Music, history take center stage at Slavonian Lodge

He was the man who brought Elvis to Biloxi just before he rocketed to stardom, and, just as importantly, he brought James Brown to Biloxi Municipal Stadium where a diverse audience gathered in an otherwise turbulent Civil Rights era.

And, now, on the 50th anniversary of Soul Brother No. 1’s appearance in Biloxi, the City of Biloxi, the Croatian Cultural Center, and Dr. Gilbert Mason Jr. will host a community tribute to the F. “Yankie” Barhanovich, the late community leader and impresario.

The event, titled “The Music Mogul: Frank ‘Yankie’ Barhanovich Sr. Tribute and 50th Anniversary of the Biloxi Municipal Stadium Concerts,” will take place at the Slavonian Lodge on Friday, Aug. 5. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and the program begins at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free but space is limited so attendees are encouraged to get tickets at the Biloxi Visitors Center or call (228) 374-3105 for reservations.

The Aug. 5 date marks the 50th anniversary of the date in 1966 when the James Brown Revue performed at the Biloxi Municipal Stadium, which would later be renamed as “Yankie Stadium,” to commemorate Barhanovich’s civic involvement. The Aug. 5 show at the Slavonian Lodge also will spotlight another 1966 show at the stadium,  Dick Clark’s “Where the Action Is,” which featured Paul Reverse and the Raiders, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Billy Joe Royal, and the Knickerbockers.

The multi-media program will center on Biloxi’s musical heritage and Barhanovich’s role in shaping that heritage. It will feature presentations by local historian and journalist Kat Bergeron and musicologist and publisher Jim O’Neil, who is the research director of Mississippi Blues Trail and the founding co-editor of Living Blues Magazine. The evening also will feature interviews and live music performed by the Band of Gold.

“The goal of all our public history programs is to build public awareness and understanding of our rich history and cultural diversity,” said historical administrator Bill Raymond.  “The goals of this program are build public awareness of our City’s rich music history in performance and recording and also how music played an important role in the desegregation of our community.”

This program is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council.

After the program, the Band of Gold will continue to perform and the dance floor will be open.  Refreshments will be served with a cash bar.