May is one of my favorite times of the year at Natchez! The flowers are blooming, our forests and fields are green and lush, and the summer heat has not yet fully set in. Add in the return of incredibly talented musical artists arriving for our annual month-long Natchez Music Festival, and our beautiful spring is over!
Now in his 31’sst year, the Natchez Music Festival has long been the premier sponsor of live music, theater and world-class artists, helping to provide Natchez and the entire Miss-Lou area with events such as operas, operettas, Broadway musicals, jazz, recitals and special concerts. Thousands of people can thus refer to a great musical memory – more than 30 years of concerts, that’s a long time and a lot of concerts!
The theme of this year’s festival is “Music Passports – Music from Around the World”. This is truly one of the most diverse ranges as we celebrate different styles encompassing every hemisphere around the world. Of course, the Festival wouldn’t be complete without its core genres of opera, show music and classical music, but this year’s program also includes blues, gospel, oriental music, pop, folk, dance music and classic rock.
The first event kicks off on April 30 with “The Magic of Opera”. Exceptional singers will perform Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, Puccini, Bizet, Strauss, Wagner, etc. On May 10, more beautiful tunes mixed with your favorite libations will be presented at “Rossini, Puccini and Martinis”. The Impromtu Piano Trio will present magnificent piano trios during the “Musical Chocolates” event on Saturday May 14th. .
If you’re a fan of musicals, you won’t want to miss “Sincerely, Stephen Sondheim” featuring the Hub City Players on May 7 or “Over the Rainbow” where Melanie Gardner and TK Trio will celebrate the life of Judy Garland. If you want to experience music from around the world, “Reflections of China” with pianist Zhaolei Xie (May 5) and “It Takes Two to Tango” with The Kontra Duo are fantastic events not to be missed.
There is also plenty of room for rock and groove this year. On Tuesday, May 3, local legends YZ Ealey and Alvin Shelby will get you moving with “The First Heartbeat,” a blues and gospel concert. “Feel the Earth Move” will take place on May 12 with amazing writing by Carole King. Finally, this year’s Music Festival will rock you with “Forever – The Music of Queen”.
I look forward to attending many of these wonderful events. Hope to see you at one of these concerts as we celebrate the universal language of music! When it comes to music, Natchez really deserves more!
For more information on times, tickets and locations, visit the Natchez Festival of Music website, www.natchezfestivalofmusic.com.
Dan Gibson is mayor of Natchez.