Meridian Star

Local News

May 15, 2014

Music symposium to spotlight Jimmie Rodgers Festival

MERIDIAN —     For the fifth consecutive year, the Jimmie Rodgers Festival will include a Music Symposium.

    The symposium takes place Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Peavey Classroom at Peavy Electronics, located on Peavey Drive in Meridian. Admission is $20 and tickets can be purchased at the door.

    The event will include talks by top authorities on music history, along with film, music and performances designed to shed fresh light on Jimmie Rodgers’ legacy in an entertaining and informative way.  

    This year marks the 61st anniversary for the festival. The theme this year will be “Jimmie Rodgers: His Friends and Collaborators," the latter of which include Ralph Peer and Elsie McWilliams. The focus will be on both Jimmie Rodgers' musical contributions and the legacy of Meridian’s Jimmie Rodgers Festival and Museum.

    Barry Mazor, country and roots music journalist for the Wall Street Journal, chief researcher for the Mississippi Country Music Trail and author of the book, "Meeting Jimmie Rodgers" will speak on the role of Ralph Peer in the development of Rodger’s career and ultimate influence on American music and how he matters in the overall picture of the development from hillbilly to country in America and the world.   

    Mazor will also interview featured guest Ed Bishop, longtime Jimmie Rodgers fan and museum consultant. He will provide insight into the development of the festival and museum and will share valuable information about Jimmie Rodgers and family and Elsie McWilliams and family.

    Ben Wynne, music historian and professor at University of North Georgia will discuss Jimmie’s lyrics and their profound influence.

    David Morgan, music lover and historian from Mississippi Humanities Council, will share stories about Jimmie Rodgers and Will Rogers and their “yodeling and roping” adventures as they toured together raising money for flood victims. His presentation will include slides of their adventures.

    Britt Gully, Jimmie Rodgers interpreter and entertainer, will entertain the audience with his authentic renditions of Jimmie Rodgers songs.

    The Music Symposium will take place on Friday May 16th from 2 PM to 4 PM at the Peavey Classroom at Peavy Electronics, located on Peavey Drive in Meridian, Mississippi.  Admission is $20 and tickets can be purchased at the door.

    The 61st Anniversary Jimmie Rodgers Festival will kick off today with a gospel and bluegrass concert featuring Alan Sibley and The Dove Brothers.         Friday’s attractions are Trademark, back by popular demand and the 80’s experience The Molly Ringwalds. Saturday is a fun filled day with local country talent, talent winners from The Jimmie Rodgers Talent Contest 2014, a car show featuring vintage corvettes, Hannah Belle, Jacob Powell, Frankie Ballard and headliner  country star Sawyer Brown.  

    The traditional Wreath Laying ceremony at Jimmie Rodgers’ graveside at Oak Grove Cemetery will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. The public is invited.  

    The Jimmie Rodgers Foundation is pleased to honor the legacy of “The Father of Country Music,” Meridian's native son, also recognized as “The Singing Brakeman,” “The Blue Yodeler” and “The Man Who Started It All.”

    "Our goal is to perpetuate the memory of Jimmie Rodgers and his significant contributions to the development of American Music, after all, 'Mississippi is the birthplace of American music,'" a Jimmie Rodgers Foundation press release states.

    The Jimmie Rodgers Museum is located at 1725 Jimmie Rodgers Drive in Highland Park in Meridian. Hours of operation are: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The phone number is 601-485-1808.

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