The Group Travel Leader

FEB 2017

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GROUP TRAVEL LE ADER T H E T he Mississippi Delta is no stranger to hardship. The northwest region of the state between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers has endured times of economic stagnation over the years. Yet instead of fading into history unnoticed, the area inspired soul-stirring songs that stand among America's greatest music contributions. From Muddy Waters' childhood as a sharecrop- per, B.B. King's grueling job in a cotton gin and other unlikely sources came a new sound that the American public soon embraced: the blues. The revitalized Delta celebrates the many blues and jazz musicians who grew up in the area along Highway 61, the Blues Highway. Among the numerous stops on the 250-mile route are some acclaimed and interactive museums that will leave groups bobbing their heads to the beat. B Y E L I Z A M Y E R S I N T H E D E L T A , H A R D T I M E S M E A N G R E A T M U S I C MUSICIANS HONOR MISSISSIPPI'S MUSIC HERITAGE WITH A PERFOR- MANCE AT TUNICA'S GATEWAY TO THE BLUES MUSEUM AND VISITORS CENTER. Courtesy Tunica CVB M I S S I S S I P P I B . B . K I N G M U S E U M A N D D E LTA I N T E R P R E T I V E C E N T E R Indianola Tragedy struck King often during his early life as a sharecropper and tractor driver. He channeled his heartache into a new style of blues, which the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center examines. The 2008 museum sits inside a restored brick cotton-gin building where King worked in the 1940s. Extensive artifacts from his life reveal how he rose to fame and the challenges he encountered along the way. Interactive computers and videos tell his compelling story, including when he damaged a tractor at work, which prompted him to f lee with his guitar and head to Memphis, Tennessee. Visitors can listen to King narrate some firsthand accounts of his life and mission to make it onto the airwaves. After his death in 2015, King was buried at the museum in a planned memorial garden that guests can visit. The museum doesn't just highlight King; it delves into the entire region and its inf luential music legends. Groups can learn about the "King of Blues" at the museum before listen- ing to a live blues performance with a catered lunch at nearby Club Ebony. W W W. B B K I N G M U S EU M .O RG I S S U E F E B R U A R Y 2 017

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