— just to name a few. Just try leaving without humming the tunes.

Once the dinner and show gave concluded, the fun will continue as the live auction begins.

Natchez’ own auctioneer extraordinaire, Rusty Jenkins, will use his finely tuned skill of friendly persuasion to assist the festival in meeting its fundraising goal. Live auction packages include a week (five days and five nights) at “Aventura Mexicana” Playa del Carmen, Mexico donated by Warren Ruether (owners of Monmouth Plantation); a week at Broadmoor Condominium, Perdido Key, Fla., donated by Bill and Bobbye Henley; a weekend stay at Marcia’s Cottages, 412 Pearl St., Natchez donated by Marcia McCullough (including a $20 gift certificate from Cotton Alley Restaurant, a $40 gift certificate from Magnolia Grill Restaurant and a mixology class for two at King’s Tavern with a tour of the Charboneau Rum Distillery); from our dear friends at Frogmore Cotton Plantation and Gins, a one week condo stay somewhere in the United States, Caribbean, Mexico or a foreign country at an RCI International affiliated resort, location depending on availability, plane fare is not included, one year to decide where and when. And a special package kindly offered by the folks at Dunleith.

A silent auction is an integral part of the 2015 festival fundraiser. Thanks to the generosity and support of our local artists, the festival is delighted that each silent auction item is made and donated by a Natchez community artists, including David Atkins, Hedy Boelte, Kevin L. Brodeur, D.W. Bryant, Shirley Byrne, Esther Carpenter, Marina Cavette, Mark Coffey, Sherri Crabtree, Ann Failace, Carolyn Gwin, Brenda Hicks, Amanda Jeansonne, Barbara Kaiser, Sandy Lane, T.G. McCary, Sarah Meriwether, Lana Stamper, Wesley Steckler, Tom Taylor, Melissa Vaughan and Patty Killelea Willard.

This year we will continue giving Miss-Lou citizens and tourists the opportunity to experience a diversity of cultural and educational events that rival larger cities throughout the world.

National, international, metropolitan, professional and up-coming young artists have traveled to Natchez to share overwhelmingly superior talents, not only in the May season events, but while here, they contribute and volunteer to perform in our churches, our civic club meetings, restaurants, private parties and local businesses. These guest artists are truly ambassadors for the City of Natchez sharing our own special Natchez hospitality as they perform and travel around the world.

The annual fundraiser is vital to the continuation of the Natchez Festival of Music.  Proceeds from the event helps cover costs of the professional artist’s salaries, venues, sets, costumes, orchestra, rentals, traveling expenses for guest artist, as well as the usual expenses for any business—insurance, utilities, maintenance, and the like.

The cost of this event is only $75 — $40 tax deductible — per person. Please buy your tickets today because seating is limited.

Tickets may be purchased at Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, 640 S. Canal St., or by calling 601-446-6631.

The Festival of Music’s board members appreciate your support. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you Saturday for “Love in Bloom!” as we begin our 25th anniversary celebration year.


Stephanie Butts is a board member with the Festival of Music.