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A Community Treasure

Having recently seen in the local newspaper an article about the performance, I was looking forward to a date with my wife on a recent Thursday evening. We were going to see Handel’s Messiah, presented by Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Division of Fine Arts. I’ve heard the Northwest Singers previously and knew they would do a great job. 

When we entered the Fine Arts Auditorium, we were unexpectedly greeted by 20-30 Baddour Center residents, who were also eagerly anticipating the performance. In short, the choir and chamber orchestra delivered. We were happy. The residents were happy.  The performance was outstanding, as I knew it would be. 

As my wife and I were leaving, I ran into Northwest President Dr. Gary Spears in the parking lot. I told him what an awesome thing Northwest is in our community. Having very much enjoyed the evening, I thought it was the right thing to do. That leads me to the focus of this blog.

Right here in Senatobia, Mississippi, we can view an impressive presentation of Messiah one week and view a college football game with national championship implications the week before. As a matter of fact, Dr. Spears noted he was heading home for some rest because he was leaving early the next morning for a football bowl game. 

While the school certainly and obviously commits to the students it serves, we as local citizens often benefit from the school. I normally blog on Baddour-related things, and my visit the other night reminded me how Baddour too benefits, both directly and indirectly, as a result of Northwest. 

For example, a number of Baddour residents have participated over the last decade in classes through Northwest; and, while most are continuing education courses (rather than for-credit courses), residents love and benefit from these.  Like the other evening, residents also attend concerts, plays, and games. We once held our Christmas programs in the Fine Arts Auditorium, a beautiful venue.  A friend of mine is the Director of Bands, and he and his colleagues and members of the band have partnered with us the past five or so years for our Homecoming. Residents LOVE it! 

Further, I had the privilege of seeing a play there last spring. Their Theater Department performed The Boys Next Door. This team, from the director teaching to the students acting, did a phenomenal job. (On a side note, I recognized the director of the play impressively singing a solo part in Messiah.)  I thought their execution of the performance was thoughtfully done and helped viewers better understand the challenges that both individuals with disabilities and those providing services and supports face. 

I realize I’m outside the norm for what I occasionally share with you. However, I think it is worth the time and effort to credit Northwest and their contribution to our community, both Baddour Center and Senatobia. Thank you, Northwest! 

Posted by Parke Pepper at 9:27 AM