The MSU Riley Center hosted a celebration honoring Mississippi's Music Heritage. It was a weekend long event, taking a look at some of the music with roots from the state of Mississippi, including blues and country music.
The symposium kicked off Friday night at 6 in the evening with an exhibit. That was followed with a performance by Meridian native, Don Poythress. He was joined by two Nashville singer-songwriters, Steve Dean and Walt Aldridge. Saturday featured discussions with panelists who have their own history of music.
When people think of the state of Mississippi, often times, there are various things that come to their minds. For many, Mississippi and music go hand-in-hand. Some music greats have direct roots to Mississippi including Jimmie Rodgers, Marty Stuart, and many more. That's why the city of Meridian, took time to celebrate the music heritage of the Magnolia state.
Today we're having a symposium on the celebration of Mississippi's Musical Heritage. We have out of town people who are here, experts in the field," exclaims Betty Lou Jones.
And those experts included people from all fields. Betty Lou Jones, the President of the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation names a few.
"Barry Mazor, who wrote the books, 'Meeting Jimmie Rodgers', Scott Barretta, who teaches at Ole Miss and is also the host of Highway 61 Blues Show on Mississippi Public Radio. We also have Elliott Thomas from MDA. We have Doctor Edgar Smith who is a member of the Blues Commission. We have Jake Russell, who is a young guitarist from Oxford, and we have an 81-year-old man who actually meet Jimmie Rodgers who is a fantastic musician. And we are so excited to have him."
The symposium allowed spectators to explore the blues and country music. One participant is Rick Courtney of Meridian. Courtney says he is pleased to see the recognition of Mississippi's music heritage.
"Well I've grown up here in Meridian and I've always thought that we have an opportunity with our musical heritage to do more with it and to celebrate it. It's really nice to see community leaders and citizens come together to try to bring all of that heritage together and actually market it."
Courtney believes the musical heritage of Mississippi and Meridian is also an economic tool. After discussing the history, he says there are certain features that stand out.
"We've talked about the blues trail, the Mississippi Blues Trail and there is a new Mississippi Country Trail, which we just got the mile marker here and how that is an opportunity for the state. Because we live here we can take it for granted, but there are a lot of people that come to check out the places where a lot of these places are from," says Courtney.