Jackson comes alive when Christmas comes to town. With the Belhaven Singing Christmas Tree, Chimneyville Crafts Festival and several other local traditions, most people seem to get into the holiday spirit. This year's joyful noises not only help get everyone into Christmas mode, but also help those in need.
The Mississippi Jazz Foundation hosts its annual fundraiser, "A Night of Musical Artistry," Friday, Dec. 9, in the historic Alamo Theatre on Farish Street. Gerald Albright and Jackson's Michael Burton will perform all your favorite jazz numbers, and I'm safe betting they'll play your favorite holiday tunes as well. Tickets are $35, and you can purchase them through Ticketmaster, the coliseum box office or from any Jazz Foundation board member.
Local musician Mike Thum (of the duo Mike and Marty) and his wife, Barbara, are putting on Jamming for the Kids at Jacques Cafe (4137 S. Frontage Road, Vicksburg, 601-661-0019) Dec. 10, a benefit and toy drive for the needy children of Warren County. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. The Thums have hosted this benefit for 14 years now, and the musical lineup is packed out with Mike and Marty, Johnny Crocker, Doug Frank, The Owen Brothers, plus several more entertainers on deck to play for a worthy cause.
On Friday, Dec. 16, Belhaven's Performing Arts Center will present "The Greatest Gift" concert. The event starts at 7 p.m. and features Mississippi homegrown artists such as Dorothy Moore, Guy Hovis (from "The Lawrence Welk Show"), former Miss Mississippis Mary Donnelly Haskill and Kristin Dambrino, The Williams Brothers and the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet. All proceeds benefit The Christmas Village in Canton.
Beth Kellogg, organizer of this year's event, began volunteering at The Christmas Village three years ago and realized this non-profit organization needed an event that would raise enough money for the struggling home for expectant mothers. She suggested a concert to the Christmas Village, and last year's concert was such a huge success that the organization was able to hire a part-time director. If you are interested in attending, visit thechristmasvillage.org/tickets.
I'm ready to rock it out this week. Are you? Start it up Wednesday by checking out my good friend Mississippi John Doude at Fenian's, Baby Jan and All That Chaz at Underground 119, or the Open Jam with Will and Linda at Pelican Cove.
On Thursday, Duling Hall is the site for the Jackson Zoo's "Zoo Party Unleashed," with regional favorites Blue Mountain and Jesse Robinson performing. Tickets are $50 per person and $90 for couples. The event starts at 7 p.m., so you definitely want to get there early for the two great shows.
Friday night, Jokers Ride plays at The Cherokee Inn, Renegade at Kathryn's, and one of my favorite bands, Gunboat, at Ole Tavern.
I'm so excited because ToMara's has Alabama native singer-songwriter Kristy Lee performing Saturday night. If you haven't heard of her, make a point to come hear her.
Also Saturday, the Pix/Capri Theater hosts the Esperanza Plantation's Holiday Showcase. Last year, it was awesome, and I'm sure this year will be just as stellar. Also, the Martini Room has its Pre-Christmas Affair, and Hal & Mal's hosts The Vernon Brothers Christmas Show. Attending this last show is one of my favorite Jackson holiday traditions. Don't forget to hit up F. Jones Corner to hear Nathan Bankston and The Southern Komfort Brass Band throwing down on Farish Street.
Remember, musicians, I'm watching all who are naughty and nice, so get those listings to me by Monday, and if you see me out and about, please say hello!