Start your season with Christmas Cabaret

Published 12:38 am Sunday, November 27, 2016

Christmas is upon us and what better way to get into the spirt than with songs of the season during the Natchez Festival of Music’s annual Christmas Cabaret  at  7 p.m. Friday.  The Christmas Cabaret will be directed by Joseph Britain with vocalists John Christopher Adams, MaryAnn Kyle and Jennifer Hart and will be narrated by Jennifer Ogden Combs.

Emmy award-winning film and television producer Jennifer Ogden Combs is the executive director of the Natchez Tricentennial Commission and interim director of the Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Combs is a frequent keynote and motivational speaker, addressing issues of leadership, career building, film and youth. She has taught master classes in film in New York, Los Angeles, the Taiwan National University of the Arts and serves on the advisory board of several university and arts organizations. In November 2008, Combs was inducted into the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Broadcasting and Journalism Hall of Fame.

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Her humanitarian work is evidenced by Combs’s volunteer efforts following Hurricane Katrina. She produced and coordinated documentary shooting with Whoopi Goldberg and Penelope Spheeris on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as a part of Mississippi Rising, which ultimately raised over $15 million dollars for relief efforts in Mississippi. The work she did in her hometown earned her the Key to the City for her contributions to relief efforts in Natchez.

Since returning to Natchez in 2008 to join her husband, Robert, and daughter, Carleigh, Combs has volunteered her time in the community. Combs is actively involved with community initiatives supporting education, the arts and youth programs and has served on numerous boards, including the United Way, Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, the Boys & Girls Clubs, the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration and others.

Joseph Britain graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1984 with a degree in accounting, yet has never worked as an accountant due to his passion for music.  Joseph is a performer and prolific arranger, appearing with and writing for The Mississippi, Alabama, Utah and Tampa symphony orchestras.

John Christopher Adams is a native of Fannin and holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Mississippi College, a master’s degree in vocal performance and an artistic diploma in opera from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music. Adams has received several honors including being named the nation’s top performer by the International Thespian Society in 2001, being inducted into the Mississippi Thespian Hall of Fame along with many others honors.

Maryann Kyle is an active performer of opera, concert and recital repertoire and a professor of voice at the University of Southern Mississippi where she is director of the Southern Opera and Music Theatre Company’s outreach and workshop program. Kyle also serves on the faculty of the International Performing Arts Institute in Germany, Operafestival di Roma in Italy and was a featured clinician at the Festival Musica nas Montanhas in Brazil. In 2014, Kyle assumed leadership of the International Belt Voice Symposium in Kiefersfelden, Germany, as a part of IPAI.

Jennifer Hart is a voice instructor at Jones County Junior College and has served as the music director for numerous productions with Hattiesburg Civic Light Opera, Southern Opera and Musical Theatre Company.  Her performing career includes several productions during FestivalSouth, the San Antonio Symphony. the Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece, and a regular contributor for the Natchez Christmas Cabaret.

The Christmas Cabaret will begin at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. with a cash bar at the Natchez Community Center at 215 Franklin St. You are welcome to bring your own food trays or a limited number of trays will be available for purchase at the event.

Tickets are available for $35 or $300 for a table of 10 and may be purchased in advance by visiting, calling 888-718-4253, visiting any of our ticket partners, Natchez Pilgrimage Tours, Tourology, or Destination Natchez or at the door. Table decorations are not required but are encouraged and may be done between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday with a first place prize of one ticket to all 2017 Main Stage events for best decorated table.

Don’t miss the Alcorn State University Concert Choir’s annual Christmas Concert at 7 p.m. Sunday at St. Mary Basilica, 107 South Union St.  There is no cost to attend, making this a not to miss holiday tradition!
Katie Johnson McCabe is the Natchez Festival of Music chairman of marketing and publicity.