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  • Shaw Furlow

Au revoir – until we meet again

By guest columnist R. Shaw Furlow

Au revoir – until we meet again

Over the past seven years I’ve had the pleasure of writing columns for the Wesson News about things and events I hoped were entertaining and informative.

I’ve learned a lot myself from doing the research. My main music source book that I used was Legendary Musicians edited by Dr James Brewer from Hazlehurst. He has done meticulous research for many years and was the founder of the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. He also pitched “Mississippi, the birth place of America’s music” to the state’s tourism board, which adopted it for welcome signs and car tags after finding the statement to be accurate.

There is no telling how many folks I have interviewed or featured. But mostly I have written about local artists. Dancers and singers from Mississippi School of the Arts. Brookhaven Little Theatre and Brookhaven Region Arts Guild. Songwriters, such as Tony Norton, Cole Powell, J.F. Oakes, Charlie and Libby Hewitt, Andi Cotton, and more. My main man for music has been Tyler Bridge. His help has been immeasurable. In the arts world, my friends Don Jacobs, Jacqui Patten and Derrick Covington Smith have been my go-to specialists.

I’ve plugged every festival, concert and art show in our corner of the world, and attended most. I now have promoters calling me trying to get in the column. I especially enjoyed the two drive-through art shows in Hazlehurst and Brookhaven.

I delved into the topic of elephants and other wild animals in the circus. From early in my life, I’ve loved the circus. The color, music, pageantry and the elephants caught my attention. At one time. I inquired about auditioning for a Ring Master position with Barnum and Bailey. After I read and studied about animal treatment in captivity, reality hit me in the face, and I changed my point of view. Never too late to learn. That column was one of my most widely read articles.

I’ve enjoyed exploring the lives of the Ford siblings, Virgil Brawley, Leontyne Price and other Mississippi artists.

I’ve had lots of help along the way. I’ve called on experts in several fields to get information, and all of them were happy to help, especially the good folks at Co-Lin Natchez for their help promoting the Natchez Literary and Cinema Conference and artists, promoters, writers and composers.

So, my friends, as they say, all good things must come to an end. This will be my last monthly column. I have often wondered how weekly columnists do it. This is harder work than it seems…at least for me. My biggest source of help has been my editor Bob Arnold. He taught me how to write for a newspaper. I used to call people, especially my friends, by their first names and he changed it in editing. I learned. But some of our toughest conversations were about my ending sentences with a preposition. Yes. I know it’s not correct, but I tried to convince him I was “folksy” and wrote like I talked. I sort of won that one. He agreed I was folksy, and only changed the most egregious ones.

One of my biggest pleasures was when people approached me and told me they enjoyed my column . I appreciated it. I’ll be back in the future with feature articles from time to time about topics that interest me. Believe me, I’m not stopping because I’ve exhausted the my resources. Far from it Our little corner of the world is rich in talent and stories and I’ve enjoyed telling them.

Until next time, support the arts, my friends.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Shaw Furlow is a local composer, musician and arts promoter. He produces an internet-based video show -- From the Shadyside -- that spotlights area musical talent and is a consultant to school bands in the region. Bob Arnold is Editor of the Wesson News.


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