Thacker Mountain rattles rafters in Como 10/14/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Church pianist Katie Mae Robinson, 84, of Como, accompanied (from left) by Terrence Bowden, Travis Hullette, Slade Lewis and her own nimble fingers on keyboard, wows the crowd at Saturday’s taping of the popular Thacker Mountain Radio program on Como’s Main Street. The program will be broadcast on Mississippi Public Radio Saturday, December 13.

Thacker Mountain rattles rafters in Como

By John Howell
Thacker Mountain Radio Hour’s live performance Saturday night in Como rattled the rafters and swayed the walls of the old Popular Price Store building that has in recent years become the Main Street Art Gallery.

The show became another historic milestone for the small Panola County town whose reputation for its musical heritage and the excellent cuisine along its tiny Main Street have made it a destination for visitors from all over the world.

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Como librarian Alice Pierotti, who had organized the effort to bring to Como the eclectic radio variety show that features musicians and writers, had promised a Panola County night, and it was.

 Choir master and keyboardist Damein Wash led the Hill Country Choir, a blend of vocalists from East St. Peter M. B. Church in Abbeville and Hunter’s Chapel M. B. Church in Como.

Church pianist Katie Mae Robinson, who has played for area churches for 47 years, was helped up the steps to the stage by Michael Dixon.

Once seated at the keyboard, Robinson’s hands and fingers moved into a blur that defied her 84 years as she accompanied her rousing voice.

“Literature and music are just coming out of the woodwork here in Panola County,” Thacker Mountain Radio host Jim Dees said. “That’s what we celebrate here on Thacker Mountain Radio.”

Writer Jim Seay read two of his poems and then talked about his recent essay in Oxford American, One Corner of Yoknapatawpha.

Seay, a Panola County native whose writing career spans 50 years and who has taught literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill since 1974, talked about the “Big Woods” that covered western Panola County during the early 20th Century.

The writer talked about real events, people and places in the southwest Panola that became part of Faulkner’s fictional county.

Scott Barretta and Joe York announced that they are creating a documentary on Mississippi Fred McDowell whose Blues Trail Marker stands on Como’s Main Street in front of the building where they were speaking.

Barretta is a blues historian and host of Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s (MPB) award-winning Highway 61 blues program broadcast each Saturday night.

York is a filmmaker at the University of Mississippi.

Roaming with his camera through the audience during the performance was another documentary filmmaker, Michael Ford of Washington. Ford was recording video footage of the program for his Yellow Cat Productions.

Hunter’s Chapel’s minister Rev. John Wilkins, joined by members of the Hill Country Choir, brought the program to a rousing finish.

The live performance was recorded for MPB’s Sat., Dec. 13 broadcast of Thacker Mountain Radio at 7 p.m.

Also coming on the Thacker Mountain Radio Hour will be a performance by the Como Mamas recorded last month in Nashville.

That recording will be broadcast on MPB at 7 p.m. Sat., Dec. 6.