Walt's Look Around: Natchez seasonal pilgrimage - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Natchez seasonal pilgrimage

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NATCHEZ, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

When the Wisteria and Dogwood start to bloom, then it must be pilgrimage season in Mississippi.

There is a classical aspect of the Natchez pilgrimage.

The Stone House started life as a detached Billiard Room in the side yard of the Elms, another nearby home, in 1850.

The house grew up around the billiard room and Joe Stone's family bought it in 1877 and has had it since then. It isn't a huge house by Natchez Standards, but has 13-foot ceilings and several other features making it what might be called a cottage mansion.

"One thing they did with this house that's really rare when they added the house on, was they put in two sets of pocket doors that have ornamental glass in them," Joe Stone said. "Stained and etched glass. You almost never find ornamental glass in pocket doors. They are almost solid wood paneled all the time."

Another rarity you'll find in the Stone House is the feature that gives it its other name, the Antebellum Music Room.

Joe Stone's career was a professional musician.

And then he came back home to Natchez and turned his house into a Bed and Breakfast.

And since he is an accomplished pianist, a piano program is a part of the treatment when you stay at his B&B. But during Pilgrimage in Natchez, the doors are open for tourists on Friday and Saturday nights.

Tickets for the classical recital can be purchased along with those for the pilgrimage homes for those days.

And Classical music would have been the music you would have heard in these homes in antebellum Natchez.

A lot of people come to this region looking for indigenous music which is blues, a little bit of jazz, soul, that sort of thing, gospel even and that is not what I offer," Stone said. "However, what I offer is appropriate to the period that this regional history is so famous for, the antebellum South. The music I do is the music of Franz Schubert.

Then there's a piece by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Gottschalk was born in New Orleans in 1829. He was a very famous pianist but he wrote quite a few pieces to present on his program. And his music is distinctly American. I really think more that anything he is looking to entertain the audience."

And that is just what Joe Stone's program of piano music does, especially on Friday and Saturday nights during pilgrimage, entertains us, and delights us in an intimate setting, in an old home, and is just another layer to the city of Natchez, a town rich in so many layers already.

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