Blues society boss moving; real estate broker takes spot|[06/09/08]

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 9, 2008

Lucille Ridges, founder of the Vicksburg Blues Society, is moving to Denver and handing the reins of the growing group over to Shirley Waring.

“I’m really counting on Shirley to take it to the next level,” said Ridges, who created the VBS in 2002 and has since served as acting president. “The society is primed to do some great things for the blues and for Vicksburg, and I believe Shirley will be able to make them happen as president.”

A farewell party and performance will take place at LD’s Kitchen Tuesday night, during which Ridges said she will play alongside the The Blue Monday Band, a group of musicians presented by the Central Mississippi Blues Society at LD’s every other Tuesday.

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Waring is a commercial real estate broker and developer as well as the president of the Vicksburg Heritage League, which promotes tourism and local events. She has been instrumental in organizing the blues weekend in the city beginning Friday in honor of B.B. King’s visit and concert at the Vicksburg Convention Center Thursday.

“I’m hoping that with my experience and organizing skills I’ll be able to bring some excitement and new energy to the blues society,” she said. “It’s an important part of Vicksburg’s heritage, and it’s important to the city’s tourism industry.”

Ridges said the accomplishments she is most proud of during her time in Vicksburg include the blues society’s 2006 Willie Dixon’s Wang Dang Doodle Blues Festival and the fact that the VBS is still a viable organization in the community.

“The fact that it’s still here is an accomplishment in itself, and shows there are people who see the value of the blues in Vicksburg. It’s been a roller coaster ride for us, but the society has hung in there,” she said. “I’m hoping Shirley can do more in the way of securing grants for the society and holding more regular blues events in Vicksburg to help it expand even further.”

If you goThe Blue Monday Band will perform at LD’s Kitchen, 1111 Mulberry St., on Tuesday beginning at 8:30. Lucille Ridges, the departing Vicksburg Blues Society president and founder, will perform with the band at the farewell gathering. Admission is free. Ridges said the move to Denver was prompted by a job offer to her husband, John, who will take on duties as a senior developer of a computer and technologies company. The couple will retain property they own and hope to develop in Vicksburg, said Ridges, and will make return visits.

“I’m from just over the river in Louisiana, and my family lives here,” she said. “This isn’t goodbye for good.”

While in Denver, Ridges said she will focus on her musical career and a songwriter and blues guitarist. She is mixing a new double album and planning a tour of Greece this fall. More information about Ridges’ musical career, including songs, video and reviews, are available at