Local Musical Artists to Highlight Southern Sounds at Natchez Trace Parkway

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TUPELO, MS – The Natchez Trace Parkway has partnered with local musicians to showcase the diversity of music in the Southeast. During the Parkway’s 75th anniversary celebration on May 18, 2013, musicians will lead visitors on a musical journey from the Appalachians to rock ‘n roll.

The morning will begin with the National Anthem, sung by Jackson, Mississippi’s Dr. Lester Senter, Mezzo Soprano. Dr. Senter’s vocal repertoire extends to over 60 roles, and she has appeared with leading opera companies and symphonies across America and abroad.

The North Mississippi Dulcimer Association will lead off the musical sets showcasing the first stringed instrument developed in the United States. The dulcimer, a name that means “sweet sound,” has roots that can be traced back to the early 1800s. The group is dedicated to preserving the arts of making and playing the instruments.

Pickin’n Grinnin’, a Tupelo bluegrass band from St. Luke United Methodist Church, will play a style of American-roots music inspired by the sounds of Appalachia. With fiddles, banjos, guitars, bass, and vocals, the group will have visitors tapping their toes.

Redoak Grove Missionary Baptist Church choir, an 18-person group directed by Choir President Mary Rainey, will perform a variety of traditional gospel songs. The spiritual movement has had a strong influence on music—past and present.

To round out the musical talent, Jack Curtis, an Elvis Presley stylist, will present “The Wonder of Elvis.” Curtis will recreate the energy and excitement of Elvis’ hits in a tribute that will have everyone reminiscing about a special period in Parkway traveling days. Curtis has been performing for over 20 years, and placed in the top five in the “World Images of Elvis” competition.

Visitors are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs for the free open air concert. Music will be presented from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

The Natchez Trace Parkway was established as part of the National Park System on May 18, 1935. It will celebrate its 75th anniversary on May 18, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The family-friendly event is free, and will be held at the Parkway Visitor Center, just north of Tupelo, MS, at milepost 266 on the Natchez Trace Parkway. For more information on this and other events, visitwww.nps.gov/natr, or call 800-305-7417.