Music fest’s final week events

Published 12:27 am Sunday, May 20, 2018

As we enter our last week of the The Natchez Festival of Music, we could say we saved the best for last, but every show and event has been outstanding.

This past weekend we celebrated the sold-out Lerner and Loewe event “Almost Like Being in Love” at The Towers and with the show-stopping rendition of “Send in the Clowns” from “A Little Night Music.” 

With that music still ringing in our ears, we are ready to waltz into our final week of the 2018 season. We thank all who have attended so far and encourage everyone to turn out for this week’s events and our Grand Finale Opera, “Faust,” on Saturday.

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Our final “Rossini, Puccini and Martinis” showcase is 7 p.m. Tuesday. We’ll head to the Natchez Visitors’ Center at 640 S. Canal St. for top-notch performances from Cory Trahan, Laura Zahn, Andrew Wannigman, Christina Overton, Gabrielle Richardson, Wesley Saunders, Rahim Mandal and Thomas Hadzeriga. Admission is $15.

From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday we’re back at Bowie’s for “Rockin’ On The River.” This week Anne Freeman and The Garbage Sons bring their unique songwriting flair and Indie rock sound to Natchez. This band, based in Oxford, has recently recorded its first album and are working to announce its release date. Members include Anne Freeman, Eric Carlton, Kell Kellum, Harrison Smith and Ben Yarbrough. Admission is $8.

At 7 p.m. Thursday we are calling all guitar lovers to Smoot’s, 319 N. Broadway. Barry Leach will be “Makin’ It…Sing!” as he entertains and amazes with his “eclectic” guitar skills. Leach has made a reputation as a guitarist’s guitarist and is well-known for his versatile technique in rock, pop, jazz and classical music. He’ll perform a variety of original solo guitar pieces, well-known songs, and vocals. He has been voted multiple times as “Best Musician” by the Jackson Free Press, released two albums with the jazz-soul ensemble The Vamps, and a Jazz album as “The Barry Leach Group.” In addition, Leach has performed or recorded with numerous artists such as the Dee Barton Orchestra, HBO, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Carmine Appice and Dorothy Moore. Admission is $15.

Attention: Friday’s event is free and open to the public. You don’t need tickets, just march on over to the Natchez Performing Arts Center at Margaret Martin at 7 p.m. for “A Night in the Big Easy,” a special concert saluting the New Orleans Tricentennial. Topsy Chapman & Solid Harmony, along with The Arrowhead Jazz Band (comprised of musicians/park rangers from the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park) and other musicians from the New Orleans Jazz scene will be serving up the swinging, stomping, syncopated beat of N’awlins-style Jazz. The National Park Service sponsors this event.

Saturday our season concludes with the production of Charles Gounod’s French Grand Opera, “Faust.” This tangled tale of the supernatural, love, deception, damnation and ultimately redemption, begins with the elderly philosopher and metaphysician, Dr. Faust, making a rather rash deal with the devil in a fit of anger and despair. The hellish spirit, Mephistopheles, offers his help to seduce the innocent young maiden Marguerite — but only if Faust first agrees to become his servant in the afterlife. Gounod composed some of the most beautiful music in the repertoire for work, including the moving “Avant de quitter ces lieux,” the whimsical “Jewel Aria” and the iconic “Soldier’s Chorus.” The evening performance of “Faust” starts at 7 p.m. at the Natchez Performing Arts Center at Margaret Martin, 64 Homochitto Street. Come early and enjoy libations in the Grape Escape Club Room starting at 6 p.m. Admission is $30.

Learn more about our production of “Faust” at 10 a.m. Saturday with a lecture by Dr. Stan Hauer in the auditorium of the Performing Arts Center. Prior to the lecture “Mephisto’s Magic Mimosas,” the guaranteed elixir of youth, will be for sale in the Grape Escape clubroom. Meet members of the cast and crew and hear signature arias from this masterpiece.

Remember the children’s event 10 a.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 400 State Street. Admission is free. This Saturday is “Painting with Emotion,” when kids are invited to create, draw, or paint their own works of art inspired by music.

More information is available at Tickets range from $8-$30. All events offer $10 admission for students K-12, and college students and active military with a current ID.

Celebrate this final week of our Festival of Music with great shows Tuesday through Saturday. Get your tickets before the curtain closes.

Scott Skiba is stage director of “Faust” for the Natchez Festival of Music.