Music on Main Street Features The Jonathan Fox Band and Southern Suburban Country

Music on Main Street on Your Local Color.ComRain threatened us again last Thursday, but the show went on. Nothing is going to stop Music on Main Street. This past Thursday it was The Jonathan Fox Band, and they rocked hard and chased away the clouds. Not to say we don’t need the rain, we do, but a little pause while we had the chance to enjoy a great free outdoor concert is always nice.

Front man and relatively recent UT grad, Jonathan Fox, pulled out all of the stops covering some old crowd favorites and serving up some of his own original tunes. Originally from the DFW area, Jonathan’s brand of Southern suburban country reminded me a lot of Pat Green with a few subtle Garth Brooks-ish undertones. [Read more…]

Round Rock’s Sam Bass Community Theatre – More Hidden Treasure

18ca31_4e42fdcfefa149abf4bcb3a7bf4aeb62.gif_srz_p_175_162_75_22_0.50_1.20_0It has always been tough being a kid. I know, everyone’s experience is a little different, but learning how to become an adult is just not easy. Someone always seems to be there with a clipboard and a stop watch to measure how a child is doing based on some arbitrary standard set by a bunch of experts who we all assume know what they are talking about. If a kid doesn’t live up to these standards when it is believed they should, they seem to have to start all over again and they can’t move on until a box is checked. That has to be unbelievably frustrating.

It just seems like it is a lot more complex now than when I was a kid. I don’t understand all of the causes, but kids seem a little more stressed out and anxious than I remember from my own experience in school and the experiences of my friends.

imagesI saw it when I did substitute teaching for a year in the Austin schools. I saw a lot of frustrated and sullen kids who appeared to have just given up. These kids were where the adults said they needed to be, and that seemed to be the extent of their commitment to the entire process. A lot of kids I worked with seemed to have just given up. It was very sad to see and experience. I was also stunned by the behavior I saw, and although I chalked a lot of it up to how kids treat subs, it was often stunningly offensive and dehumanizing; I wondered how this could have happened. When did this become okay?

I saw something quite different this past week at the Sam Bass CommunityTheatre here in Round Rock.Sam Bass Community Theatre (16) I saw motivated, relaxed and happy children who treated each other with kindness and respect, and they treated the adults who supervised and instructed them with the same level of care. It was wonderful. After my experience substituting in Austin, this really was one of the most uplifting experiences I have ever had. I left with a new appreciation for the adults who take time to work with children. On top of that, all of the adults who were there were not getting paid a penny for their time. This really was a labor of love. [Read more…]

Round Rock Celebrates Juneteenth with Rhythm and Ribs

Round Rock Juneteenth Rhythm and RibsRound Rock had a great time this past weekend celebrating Juneteenth at Old Settlers Park. The event was hosted by The Voice, Inc, the Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department,  and the Round Rock Express Baseball Team.  They did a great job. The whole two day event was a feast of great music and tasty barbeque. It was titled the Round Rock Juneteenth Rhythm and Ribs Celebration and it was a lot of fun. The rhythm was provided by the world class entertainment, and the ribs and barbeque came from folks who showed up for a competitive cook-off.

Round Rock Juneteenth Rhythm and Ribs

DJ Cut Creator

The Celebration started Friday evening and featured a performance by DJ Cut Creator and started again around 2:00pm on Saturday. I was only there on Saturday but if the quality of the entertainment on Friday was as good as it was on Saturday, Friday must have been awesome. Saturday had a superb line up of talent and if you watch the video, it starts off with some great praise music from the One Way Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir. The entertainment wrapped up on Saturday with the featured headliner, The Sonia Moore Experience.

There were several areas to explore while you were taking a break from the great music. There was a carnival area where you could take a spin or

Round Rock Juneteenth Rhythm and Ribs

Sonia Moore Experience

ride a zip line. There was a superb vendor area where you could pick up something special to take home, and there were food trailers there selling some great treats and eats. The Round Rock Police Department showed their support for the event by providing child ID and fingerprinting. Round Rock’s Fire Department also showed up with a pumper engine and passed out red fireman helmets to the kids. If that wasn’t enough, Rhythm and Ribs also invited local healthcare organizations to put on a health fair on site for its guests. Man, there was a lot to do. [Read more…]

Round Rock Drums and Ed Francis – A Round Rock Institution

Round Rock Drums Ed FrancisGosh. Where do you start with Ed Francis? Well, I guess the first place to start would be his booming voice that is full of enthusiasm, cheer and encouragement. What an amazing guy. If you’re a little depressed, you should take the time to get to know this fellow. If you are having a bad day, make an appointment to come by and watch Ed teach kids how to drum at Round Rock Drums. You will feel like a new man or woman. I’m not kidding here – totally serious.

Working with kids is tough, believe me. During my futile attempts to restart my professional life, I thought it would be fun to teach middle school kids science until I spent a year substituting. My substituting experience took that idea into the woods, tied it to a tree and clubbed it to death. At some point, I realized that teaching was not for me. However, one thing I gained from that experience was a much improved respect for people who can work with kids.

Ed is one of those people who deserve our admiration and respect not only because he can work with kids but also because he loves it. They love him too. It’s a lot like the experience I just wrote about concerning Vicki Henderson and Arts Avenue for Kids. Vicki feels like she really isn’t working because she is doing what she loves. That is the same language Ed uses when he talks about what he does. When you have found your passion and you can turn it into the thing that you use to feed your family, you are truly in a special place. [Read more…]

Georgtown’s Own – Arts Avenue For Kids

Arts Avenue for Kids Georgetown TexasVicki Henderson is one of those rare and fortunate individuals who has known what she was meant to do almost all of her life. From the age of five Vicki was involved in theater, performing first at church and later in high school and then college. Vicki’s talents and energies received additional focus while when she was in high school. It was at that time that she felt a calling to serve God through her theatrical talents.

Mrs. Henderson now is the owner of a Christian theater, dance, and music studio for local kids in Georgetown called Arts Avenue for Kids. Her journey to Georgetown took her across the United States but most notably through Colorado, Minnesota, Chicago, Round Rock, Austin and finally to her studio on East University Drive just west of Southwestern University. Before starting Arts Avenue for Kids, Vicki also found time to earn three degrees, write and perform in her own plays, find a husband, and have three children. One of those children, Ashlyn, was the subject of an earlier story I did about her wonderful handmade soaps and doll clothes.

Arts Avenue for Kids Georgetown Texas

Vicki’s performing days went well beyond her college years. She has worked for several different theater groups along the way and at one point wrote and stared in her own one-woman play Elsa that is fascinating and beautiful story about a Holocaust survivor. Vicki traveled across the U.S. for 10 years performing Elsa. Please take some time to learn more about the play Elsa on the attached video. [Read more…]

A Marvelous Party – Round Rock’s Penfold Theatre

imagesWell times are tough but they’re never so tough that a good jolt of dinner theater can’t bring a skip to your step and a smile to your face. Here’s your chance to relax, lighten up and support our amazing local performing artists. Penfold Theatre’s 2013 – 14 season will be announced at A Marvelous Party on May 19th on the grounds of Kindred Oaks estates out in the Hill Country.  Tickets are available through May 13th.  A Marvelous Party is complied and directed by Susan Finnigan and Nathan Jerkins.

A great meal will be catered by Bowties 2 Bluejeans while guests are entertained by local “crooners” who have been a part of Penfold’s past productions. The event is a fund raiser for Penfold and all of the proceeds will go to support its upcoming season and to further support its “mission to bring professional theater performances and education programs to North Travis and Williamson Counties.” Those who follow this blog know that this is just what Your Local is all about.

Ryan Crowder

Ryan Crowder

I had the chance to spend some time with several of the people involved with the Penfold Theatre group. I dropped by a rehearsal held at the beautiful home of Susan Finnigan where I got the chance to peek in on the musical magic and interview Penfold’s Producing Artistic Director, Ryan Crowder. I was also able to listen to performances by Nathan Jerkins, Penfold’s Artistic Director, and Stephanie Delk, who is a stage manager and performer with Penfold Theatre. They were working on their songs for the A Marvelous Party performance, as was Ryan, and if you click on the video you will get to see and hear some of what you are in for at the May 19th fund raiser. The video also goes into some interesting detail about Penfold’s past, present and future.  [Read more…]

Round Rock Market Days on Main Street

Round Rock Monday Music On Main StreetI’m gonna start calling Round Rock and Williamson County “the place of a million hidden treasures.” Austin and Travis County get a lot of the attention. I guess you can say that Austin is the “Marsha” of the Central Texas Brady Bunch. But the rest of the Central Texas Brady Bunch of sister communities have nothing to be ashamed of, especially Round Rock.

I am sure that others have heard about Round Rock’s Round Rock Market Days, but I wasn’t as up to speed as you folks in the know. I’m catching up. I was snooping around on some calendars and found it listed as an event and decided it needed to be checked out. I am glad I did.

Sherri Arrington and Annie Urban put their heads together and decided to form Mainstreet Productions which is responsible for Round Rock Market Days. Round Rock Market Days happens on Round Rock’s old town Main Street across from the Round Rock Public Library. There are scores of really great craft and arts booths, food vendors, jewelry booths and lots of other local businesses selling their wares. Round Rock Market Days is a monthly event usually happening on the first Saturday of every month (except for October 2013) and is currently scheduled through December 7th of this year. Sherri and Annie are also responsible for the Pflugerville Pfood Ranch and, if you want to learn more about that event click here. [Read more…]

Round Rock’s Monday Music on Main Street – The Staylyns

Round Rock Monday Music On Main StreetMain Street was really rockin’ last night with the Staylyns. What a talented bunch of musicians. The Staylyns entertained the Main Street crowd with a superb mix of cover tunes and originals. I am a huge Bonnie Raitt fan so when I heard their cover of Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About, I knew I would forever be a fan. Suzy Staton’s vocals were perfect. She totally nailed it and still made it her own.  I can’t leave out mention of Johnny Austin & Joey Kraft’s skills. They are all great vocalists and superb musicians.  Just a lot of fun.

The Staylyns have a real blue’s flavor to their tunes but it is just great rock n roll and, to quote Mick Jagger, “I like it, like it, yes I do.” It was over all too soon but there was good reason.

I noticed that there is a core of regulars that attend the Monday Music on Main Street. It is great to see the familiar faces. I have to shout out to Jerry and Joyce Stark who are regulars and, a big Texas shout out to Jerry and Joyce’s grandson, Chris Stark, who is now enjoying life up in the great northwest. I also got to see my new friends, Reuel and Connie Hoelscher, whom I met at the Centennial Celebration while they were showing their automobile restoration handiwork. And of course, I have to say once again, “great job” to Kristin Brown and Scot Wilkinson who are responsible for this great, free, entertainment. If you are enjoying Monday Music on Main, give them a thank you.

The crowd was a little thinner than I’ve seen in the past but that was due to the weather reports predicting rain. It did spit a little but it wasn’t the rain that ended the concert, it was a lightning strike a short distance away that did it. I mean, we all love outside rock concerts but, as we all know, water and electricity don’t play well together. It was the right thing to do. [Read more…]

Round Rock’s Centennial Celebration: 100 Years of Awesome

rr_centennial_logo_webAnother triumph for the City of Round Rock special events team headed up by Kristin Brown and Scot Wilkinson. The weather was extremely cooperative, the entertainment was excellent, the crowd was large and happy and the vendors were outstanding. All-in-all it was a great day.

My wife and I have always loved street fairs and the only thing that didn’t keep this from being perfect was she was home nursing my daughter who was home for the weekend and a little under the weather. Still, it was a lot of fun.

The program on Main Street was packed with musical entertainment (check out the video that features Magnificent 7 with Jennifer Zavaleta) street vendors, great food and a classic custom cars show sponsored by Atomic Garage. When the Main Street part of the events wrapped up at 3:30, the fun continued over on Bagdad Street where the Vander Clyde “Barbette” Broadway 100 Yard Dash took place.

An evening concert started after the Barbette Broadway race was over and it began with the Chris Castaneda Project. The Centennial Plaza dedication was at 6:45 pm followed by performances from Carolyn Wonderland and Dale Watson. [Read more…]

Monday Music on Main Street – Inside Out Steelband Wows Round Rock

Round Rock Monday Music On Main StreetI know why Monday Music on Main Street is so much fun, it’s because it’s like getting a couple hours of your weekend back after a long Monday. It makes Monday worth living through because you know what’s coming at the end of the day. Monday Night Music on Main Street never fails to deliver a great evening, and last night was no exception. The music was provided by Inside Out Steelband and they were just terrific. It was like a little slice of a Caribbean summer vacation for two hours.

Just like every Monday, folks show up with their kids, grand kids, pets, lawn chairs and coolers a little before 6:00 and continue to filter in for the next half hour. Blankets are spread on the grassy areas and shoes are kicked off while everyone settles in for a great evening of music. They got a real treat on Monday. I think this may have been my first full-on, steel band concert, and I loved it. They did a great job covering old popular tunes and performed a great assortment of traditional steel band music right from the Caribbean.

Inside Out Steelband is more than a great band, it is also an “arts-in-education” program that has been around Central Texas since 1996. The goal of the band, besides obviously great musical entertainment, is to expose the Austin and Central Texas area to a slice of outside culture – Trinidadian culture. Inside Out Steelband’s Director, C.J. Menge started this group not only to entertain but to educate Central Texans as well. C.J. is also busy spreading the Steelband love to local high schools and middle schools students in San Antonio as well as Austin. He has even started a steel band program at the University of Texas. [Read more…]