SCHC’s lunchtime concert series begins with a bang

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 18, 2008

Streaks of sunshine broke through the skies on an overcast, 70-degree Friday afternoon, providing a picturesque autumn atmosphere for the roughly 150 people who attended the opening date of Classics in the Courtyard, a lunchtime concert series produced by the Southern Cultural Heritage Center.  

“This is just wonderful. The music is beautiful, and it fits in perfectly with the courtyard setting,” said Vicksburg resident Karen Kirk, who attended with Mark Jones. “We’ve already made reservations for the rest of the season.”

Kirk and Jones are not the only ones who have made reservations for the remaining four weeks of the series, which is being held in the courtyard of the historic SCHC complex, located on an entire city block bounded by Adams, Crawford, Clay and Cherry streets. SCHC Executive Director Annette Kirklin said the community response has been overwhelming.

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“The community has just embraced this. They’re really excited to have an event like this in Vicksburg,” said Kirklin. “It’s a great way for people to start the weekend.”

Nicholas and Julia Blake entertained the crowd Friday with traditional American and Celtic songs. The Ware House Sports Bar & Grill provided lunch to 100 people, while others brought their own food or simply enjoyed the music. Each week of the series will feature different caterers and entertainers. Lunch is $7 with a reservation, however, the event is free for those who bring their own lunches or just want to take in the hour-long concerts.

Kirklin said she had a feeling the series would be popular when she announced it a month ago, however, she said she was astounded with how quickly the reservations came pouring in over the days leading up to the first concert.

“We had about 75 reservations by Wednesday afternoon, at which point I contacted the caterer to find out how many lunches they could provide. We set the cut off point at 100, and 20 minutes later I had to call them up to say we had hit the limit,” she said. “We already have about 40 reservations for the next few weeks, so if people want to make sure they can get a lunch they should make a reservation as soon as possible.” 

Utica-resident Don Price, who happened to be in Vicksburg for an appointment Friday afternoon, said he was very impressed with the event and was glad he came into town early to catch lunch at the courtyard.

“I just love it. It’s a great idea,” he said. “The setting and music are beautiful. I just wish they did this kind of thing more often.”

The various buildings comprising the SCHC are on the National Register of Historic Places, and serve as the venues for a wide variety of events offered by the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation, including culinary classes, art seminars, workshops and guest speakers.


Contact Steve Sanoski at