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Teen pageant begins Saturday afternoon with back-to-back preliminaries

Working behind the scenes of a pageant can be rewarding. It can also require a delicate touch, especially when it comes to lights.

“You want to make sure everything can be seen and you want to make it look pretty while at the same time not taking away from the contestant on stage,” lighting tech Willis Eleby said, adding “You don’t want to upstage anybody.”

This is Eleby’s first year working with the lights during the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant, and he said the job was a lot different that lighting for a concert.

“This is different than working rock and roll shows. This is faster pace because the change over is so fast,” he said.

Going from something as fast paced as a dancer or a musical number to a speech or to a somber song, he said is very different than the constant lighting required by performers or bands at a concert. 

Eleby, who hails from Knoxville, Tenn. said he has more than 12 years of experience in lighting, and is enjoying the uniqueness of running the lights for the Teen pageant.

Also working out of public view during the pageant is Chasity Baker.

The Vicksburg resident said she has been a volunteer with the teen pageant for the past five years, serving as a dressing room assistant, but is acting as chairman this year.

The job is about taking care of the girls, Baker said.

“I get everything ready for the girls, and I have their spots labeled, so they will know where everything goes,” she said.

Once the contestants arrive, Baker and the dressing room assistants’ jobs will also include talking to the parents, steaming the girls dresses, making sure there are snacks backstage and to help the contestants get lined up, so they will be ready to go on stage.

“And if they go on stage with wrinkles, that’s my fault,” she said.

Baker said she enjoys working with the pageant and feels rewarded when helping the contestants.

“It is like having 24 daughters in the same room at the same time. I enjoy seeing the looks on their faces and seeing them really excited, and I am that person they come to after they come off the stage and feel really good about what they are doing,” Baker said.

The Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Pageant will get underway with its first preliminary competition today beginning at 2 p.m. at the Vicksburg Auditorium, 901 Monroe St.

The second preliminary competition will follow at 7:30 p.m. The final day of competition and crowning will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $75 for all three competitions, $25 for each preliminary competition and $40 for the final competition and are available by calling 601-638-6746 or visiting the Miss Mississippi Pageant website.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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