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Come enjoy Natchez Festival of Music

“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.”  This was the sentiment of Maria Augusta Von Trapp, the stepmother and matriarch of the Trapp Family Singers, whose story became the basis for one of the most popular musicals of all time, The Sound of Music.  As we begin the 29th season of the Natchez Festival of Music, we continue to search for the very keys that will open hearts and entertain music lovers in varied genres.

This Festival is, and always has been, an achievement of volunteerism in its finest form.  This exceptional spirit is exemplified in the donation of time and energy from the monthly obligations of the Board of Directors to the volunteers during the Festival and other special events.  For all those who give of their time and efforts, I am truly grateful.

The other important aspect of our continuity is that of our generous donors.  Because of their continued support, we are able to present these special events.  This year we mourn the loss of one of our dear friends, Dr. J. Neil Varnell, who was a constant and steady friend of the Natchez Festival of Music.  We always shall be grateful for his consideration of the Festival, and this year’s opera will be dedicated to him.

Once again Dr. Jay Dean, our artistic director, has assembled a cast of talented emerging artists and a staff of production technicians intent on working their magic for you, our patrons.

We open this season May 4 with 9-time Grammy winners, Asleep at the Wheel.  This group keeps audiences moving with their own brand of Texas swing and boogie-woogie.  On May 10 we shall celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, so pick out your best hippie outfit and come hear the Festival singers and band, featuring Vasti Jackson as Jimi Hendrix.  May 17 brings the Stephen Sondheim musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.  This musical is fast-paced and hilarious!  Closing night, May 25, we shall present the ever-popular opera, La Boheme, featuring Festival favorite, Peter Lake, as Rodolfo.  These four mainstage events will be held at City Auditorium.  Other events in other venues feature a salute to the Liberace centennial, three Rockin’ on the River events featuring local musicians, three Rossini, Puccini, and Martinis events featuring Festival singers, a chamber music concert at Temple B’Nai Israel, Music from the Silver Screen at The Towers, and events for children each Saturday morning.  We have a last-minute addition for Mother’s Day – a presentation of the Great American Songbook.

For information on all events, go to our website at natchezfestivalofmusic.com.  Tickets may be purchased at bontempstix.com or at the door.  The ticket site may be reached directly or linked from our website.

This has been a challenging season without the use of our Performing Arts Center.  We owe special thanks to our Mayor and Board of Aldermen and all the businesses and entities who stepped up to make certain that we had spaces for our special events, rehearsals, set-building and storage, costumes, and feeding of our artists.  This proves the success  not only of the Festival, but of the City!

Diana Glaze is the chairman of the Natchez Festival of Music.

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