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Eight days of chamber music planned in April

[01/26/01] Vicksburg will have a week of chamber music concerts in April in what could be the beginning of an annual series with musicians from around the world.

The music festival is being planned by Jack Kyle, head of the Mississippi Commission for International Cultural Exchange Inc., and Dr. Jay Dean, head of the music Department at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Lenore Barkley, executive director of the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, said dates were set as April 22-29 in a brief and enthusiastic meeting of people who have been cultural leaders in the city.

“In about an hour and a half, this group planned this festival,” Barkley said, adding that it will be called the Vicksburg International Chamber Music Festival.

Chamber music, classical in style, gets its name from the fact works are composed for small groups of musicians to perform for smaller audiences. All they need is a “chamber,” not a concert hall.

Barkley said there will be performances on the two Sunday afternoons, April 22 and April 29, and evening performances on the weekday evenings.

Venues will be at Old Court House Museum, Crawford Street United Methodist Church, the Church of the Holy Trinity Episcopal and the restored B’nai B’rith Club.

“Tickets will be $8 per performance for adults, $5 per performance for students and $40 for all eight performances,” she said.

Dean said, in a telephone interview, he and Kyle developed the idea of a festival when Kyle invited Dean to Vicksburg.

“I became enamored with the community and the possibilities,” Dean said.

The Mississippi Academy of Ancient Music has been active in Jackson and Vicksburg for many years and Jackson is home to the International Ballet Competition. Dean said adding a chamber music festival seemed a good idea because there is nothing similar anywhere in Mississippi or the region.

Dean said there will be eight different groups from around the southeastern region with an average of three or four performers in each group.

Barkley said she understood much of the music will have a Spanish theme to coincide with the Majesty of Spain exhibition, organized by Kyle, that opens in Jackson March 1 and runs through Sept. 3.

She also said she had committed the VCVB to paying for the printing of the brochures to advertise the event and the staff planned to include it in all mailouts.

Dean said funding for the festival will come from a number of agencies, from private donations and from ticket sales.

He said he hoped to average an audience of 400 at the performances.