W.C. Handy statue on Beale Street in Memphis

The 23rd Annual W. C. Handy Heritage Awards will celebrate the 146th birthday of the “Father of the Blues,” along with “Memphis Bicentennial Blues, Jazz and Soul.”

The black-tie extravaganza honoring “Authentic Beale Street Musicians,” will be held November 17, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Airport, 2240 Democrat Rd. It will be co-hosted by Toni Green, “International Queen of the Blues,” and television and radio personality Leon Griffin.

Noted jazz singer, Joyce Cobb will receive the Lifetime Music Achievement Award.  The “Authentic Beale Street Musician” recipients include Robert (Bobby Lavell) Garner, Jonathan Ellison, Frank Phillips and Teresa Tate-Clardy.  Posthumous awards will be given in honor of Harold Mabern, Jamil Nasser (George Joyner) and Philip Joyner.

Handy’s birthday is November 16, with the public invited to Beale Street for the Handy Birthday Bicentennial Celebration.

All Saturday events are free, with a special $5 admission to the W. C. Handy Museum. Tickets to the awards show are $50. Call 901-527-3427. For PayPal, visit paypal.com and send payment to [email protected].