The Barn Concert Series is honoring two longtime supporters of the regional music scene on May 19.
Steve Ellis, who hosts the concerts with his wife Kay Ellis at their home on Mac Davis Road, said the concert donation jar will benefit the Columbus Arts Council in memory of Beverly Norris and Jan Swoope. The sisters supported the Golden Triangle music scene through their time and talents.
“I mean, they were two of the very largest patrons of the arts in Columbus,” said Ellis, who ran Mississippi State University’s WMSV radio station for a number of years. “Jan wrote about everybody and Beverly booked everybody. … The two of them, you would often see them at any concert within 200 miles. They just loved music.”
The concert, featuring Andrew Duhon and Grace Pettis, will be held from 6:30-9 p.m. May 19 at the Ellis’ property at 136 Mac Davis Road, Columbus. As of Saturday, there were only 18 tickets left for the show, Ellis said.
Tickets cost $30 per person and can be purchased at https://bpt.me/5299805.
The Ellises provide finger foods, snacks, beer, soft drinks and bottled water. Dinner for the May 19 show will be Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and nachos with cheese and peppers.
Duhon, from New Orleans, has released three recordings. The latest of which, “The Moorings,” was nominated for a Grammy in 2014 for Best Engineered Album.
Pettis, from Austin, Texas, is a singer/songwriter. American Songwriter Magazine wrote, “As a decorated songwriter, Pettis blurs the lines between country, Americana and folk. Her soulful delivery of calculated lyric lines helps her tell stories for all generations.”
Norris was program director at the Columbus Arts Council for eight years. She died in 2019.
Swoope wrote concert reviews for The Dispatch before becoming lifestyles editor in 2008. She died in 2021.
While Ellis ran WMSV, the sisters would often call him.
“They would call me all the time with all kinds of suggestions and stuff,” he said. “They were just great friends and very knowledgeable music people.”
Columbus Arts Council Operations Director Salem Gibson said he met with Ellis to discuss how to best use the donations in memory of the sisters.
“We’re going to do a memorial with the donation that’s given in honor of them because of how adamant and passionate they were about music,” he said. “So as we continue to further our music scene here, it’s going to be with the support of the donations. As people support the barn concerts, it will come back here to help us be able to keep music prevalent downtown. So it’s going to be really nice.”
The CAC’s board is currently working on figuring out how to honor the sisters — whether through a plaque or signs on the seating in the Omnova Theater.
“They did some really amazing things for the arts in Columbus,” Gibson said. “So making sure that their names are remembered is something we know we want to do. We want to make sure that their passion for the arts stays alive.”
Other concerts in the series include Red Dirt Boys with guest Amanda Shaw, June 23; Bonnie Bishop with Anthony Peebles, Sept. 22 and Ryan Culwell, Oct. 13.
A free concert, only for season pass holders and sponsors, featuring Ordinary Elephant with Clay Parker & Jodi James will be held Oct. 7.