Weekend Ticket: Motown music event set for weekend

Published 12:02 am Thursday, May 11, 2017

By Christian Coffman

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Motown’s iconic American music will arrive Saturday at the Natchez Festival of Music.

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At 7 p.m. Saturday, the festival will present “From Mississippi to Motown” at the Natchez Performing Arts Center.

Natchez Festival of Music President Mary Lessley said the idea for the event came from board members Robert Sizemore and his wife, Kathy Killelea-Sizemore.

Kathy’s father, the late Dr. Donald Killelea, was a past president of the festival, and she and her husband put the script together for Saturday night.

“It was Kathy’s idea to do a Motown event,” Lessley said. “Both of them did extensive research, and some quotes from the Berry Gordy’s autobiography are included verbatim in the show.”

Mayor Darryl Grennell will emcee the event and portray Berry Gordy, the founder of the Motown record label. Grennell will give a brief presentation of the history of Motown music, which will include different examples of the music.

Lessley said some of the bigger artists the Motown label recorded were from Mississippi.

“Of the music that Mississippi has produced over the years, that was a huge era,” Lessley said. “I think the state has contributed (more), if not the most, (than) of any other state to produce big name entertainers.”

G.C. Cameron, a singer for The Spinners and later The Temptations, will be at the event to perform.

“From Mississippi to Motown” will also pay homage to some of the more famous Mississippi natives, including David and Jimmy Ruffin of The Temptations and Mary Wilson of The Supremes.

Doors to the Natchez Performing Arts Center will open at 6 p.m., along with the Grape Escape club room, where a cash bar and light refreshments will be available. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at natchezfestivalofmusic.com.

“We want everyone to know the festival is here to support all sorts of music,” Lessley said. “As we looked up in our research, there are so many musicians from Mississippi that made it big in the world.”