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Bill of the Day: March should be for...

Bill of the Day: March should be for Musicians in Mississippi

By: Sarah Ulmer - February 9, 2024

(Photo from USM)

  • Magnolia Tribune brings you a Bill of the Day from the 2024 Mississippi Legislative Session that just may pique your interest.

Legislation this session has been proposed to honor Mississippi musicians with their very own month on the calendar.

Authored by State Representative Missy McGee (R), HB 365 would designate each March as “Mississippi Musicians Month.”

The Magnolia State is often referred to as the “Birthplace of America’s music” because of its myriad of musical performers, composers, and songwriters. Many of these artists have gone on to achieve fame and fortune worldwide in all different genres but particularly those with soul in the Blues, Rock & Roll, Country, Gospel, R & B, and Jazz.

The state has produced more Grammy Award winners per capita than any other state in the nation, according to the legislation.

Mississippi music has produced “kings” of musical influence from Tupelo native Elvis Presley, the “King of Rock & Roll,” to B.B. King, the “King of the Blues,” in Itta Bena. Even further back, the “King of Soul” himself, Sam Cooke was from Clarksdale. And who can forget Muddy Waters, credited for what we now know as modern Chicago blues.

It is undeniable that American music and music across the globe has been greatly influenced by Mississippians.

“There are so many musicians that have come out of this state and made a global impact,” said Jay Dean, Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Dean, who has been a public supporter of the bill, has spent more than 30 years investing in the state’s musical outlets from Opera and orchestra to city festivals.

“Music is one of the positive things we can point to, not only in the state and the country but also the world,” said Dean.

He hopes by establishing March as the “Mississippi Musicians Month” it will encourage cities and counties to find a way to celebrate local music every year.

“Mississippi’s music reflects the triumphs and struggles of its people and offers a profound glimpse into the human experience. The legacy of Mississippi’s musicians serves as a testament to the enduring power of music as a means of expression and connection,” said Dean.

The bill has been assigned to the House Rules Committee for consideration.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: