Natchez “Cabaret Under the Dome” benefits B’nai Israel

Among the modifications at B’nai Israel in Natchez is an ADA-accessible ramp. Photo courtesy Historic Natchez Foundation

The Natchez Festival of Music and the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life are presenting Cabaret Under the Dome at historic Temple B’nai Israel in Natchez, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.

This evening of Broadway and opera classics performed by singers from across the South supports the building’s restoration and celebrates the Jewish community’s important place in the history of Natchez.

The artists performing in the cabaret are featured in the Natchez Festival of Music’s annual outreach program. They will share favorite songs from their repertoires in this benefit concert in the historic sanctuary of B’nai Israel.

Eric Botto, a Houston native, is a tenor currently pursuing a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Mobile. Tennessee native Grace Denton is a Doctorate of Musical Arts student in Voice Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Mobile. Harlan Mapp is studying for his Master’s Degree in Conducting at the University of Southern Mississippi. Soprano Olivia Russell, a Gulfport native, has a resume of diverse roles in opera and musical theatre, which she continues to build as a student at the University of Mobile.

Collaborative pianist Julian Jones, a Louisiana native, is a Doctorate of Musical Arts Student in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance at the University of Mobile.

“We’re excited to be bringing these incredible performers into Temple B’nai Israel’s sanctuary. The acoustics in the space are perfect for Broadway and opera music. We’re grateful for the Natchez Festival of Music’s support, and we look forward to many more events like this in the future,” said Nora Katz, ISJL Director of Heritage and Interpretation and co-chair of Temple B’nai Israel’s Board of Overseers.

The small Jewish community that remains in Natchez is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Jewish Natchez. In 1991, Temple B’nai Israel went into partnership with the ISJL as a way of preserving the temple into the future. The temple is now under the auspices of the ISJL’s Heritage and Interpretation Department, which interprets and shares the rich tradition of Jewish life in the American South through public programs, trips and tours, shared experiences, and more. In 2017, the Mississippi Heritage Trust named Temple B’nai Israel one of the Ten Most Endangered Historic Places in Mississippi.

The Natchez Jewish community and the ISJL are embarking on a renovation project that will enhance accessibility, restore the historic structure, and preserve the building in perpetuity. Once the multimillion-dollar restoration project is complete, the building will be consistently open as an event space, community arts hub, and museum telling the story of Jewish life in Natchez.

This preservation process will be accompanied by cultural offerings and dynamic experiences, making use of the space and bringing people together even while construction is still underway.

Tickets for the performance are $15, and all of the proceeds from the event will benefit the Temple B’nai Israel Restoration and Preservation Fund. A reception will follow.