Music festival brings variety, fun all weekend

Published 1:01 am Thursday, May 10, 2018

NATCHEZ — Every day this weekend has something different for Natchezians to hear, taste and feel as they dance to the sound of music in many genres.

The Natchez Festival of Music has a succession of events this weekend, beginning with organist Joseph Britain’s performance called Phantom and Beyond at 7 tonight at First Presbyterian Church.

Diana Glaze, festival chairman, said Britain will turn the traditional church organ into an orchestra of keys and pedals that perform a seamless stream of melodies — including timeless classics and Broadway hits.

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“Joseph has been playing for the Natchez Festival of Music for some time,” Glaze said. “His first love is the organ. … This going to be an excellent performance.”

The following night, this season’s music festival will revisit one of last year’s hit productions, the British Invasion of Natchez that told the musical history of how famous British bands invaded America, starting with the arrival of the Beatles in 1964.

British Invasion of Natchez II: Sgt. Pepper Onward starts at 7 p.m. Friday in the Margaret Martin Performing Arts Center, where attendees will hear more songs of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Who followed by later generations of English artists.

Created by Robert Sizemore and Paromita Saha-Killelea — the British Invasion of Natchez II: Sgt. Pepper Onward features local talent in a continuation of the previous festival’s hit production, Glaze said.

“British Invasion II is picking up where the last British invasion left off,” she said, “moving into the next era of music.”

Glaze said Natchezians can put on their dancing shoes for Saturday’s event, Havanah Nights: Salseros del Sur.

Salsa musicians including John Wooton, Sam Bruton, Larry Panella, T.J. Tesh, Chris Werle, Sergio Flores and Alex Ocon introduce a whole new flavor of tunes to the festival.

“This is supposed to be the hottest salsa band in the state,” Glaze said. “I have not heard them yet, and I cannot wait.”

The show features a spicy blend of Afro-Cuban, Mambo, Cha-chas, Boleros and Jazz music.

Tickets to all Natchez Festival of Music events can be purchased at

By Sabrina Simms