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City asked to spend $10,000 on festival of chamber music

[04/11/01] Mayor Robert Walker and North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young promised an answer early next week to a request for a $10,000 sponsorship of the first Vicksburg International Chamber Music Festival.

Frances Koury, a member of a committee that helped organize this month’s concerts, presented the request, asking Walker and Young to “roll out the red carpet” and support the festival next week. South Ward Alderman Sam Habeeb was absent from Tuesday’s board meeting.

“We now have another opportunity to establish ourselves as a host city,” Koury said.

“I feel pretty comfortable that the city will be able to support this in some sort of way,” Walker said, promising an answer at the next board meeting. Young indicated that funding would be included in the next budget for the annual concert.

The two said a reply on the specific funding request could be expected at Monday’s board meeting.

“I’m hoping that next year, once we have allocated for this in our budget, we’ll be able to have it in a city facility,” she said.

No specific mention was made of an allocation by the two officials of $40,000 to bring a bass tournament to the city. Those funds are coming out of the Vicksburg Convention Center’s $873,370 funding, but were also not in any budget.

Cash for the fishing event, approved with little comment in a board meeting, prompted mixed public reaction. Some have said the money will be recouped while others have expressed dismay over the amount being spent. The city’s entire budget for advertising is about $12,000 this year. None of the $1 million budget of the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, created to build tourism, was allocated to the event.

The Sportsman’s Association of Black Bass Anglers, Mega-Bucks Tournament is planned for Memorial Day weekend.

For the concert series, the board approved a $500 sponsorship requested by Vicksburg Main Street directors from that entity’s funds.

The Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau has paid about $15,000 for the printing of 8,000 brochures to advertise the event. Other groups sponsoring the music festival include the University of Southern Mississippi, the Vicksburg Warren Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Foundation.

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.

Koury said any funding from the city not spent promoting this year’s concert would go toward the event next spring.

Chamber music is classical in style and gets its name from the works that are composed for small groups of musicians to perform for smaller audiences. The series of concerts is planned for April 22 through April 29 throughout the city.

Organizers have said they hope audiences will average about 200 for the performances and that the series will build each year into a regional attraction.