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Community band to perform folk songs

The Pearl River County Community Band will be performing folk music during a free concert on Sunday, March 22 at 2:30 p.m. in the Picayune Memorial High School auditorium.

The concert will feature folk songs from around the world, said Band Director Archie Rawls, such as the famous Irish folk song, “Danny Boy,” and a “Caribbean Rondo” that includes three folk songs from the Caribbean islands.

One of the pieces the group is most excited to bring to the stage is a contemporary take on two Cajun folk songs, called “Cajun Folk Songs,” composed by Frank Ticheli. One of the folk songs is slow and lyrical with a beautiful melody, said Rawls, while the other is up-tempo and might make audiences want to dance. The piece was challenging to learn, because of its mixed meter, Rawls said.

The band has been rehearsing for weeks at the United Methodist Church in Picayune.

“They’re very gracious to allow us to use the fellowship hall. We appreciate their support,” said Rawls.

The concert will last approximately an hour with a short intermission. While the performance is free, the band will be collecting donations for the Johnny Baker Memorial Scholarship.

Former Picayune Memorial High School band director Johnny Baker founded the community band. The scholarship in his name is given to graduating high school seniors who have consistently performed with the band. The band is asking for donations and will hold a silent auction to raise funds for the scholarship during intermission.

The band is following school officials’ recommendations on public gatherings. If the school district decides to suspend public gatherings due to concerns about spreading the coronavirus, COVID-19, the concert will be postponed, said Rawls.

The Pearl River County Community Band Facebook page will have information and updates if the concert is postponed.