St. Mary to host free choral concert next week

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 15, 2017

By Christian Coffman

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — St. Mary Basilica invites the public to a free concert by the Mississippi Chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association.

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The performance, which begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the church on Main and Union streets, will be on the last day of the chapter’s state conference in Natchez.

The Rev. Leopold Keffler said this will be the fifth year St. Mary’s will host the musical program.

Keffler is taking over the Rev. David O’Connor’s duties while O’Connor is on vacation.

Keffler said approximately 50 directors will participate with Dr. Jerry Blackstone leading.

“The professionals are all choral directors, from all throughout the south east (Mississippi),” he said.

Blackstone is the headline clinician this year, selected by the ACDA to lead the performance.

He is a Grammy award-winning conductor from the University of Michigan.

President of the Mississippi Chapter of the ACDA Catherine Feazell said her chapter is comprised of approximately 200 choral directors from around the state.

“These members direct choirs at all levels: K-12 grades, community, church and collegiate,” Feazell said.

Keffler said the church looks forward to the concert at the end of the three-day conference.

“For us it is certainly outreach by providing a musical experience, and an outreach from the association to show what Mississippi musicians can do,” Keffler said.

Feazell said the summer program was started five years ago as an opportunity for summer professional development for choir directors in the state.

“Natchez was chosen as the host location for the conference because of its appeal as a vacation destination and its close proximity to choral director colleagues in Louisiana,” Feazell said.