When the lights go out and the curtain rises, 39 contestants will compete for the crown of Miss Mississippi. On Saturday evening, only one will wear it.
Wednesday night kicks off the first of three preliminary competitions to be held at the Vicksburg Convention Center.
On Saturday, the final round of the competition will be held with the top 10 competing for the Miss Mississippi title.
For months, the contestants, as well as the production team of Miss Mississippi, have been preparing for the contest.
Two of the team are Nancy Robertson, producer and Jennifer Tillotson, co-producer.
As educators, the two women worked in tandem with musical productions throughout their teaching tenure with Robertson as producer and Tillotson as piano accompanist.
Robertson was also artistic director of Mississippi Boychoir.
For the production theme, the women chose Bold, Brave and Beautiful.
“We wanted to use words that describe these wonderful young women and what they stand for. They are daring in their preparation and presentation of their talent on stage in front of thousands of people; they are courageous in their social impact initiative and how they are making such a difference in their community and our state; they are beautiful inside and out, ”Tillotson said.
Musical numbers reflecting the theme include “Good to Be Alive”, “Unbreakable”, “Faith” and “The Way You Look Tonight”.
“We added a new song, ‘Move’, this year that says, ‘I’m not about to give up, because I heard you say there will be better days’, and it’s is the truth, ”Tillotson said.
Robertson and Tillotson were already prepared for the 2020 competition before the pandemic hit, so they decided to postpone their theme for 2021.
“’Move’ will also be performed as a tribute to Dr. Briggs Hopson, Jr., who was the CEO of Miss Mississippi Pageant for many years,” said Robertson.
The production emcee is Becky Pruett Denham, Miss Mississippi 2001.
Ted Laney, from Atlanta, Georgia, and Sam Lovorn will be the choreographers.
“Ted is also responsible for the staging of the show, not just the production numbers,” said Robertson.
Lovorn, choir director at Warren Central High School, is in charge of the Belles and Beaus, the crowned children at the Miss Mississippi event.
The Miss Mississippi 2021 artists are Kiefer Slaton, from Vicksburg, and Miss Mississippi 2016 Laura Lee Lewis Allen.
“We also have six featured Miss Mississippi Dancers from several states,” said Robertson.
They are Shasa Cohran, Cecelie Jones, Sarah Randolph, Morgan Nelson, Sadie Perkins and Abby Williams.
Robertson and Tillotson both said they enjoyed working on the show and were excited about the production.
“Finally, seeing the production that we’ve been working on for the last two years come to life is the most exciting thing,” Tillotson said. “Nancy and I met the artists last week and recorded all the music at Kimble Slaton and we had a blast. We would look at each other and say, “This is so much fun. It was exciting, ”she said.
Preliminary competitions for the Miss Mississippi Pageant will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The last evening of the competition will start on Saturday at 8 p.m. All competitions will be held at the Vicksburg Convention Center, 1600 Dr. Briggs Hopson Blvd.
Tickets for all four nights of the competition are $ 125 and are available at the Miss Mississippi Corporation office, 820 South St. on the fourth floor or by calling 601-638-6746.
This year, the Miss Mississippi Pageant will be broadcast live. Packages cost $ 15 per night or $ 36 for all nights and are available on missmisslive.com.
The final night of the competition will be televised on WLBT.
About Terri Cowart Frazier
Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Soon after, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter for the Vicksburg Post and editor-in-chief of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which was awarded first place by the Mississippi Press Association. She was also the recipient of a first place award in the editorial division of the MPA’s Better Newspaper competition for “Best Report.”
Terri is a graduate of Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with a focus on public relations.
Before working for The Post a little over 10 years ago, she worked as a freelance writer for the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay-at-home mom.
Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a life member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a former member of the Sampler Antique Club and the Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr Walter Frazier.
“Whether it’s staying informed on local government matters or hearing the stories of its residents, a local newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and I hope that with theirs and local support I can continue to grow and hone my skills while helping to share the stories in Vicksburg. When people ask me what I love most about my job, my answer is always “people”.
More from Terri Cowart