Arts & Entertainment

LaDonna Gatlin

The Volunteers of OakBend Medical Center are holding their second Power of the Purse fundraiser to raise money that will be donated to the renovation of the hospital’s Skilled Nursing Unit.

Each year, the volunteers donate money that has been raised through various events such as craft and bake sales and through the sales of popcorn, pickles and items in the gift shop. Last year, the volunteers raised $17,000 at the Power of the Purse to help with renovations in the Skilled Nursing Unit, the only part of the original hospital.

This year’s event will take place on Thursday, April 6th from 11AM – 1PM at Safari Texas. The Power of the Pur$e event will include lunch and a silent auction of a variety of purses ranging from everyday purses to designer bags.

Melissa Wilson of Fox 26 will be emceeing the program. The keynote speaker this year will be LaDonna Gatlin. LaDonna, a native Texan, is the sister of County Music’s Gatlin Bros. and is a performer, professional speaker and author.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.oakbendmedcenter.org under the events section or call (281) 341-2864. For additional information for tickets or sponsorships email ldrummond@obmc.org.

 

Children’s Entertainment Center Makes Improvements to Better Family Experience 

Monkey Joe’s, a children’s entertainment center, announces the opening of eight new inflatables for children and toddlers in the Katy and Copperfield locations. In addition to the new obstacles, the local owners improved the location’s floorplans to create a more family-friendly environment, considering parents, children and toddlers.

Monkey Joe’s Katy installed three new jumps featuring a Monkey Joe’s themed Dual Slide, Pirate Ship and a new toddler Pirate Ship. In addition, the location made improvements to its party rooms with new party chairs and overall design updates and new interior paint. Monkey Joe’s Copperfield also installed new jumps for children and toddlers, including a super-sized Monkey Joe’s Fortress, Artic Plunge, Crayola Obstacle Course and two new toddler jumps featuring a Monkey Joe’s themed Candy Slide and Hello Kitty Jump.

The new owners of Monkey Joe’s Katy and Copperfield noticed parents were increasingly bringing both their elementary-school aged children and toddlers in to play, so they wanted to ensure children of all ages can have a safe and entertaining experience. The local owners also considered feedback from parents to create a designated Mini-Monkey Zone with special wrist-bands for children ages three and under, so that parents and younger children can easily enjoy their experience. In addition to opening new jumps, both locations updated its floor plans to add a dining area near the concession stand and to incorporate better pathways around the inflatables.

Monkey Joe’s offers a discounted admission of $4.99 to children ages two and under and offers a Toddler Tuesday discount, which includes $5 admission to children ages five and under, between 10am – 3pm. Monkey Joe’s Katy is located at 511-A S. Mason Rd., Houston, TX 77450.  Monkey Joe’s Copperfield is located at 15540 FM 529, Houston, TX 77095.

Operating hours are Monday – Thursday, 10am – 7pm, Friday – Saturday, 10am – 8pm and Sunday, 11am – 7pm. For more information, visit www.monkeyjoes.com.

 

March 27 event will raise funds for scholarships, subsidized programming

From left to right, Jennifer Ramsey, group exercise instructor at Monty Ballard YMCA, Ralph Fluker and Melanie Ellis, past board members for Katy Area YMCAs, and Bill Griffin, current Katy Area YMCA board member, pose after last year’s Spring Golf Classic Tournament.

Fort Bend County, Texas – On March 27, the Fort Bend Family YMCA, T.W. Davis Family YMCA, Monty Ballard YMCA at Cinco Ranch, and the YMCA at Katy Main Street – all four located in Fort Bend County – will be hosting the 11th Annual YMCA Golf Classic, sponsored by Fort Bend Toyota and Sterling McCall Lexus.

The event will serve as a fundraiser for the YMCA’s Annual Campaign and ultimately provide support for scholarships and subsidized programming.

The YMCA is in the process of rounding up teams and sponsors who will support this charitable event. The deadline for signing up is March 20.

“We are excited to be teaming up once again with an organization that does so much for youth and families in our region,” said Joey Dupuis, a co-sponsor of the event and general manager at Sterling McCall Lexus.

This year, the tournament will be held at Pecan Grove Country Club with a shotgun start at 11:30 a.m.

The Y event will have a best ball scramble format and include several on-course competitions, including the Hit the Green Contest sponsored by Thom Polvogt Insurance Group. It will also include a lunch donated by Swinging Door BBQ and dinner donated by Macaroni Grill. Golfers will enjoy complimentary beverages and snacks during their rounds. And, each golfer will receive a goodie bag that includes a shirt, balls, snacks and more. During the dinner and awards ceremony, golfers can participate in both silent and live auctions.

Supporters already on board include: Fluor, Staff Force, NtheZone Photography, NRG-WA Parish Plant, and Direct Energy.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Annual Support Campaigns of the Fort Bend Family YMCA in Missouri City, the T.W. Davis Family YMCA in Richmond, the Monty Ballard YMCA at Cinco Ranch, and the YMCA at Katy Main Street. Combined, the campaigns provide scholarships or subsidized programming for more than 7,000 youth, families and individuals in YMCA programs, outreach and memberships.

“With the generosity of those in the community, we can continue to serve our neighbors by providing educational and healthy experiences for all, regardless of a person’s ability to pay,” said Brian Haines, District Executive Director for the YMCA.

For information on available sponsorships or team registration call Connie Stirgus or Brian Haines at 281-392-5055.

Already planning their costumes for the Le Cirque Gala shown front row (L to R) are: Cynthia Barratt (holding Princess), Kay Carlin and Jacque Burgess (holding Max). Back row (L to R) are Thomas Mason, Marilyn Parker, George Haines and Clayton Reeves.

 OCuSOFT, Inc. will join Exchange Club of Sugar Land as Ringmaster Sponsor for Child Advocates of Fort Bend’s 17th annual gala – Le Cirque, a whimsical, fantastical ball on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at the Sugar Land Marriott Town Square. “We’ll have Cirque du Soleil style entertainment, a live auction, silent auction, raffle, wine pull, dinner and dancing,” stated Event Chair Lisa Moore. “New for this year is our magical, mystery jewelry pull. We’ve teamed with the folks at Kendra Scott for this fun, new addition to our event. Guests will pay $50 to select a box containing a piece of jewelry from Kendra Scott’s current signature collection worth at least $50 and up to $200.”

Michele Fisher will serve as the evening’s emcee. Ray Aguilar will be the auctioneer. Black tie and costumes are optional. Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are available ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. Individual tickets are $150. To attend the Gala, become a sponsor or for more information, go to https://www.cafb.org/events/gala/sponsorship-opportunities/ or contact Lisa Moore at 281-344-5108 or lmoore@cafb.org.

Proceeds from the three-day outdoor fine art festival will benefit six local charities

The 2017 Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park, produced by the Art Colony Association, Inc. (ACA), has selected six local non-profits that will benefit from a portion of the proceeds of the event. The three-day celebration will be held Friday – Sunday, March 24- 26, 2017, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and will spotlight over 300 artists from 19 different disciplines in Memorial Park. “The Art Colony Association is dedicated to producing fine art festivals and providing financial support to its local non-profit partners,” said Bridget Anderson, Executive Director of Art Colony Association. “The support from our sponsors and festival attendees help us raise funds, and we are truly grateful for our success in supporting local charities during the past 46 years.” Each non-profit provides volunteers and has the option to host an art station in the Children’s Creative Zone.

The six non-profit partners benefiting from the 2017 Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park include:

• A Cause to Give us Paws
• ESCAPE Family Resource Center
• Fresh Arts • Lawndale Art Center
• Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
• The Arc of Greater Houston

As the nation’s premier outdoor fine art event, the three-day festival will feature music, food trucks, beverages, entertainment, a Children’s Creative Zone and much more. For the past 46 years, ACA, has provided a venue for more than 20,000 artists to showcase their artwork to thousands of art lovers from all over the world. The participating artists, some new and some returning are selected by a new jury every year.

This year’s featured artist, Amanda Bennett, is a mixed media artist that transforms mid-century advertising, acrylic mediums and photography into a mash up on plywood, inspired by pop art and funk style. As a child, she use to paint with her grandmother and used a spatula as her primary tool. Now, Bennett resides in New Orleans where the city’s rhythm, color palette and energy stirs and ignites her creative process.

Sponsors for this year’s Bayou City Art Festival Memorial Park include Direct Energy, Green Mountain Energy, LeafGuard Gutter Protection, Power Home Remodeling, Renewal by Andersen and Stella Artois. Media Partners include Absolutely Memorial, Art Houston, CKW Luxe, Culturemap, Greensheet Media, H Texas, Hot in Houston, Houston CityBook, Houston Family Magazine, Houston Lifestyles & Homes, Houston Modern Luxury, Houstonia, JMG, Key, La Subasta, Patch Houston, River Oaks Living, TravelHost Houston and Ultra.

Online tickets are on sale now until the day of the event at www.artcolonyassociation.org. Tickets online are $12 for adults and $5 for children 6 – 12; children five and under are free. Tickets at the gate are $15 for adults. Also available online are two-day passes for $20 and family passes (two adults, two children tickets) for $30. Discounted tickets for Veterans and Seniors will be available at the gate. Donations are also being accepted online.

For updates on social media, follow the official event hashtags #HouArtFest and #BCAF, like the Facebook page, or follow on Twitter and Instagram. About Bayou City Art Festival: Now entering its 46th year, the Art Colony Association has raised $3.5 million for local non-profit programs through the festivals. A percentage of the proceeds support local art organizations and nonprofits.

The Festivals are funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, corporate sponsorships, private contributions, in-kind support and volunteer assistance. Volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information, please visit www.artcolonyassociation.org.

 

February 6, 2017 – April Fool’s Day is right around the corner, and the Spring Sip n Stroll could be called April Food’s day with the most anticipated culinary, wine and craft beer tasting event in Katy. Katy Sip n Stroll, presented by Kroger, is scheduled for April 1, 5:00 – 8:00 pm at the Villagio Town Center at 22762 Westheimer Parkway and benefits The Ballard House.

Food

It’s no joke! Attendees will enjoy 35 food tasting stations from the area’s best restaurants, 35 wine tables and 20 craft beer tables. While noshing and sipping there are activities and presentations to enjoy such as live music on the Aruba Courtyard stage and the Xochitl Street Music stage, The Cane Island Home Zone, seminars and cooking demonstrations in the Chef’s Corner, local artisans and vendors and a charity wine pull.

Wine Pour

Guests who want to enjoy the finest of wines can upgrade to the Firethorne VIP Zone with premium wine selections, finer foods, a VIP swag bag and a dedicated area with relaxed seating and great people watching. VIPs enjoy the whole event one hour ahead of general admission with access to the Bubbles @ Villagio champagne pre-party and the Kroger Beer Club connoisseur craft beer tasting with rare and special selections.

Attendees will cast their vote for their favorite dishes and one deserving restaurant will take away the 4th annual Premier Culinary award presented by Eat Prime Foods. Everyone is a winner with the delectable selections to please their palate.

Even though it’s April Fool’s Day, it’s no joke. All this starting at just $25 per ticket through March 1st at midnight when general admission tickets go back to $35.

Kroger Display

Katy has embraced this signature community event that they welcome each spring and fall”, says Constance McDerby, Founder & Co-Producer, Food & Vine Time Productions. “Villagio Town Center is the perfect location to host this Katy celebration of food, wine and festivities. It’s a party with a purpose as we raise funds for The Ballard House. It’s an honor and a privilege to assist with their service and mission.”

Volunteer

The Ballard House, a Cinco Charities, Inc. 501(c)3 non-profit, provides temporary housing in a warm, safe environment for individuals and their families who are hospitalized or receiving treatment for a serious medical condition. The Ballard House through Cinco Charities® has been providing housing since 2008, to patients and their caregivers who travel to the Katy/Houston area for medical treatment.

Last year, the fest helped generate more than $40,000 for The Ballard House. ““The Ballard House is able to support patients and their families while they receive treatment for a life-threatening illness because of the generosity of the Katy community. I’m exceedingly proud of our town and how folks participate in Sip N’ Stroll!” says Kathy Alt, Executive Director of The Ballard House.

Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are available until March 10. Volunteers have a great time and are always needed and appreciated. For details, contact the Food & Vine Productions office at 713-557-5732.

Tickets are only $25 until March 1 – the No Joke Special. From March 2 tickets return to normal prices ranging from $35-$65 and $15 for designated drivers. Tickets will be $5.00 more at the door. For more information, visit www.sipandstroll.com.

March scheduled performances

All performances are always free

Fun facts and frequently asked questions at the bottom

All photo credits: Courtesy Miller Outdoor Theatre 

HOUSTON ─ Since 1923, Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park has been one of Houston’s most beloved cultural treasures, a gathering place for the community and the site of thousands of memorable free performances.  That’s over 90 years of memories.

Miller is unique in the United States, offering an eight month season of professional, artistically-excellent and culturally diverse entertainment completely FREE of charge to the public. This is the largest “always free” program of its kind in the country and it attracts hundreds of thousands each season.

From daytime programs especially for young children to family friendly evening performances of classical music, jazz, ethnic music and dance, ballet, Shakespeare, musical theatre, popular concert artists, films and more, this is Houston’s best entertainment value.

2017 Season Opener: Michael Londra’s Celtic Fire

March 17 at 8 p.m.

Celtic Fire, starring renowned Irish tenor Michael Londra, presents the culture of Ireland, with a focus on Irish dance. Its electric energy sweeps audiences away to the Emerald Isle – its culture, its music, its pubs, its heart.

World-class Irish dancers take the stage with brilliant flashes of speed and exuberance. The jigs and reels they perform with precision are a joy to watch. The innovative choreography is original to the show, presenting an exciting style of Irish dance that perfectly complements the live band. Intricate group numbers and looser solo spots are the hit of each performance. Many want to join in… and younger audience members usually do!

Michael Londra’s CELTIC FIRE YouTube video https://youtu.be/hJlxKr7fnF8

The music of Celtic Fire is traditional at its core, with all of Ireland’s national instruments included: the fiddle driving frenetic reels; our great drum, the bodhran, beating out the driving rhythms of the band; the plaintive uileann pipes calling back to days of yore with beautiful and haunting slow airs.

A native of Wexford, Ireland (the singing capital of Ireland), Michael Londra is a driving force in Irish arts worldwide. He is described as “one of the greatest Irish singers of our time” by CapitalCeltic. He was lead singer in Riverdance on Broadway and his Michael Londra Beyond Celtic concert aired on PBS stations nationwide more than 300 times in 2011. He has performed on the world’s biggest stages, from Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall, to Kremlin Palace in Moscow and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

Presented by Miller Outdoor Theatre

Noche Caliente featuring Ray De La Paz

March 18 at 8 p.m.

Diaz Music Institute presents legendary salsa singer Ray De La Paz performing with Houston’s premier youth group “Caliente”, directed by Grammy Music Educator Finalist Jose Antonio Diaz.

RAY DE LA PAZ was born in the late 1940s in Harlem, NYC and grew up in the Bronx listening to rock, doo-wop and Mexican influenced music. He took vocal lessons as a child, but it wasn’t until 1970 when he stood in as a last minute replacement vocalist for El Conjunto de Don Juan that he first sang Latin music. That night the band opened the concert that also featured Joe Cuba with Cheo Feliciano and Jimmy Sabater, Ricardo Ray and Bobby Cruz, and Eddie Palmieri’s La Perfecta with Ismeal Quintana.

Ray played with Don Juan for almost two years before hooking up with Chino y su Conjunto Melao, singing on their self-titled first album (1975) that contained the hit “Que Bien Te Vez.” During this period he met Louie Ramírez, who asked de la Paz to sing coro on “La Pollera Colora” on the album Conquista Musical with Sonora Ponceña (1976). 1976 was also the year of his recording debut with Ray Barretto on Barretto Live, the first of four records he would cut with Barretto that also included Rican/Struction (1979), Giant Force (1980), and Rhythm of Life (1982).

In 1982, de la Paz was tapped by Louie Ramírez, along with José Alberto “El Canario” and Isidro Infante to be part of a novel recording project of doing salsa arrangements of hit ballads, with the result being the album Noche Caliente, which spawned the monster hits “Estar Enamorado” and “Todo Se Derrumbó” and created a new style of music now called Salsa Romántica.

Ramírez and de la Paz began to tour together and recorded three massively successful Gold records, ¡Con Caché! (’84), Alegres y Romanticos (’85), and Sabor con Clase! (’86), before de la Paz started his solo career, releasing Como Tu Quieras in 1990 on RMM. He reunited with Ramírez in ’92 to record Otra Noche Caliente, containing the hits “Suddenly”, “Definitivamente”, and the ever-popular “Medley”.

In 2000 he joined the Spanish Harlem Orchestra as lead vocalist and their Grammy nominated debut release Un Gran Dia En El Barrio (2002) was honored with the Latin Billboard Award for Salsa Album of the Year. 2004’s Across 110th Street won the Grammy for Best Salsa/Meringue Albumb, and in 2010 they won the Grammy for Best Tropical Latin Album for Viva La Tradicion. Their latest record, the self-titled Spanish Harlem Orchestra was released in 2014.

Diaz Music Institute YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRm-g6KOH4w

Todo Se Derrumbo – Ray De La Paz video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjBAqVae6Kc

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m.,

Presented by Diaz Music Institute

FOOTLOOSE, The Musical

March 30, 31 and April 1, 6, 7, 8 at 8 p.m.

Lose your blues, cut loose, and kick off your Sunday shoes as HITS Theatre presents the finger-snapping, toe-tapping musical, FOOTLOOSE.

One of the most explosive movie musicals in recent memory bursts onto the live stage with exhilarating results. When Ren and his mother move from Chicago to a small farming town, Ren is prepared for the inevitable adjustment period at his new high school. What he isn’t prepared for are the rigorous local edicts, including a ban on dancing instituted by the local preacher, determined to exercise the control over the town’s youth that he cannot command in his own home. When the reverend’s rebellious daughter sets her sights on Ren, her roughneck boyfriend tries to sabotage Ren’s reputation, with many of the locals eager to believe the worst about the new kid.

The heartfelt story that emerges is of a father longing for the son he lost and of a young man aching for the father who walked out on him. To the rockin’ rhythm of its Oscar and Tony-nominated top 40 score and augmented with dynamic new songs for the stage musical, FOOTLOOSE celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people, guiding them with a warm heart and an open mind.

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

Produced by HITS Theatre

Fun Facts and Frequently Asked Questions about Miller Outdoor Theatre

Where is everyone going?

Since 1923, Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park has been one of Houston’s most beloved cultural treasures, a gathering place for the community and the site of thousands of memorable free performances.  That’s over 90 years of memories!

Miller is unique in the United States, offering an eight month season of professional, artistically-excellent and culturally diverse entertainment completely FREE of charge to the public. This is the largest “always free” program of its kind in the country and it attracts hundreds of thousands each season.  From daytime programs especially for young children to family friendly evening performances of classical music, jazz, ethnic music and dance, ballet, Shakespeare, musical theatre, popular concert artists, films and more, this is Houston’s best entertainment value.

What to expect at Miller Outdoor Theatre?

Leave the neckties and high heels at home. Expect quality entertainment from around the world without the daunting dress code of a traditional theater. Miller Outdoor Theatre offers audiences a relaxed atmosphere, allowing guests to enjoy one another’s company as well as a great performance.

The price is right. All performances are always free!

To the Right, or to the Left on the hill?

Take a family vote on where you’d like to sit to enjoy the performance. Tickets are not necessary for hillside seating. Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome. Please note that lawn chairs must be placed on the left side of the hill. Sit on the right side of the hill if you prefer to sit on a blanket.

How do you get a seat in the covered seating area for evening performances?

Approximately 1,700 new seats were installed under the canopy in 2009. Admission is free for all performances. All evening shows (except movies) require tickets for admission for seats under the canopy. For those performances, assigned seat tickets are available, on a first-come basis and while supplies last, on the day of performance only between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the box office behind the theatre.  A maximum of four tickets per person over age 16 is allowed.  Any remaining tickets are released one hour before curtain. TICKETS MAY NOT BE RESERVED BY PHONE. 

Can I lose my seat even though I had a ticket?

All unclaimed seats are released 5 minutes before the show is scheduled to begin. We encourage all patrons to be in their seats 15 minutes before show time to insure that their seat will not be released. Again, there is NO charge for tickets.

Please note: At management’s discretion, all unoccupied seats may be released at any time for any reason.  

How do you get a seat in the covered seating area for daytime performances?

The Daytime Children’s Series offers teachers and parents alike an excellent opportunity to expose youngsters to the delights of the performing arts with a series of productions designed especially for children.  Performances begin at 11 a.m. and last approximately 1 hour. No tickets are necessary for covered seating area. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Paper or Plastic?

You choose. But, definitely NO glass containers of any kind are allowed.

You’ll never go hungry here

Miller Theatre’s concession stand offers refreshments and other supplies for picnics. Purchasing concessions at Miller Theatre supports the free performances.

No Smoking

Miller Theatre is a NO SMOKING zone.  Smoking is not allowed in any City of Houston Park, including Hermann Park. No smoking at the theatre, on the plaza or on the hill. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

What to pack

Decisions, decisions…there are so many choices. Pack a picnic basket with fried chicken or caviar. It’s up to you. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. Definitely bring the whole family.  Yes, you may even pack alcohol.  But please, leave the glass containers at home.

 Katy Visual and Performing Arts Center (KVPAC) Encore Players, Katy’s award winning community theatre, is heading to the Texas state competition of the American Association of Community Theatre.  KVPAC will be competing with the one act play, Answers, by Tom Topor. KVPAC needs your support through a charitable donation!

In 2015, KVPAC Encore Players won first place at the Texas state competition and represented Texas in the Regional competition (Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico and Louisiana) winning the first place alternate position for USA competition.

Answers, a successful Off-Off-Broadway production, selected for inclusion in “Best Short Plays is a, “gripping and powerful play that probes into the helpless terror experienced by a suspect undergoing a relentless police interrogation. “…a compelling, contemporary comment on society.” —Show Business.” Mr. Topor as a dramatist writes cleanly, with flair for sharp dialogue.” —NY Post.

Gregory J. Magyar, KVPAC’s Executive Artistic Director who was in the show that won in 2015 and received an ‘All Star Cast’ award is returning this year with Trenton Stephenson and James Duncan under the direction of Joshua Schorejs, a director and teacher at KVPAC, who won the Excellence in Directing Award in 2015.

Answers is a short play about a man (James Duncan) having been detained for questioning, in a crime about which he claims to know nothing, is grilled by two persistent police officers (Gregory Magyar and Trenton Stephenson). They call him “Byron” (although he insists this is not his name) and their initially bantering attitude turns steadily more ominous as they attempt to force a confession. Ultimately, in a scene of shattering intensity, they succeed—but disturbing questions linger. Have justice and truth indeed been served? Or has another hapless victim been sacrificed to society’s inexorable need for retribution at any cost?

Community theatre is just one component of KVPAC, Magyar explained.  “We are an arts-rich community delivering visual and performing arts for all ages featuring quality programming for everyone in Katy and the surrounding areas.”

KVPAC is asking readers to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support the Encore Players and make it possible for them to continue to represent Katy, TX at competitions.  For your convenience, online payments can be made by visiting our website at: https://www.gofundme.com/kvpac-encore-players-competition or mail your contribution to KVPAC, 2501 South Mason Road #290, Katy, Texas 77450.

 

HOUSTON, TX (02/17/2017) When the touring show “In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” comes to the Hobby Center on March 17, be on the lookout for two quartets — not just one.

The Cinco Ranch High School (Katy) String Quartet have the privilege of joining the professional actors on stage to add an element of orchestral texture to the evening.

Here’s the rundown:  

The show: “In My Life” is the musical retelling of the Beatles story through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein and features the live music of renowned tribute band Abbey Road. The band features Chris Paul Overall (“Paul”), Nathaniel Bott (“John”), Zak Schaffer (“George”) and Axel Clarke (“Ringo”). Brian Epstein is played by Murphy Martin. The production includes multimedia, period costumes and vintage instruments. It has toured for years, with a critic for the Orange County Register at one point declaring, “If you see one tribute show, see this one –smart and loads of fun.” The show is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades.

The string quartet: Cinco Ranch High seniors Aidan Gettemy and Daniela Melo, junior Janet Li and sophomore Joshua Jung will join the band for the songs “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in the Life,” “Hello Goodbye,” and “Hey Jude.” In a special touch, “Yesterday” is played as a scene in which the Paul McCartney character plays the song for the first time for Beatles producer George Martin, with the songwriter explaining that he envisioned a string-quartet accompaniment.

In addition to performing with Cinco Ranch High’s most advanced ensemble, the Sinfonia Orchestra, quartet members play with prestigious area ensembles, including the Houston Youth Symphony and All State Honors Orchestras. The young musicians have consistently received excellent ratings at University Interscholastic League (UIL) solo and ensemble competitions, Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) festivals, Houston Young Artists’ Concerts and the Coltman Chamber Competition.

String quartet for hire: The quartet performs at weddings and other events. Those interested in hiring the quartet may contact Brett Nelson at BrettTNelsen@KATYISD.ORG or (281)222-4307.

How the “Beatles” connection was started: The producers of “In My Life” approached CRHS Orchestra Director Brett Nelson looking for a talented ensemble which could hold their own with a rock band in front of an audience. The show commonly uses a local quartet to augment the production while on tour.

The quartet’s Beatles fans: Li, Melo and Gettemy are the quartet’s Fab Four fans.

Li and Melo’s favorite Beatles tune is “Hey Jude.”

“I’m excited that we get to play “Hey Jude” in the Beatles show,” she said.

The details: In My Life – A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles is the award-winning musical biography of the Beatles through the eyes of manager Brian Epstein, featuring the live music of renowned tribute band, Abbey Road. The show is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades. The smash hit production performs at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts – Zilkha Hall on March 17 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $33- $64, plus applicable ticket fees, and may be purchased online at www.thehobbycenter.org, by phone at 713.315.2525 or at the Hobby Center Box Office. The show is appropriate for all ages.

And here is some additional information about the CRHS String Quartet:

Janet Li, 16, has been playing the violin for eight years. In addition to serving as the Concert Mistress for the RCHS Sinfonia Orchestra, Li has received superior ratings at UIL competitions and TMEA festivals. She has played with All-State Honors Orchestras.

“The violin is so interesting to play that I never get tired of practicing,” said Li. “I get to play with amazing people in our orchestra.”

She belongs to Music in Motion, a charitable school club which performs at nursing homes, the RCHS Future Business Leaders of America club, the Spanish Honors Society, National Honors Society and is an officer for her school orchestra.

The junior has a 4.625 grade point average and aspires to study computer science at a four year university.

Li is a Beatles fan and her favorite Fab Four tune is “Hey Jude.”

Daniela Melo, 19, has been playing viola for more than ten years. She plays with the CGHS Sinfonia Orchestra and has performed with All-State Orchestras and the Houston Youth Symphony. She received a excellent rating as a soloist in the TMEA Solo and Ensemble Festival earlier this year.

“The viola isn’t loud like the violin or dark like the cello,” said Melo. “It’s right in the middle and it’s beautiful.”

“I love playing in orchestra because you learn how to work together to make music and make friends.”

The senior plans to attend college after graduation and study Music Performance.

Melo is a Beatles fan and her favorite Fab Four tune is “Hey Jude.”

“I’m excited that we get to play “Hey Jude” in the Beatles show,” she said.

Joshua Jung, 15, has played the violin for six years. He is a member of the CRHS Sinfonia Orchestra and performed with the Houston Youth Symphony. He has received outstanding ratings with TMEA solo and ensemble competitions and UIL festivals.

“I enjoy developing as a musician and playing with like-minded people in orchestra,” said Jung

He is a member of his school’s Science Olympiad and Science Bowl, Mu Alpha Theta, a math honors society, and the Future Business Leaders of America club.

The sophomore plans to attend college and study engineering.
When Aidan Gettemy was seven-years-old, he heard cellist Jo Jo Ma perform and immediately began taking cello lessons. He was the principal cellist with the Houston Youth Symphony and was awarded the Performance Excellence Award by TMEA at the state level.  He has received consistent superior ratings with UIL festivals and the Coltman Chamber Competition. He has performed with All-State Honors Orchestras and is a member of the RCHS Sinfonia Orchestra.

“I love the tonal sound of the cello and I’m interested in learning all aspects of the instrument,” said Gettemy, who plans to study cello in college.
The senior is a member of Mu Alpha Theta, the Spanish Honors Society and maintains a 4.7 grade point average.
Gettemy, 18, is a long-time Beatles fan.

And here is some additional information about CRHS Orchestra Director Brett Nelson:

Brett Nelsen has been the Orchestra Director at Cinco Ranch High School (CRHS) since the school’s inception during the fall of 1999. Prior to CRHS, starting his career in Katy in 1994, he served as the Orchestra Director at Beck Junior High when that facility opened in 1997. CRHS Orchestra is recognized as one of the top orchestra programs in the state. Under his leadership, CRHS Orchestras have been Honor Orchestra Finalists eight times in the past ten years in both string and full orchestras. CRHS Orchestras have consistently earned top prizes and have earned Outstanding Orchestra Awards in Festivals across Texas and the United States. Making their Carnegie Hall Debut with the National Band and Orchestra Festival in 2006, they performed to rave reviews by Craig Kirchoff, David Battisti, and H. Robert Reynolds.  From 1998-2005 Mr. Nelsen was affiliated with The Greater Houston Youth Orchestra as conductor of the String Ensemble. He is sought after as a clinician for various region orchestras across the state. He also the longest served as Orchestra Division Chair for TMEA Region 23 from 2002 -2012.

Mr. Nelsen has lived in the Houston area practically all his life and where he has also received all of his schooling. He just completed a Masters in Music Education degree under Dr. Jennifer Mishra and studied conducting with Maestro Franz Anton Krager at the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston. Mr. Nelsen’s undergraduate work was completed at Rice University with a focus on Music and Managerial Studies.

Cinco Ranch High School Music Department’s other achievements: The Cinco Ranch Orchestra program consists of six performance ensembles. All students in the various performance ensembles perform at regular concerts throughout the year, participate in community service projects and are encouraged to participate in the fundraising process. Members participate in the UIL Solo and Ensemble Contest in February and the UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contests in the spring semester. Additional activities include auditioning for Region, Area, and All-State Orchestras and other youth orchestras in the Houston area. All students are encouraged to participate in all social activities planned for the orchestra program and annual spring trip.

And here is some additional information about “In My Life”:

“In My Life: A Musical Theatre Tribute to the Beatles” is the award winning, smash hit musical biography of the Beatles as seen through the eyes of their manager Brian Epstein and featuring the live music of renowned tribute band Abbey Road. This family friendly musical tale is widely considered by industry insiders to be the most unique Beatles show in decades.

“The show delivers!” said the L.A. Times. “If you see one tribute show, see this one – smart and loads of fun,” said the O.C. Register. “This is the ticket for you,” said the Idaho Statesman. “The most original of all the shows on the Beatles,” San Diego Theatre Review.

More than just a Beatles tribute concert, “In My Life” gives the audience a chance to “be there” at pivotal moments in the extraordinary career of the Beatles – from Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club, to the Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium’s 50,000 + screaming fans and their final live performance on the rooftop of their Apple Corp offices. With manager Brian Epstein serving as Narrator, “In My Life” allows the audience to get a glimpse inside the world of the Beatles from their point of view, as well as hear some of the greatest songs ever written.

“In My Life” takes the audience back to February 1964, when Americans saw the Beatles for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show, playing I Want to Hold Your Hand. Progressing through their various musical stages, the audience re-experiences the psychedelic era of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the creation of the haunting Yesterday and the raucous rock and roll of Revolution.

 

as HITS Theatre presents the finger-snapping, toe-tapping musical, FOOTLOOSE at Miller Outdoor Theatre

Photo of Caleb Han (Chuck), Cameron Mills (Willard), Miles Marmolejo (Ren), Mia Heckler (Ariel), Kennedy Haygood (Rusty), Payton Russell (Wendy Jo), Carolyn Cox (Urleen)
All photo captions: Courtesy of HITS Theatre

HOUSTON — HITS Theatre celebrates its 30th Anniversary with the production of Footloose, The Musical , a Tony award-winning musical at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park at 6000 Hermann Park Drive with performances scheduled for March 30, 31 and April 1, 6, 7, 8 at 8 p.m.

Photo of Miles Marmolejo (Ren) and Mia Heckler (Ariel) courtesy of HITS Theatr

One of the most explosive movie musicals in recent memory bursts onto the live stage with exhilarating results. When Ren, played by Miles Marmolejo, and his mother move from Chicago to a small farming town, Ren is prepared for the inevitable adjustment period at his new high school. What he isn’t prepared for are the rigorous local edicts, including a ban on dancing instituted by the local preacher, determined to exercise the control over the town’s youth that he cannot command in his own home. When the reverend’s rebellious daughter Ariel, played by Mia Heckler, sets her sights on Ren, her roughneck boyfriend tries to sabotage Ren’s reputation, with many of the locals eager to believe the worst about the new kid.

The heartfelt story that emerges is of a father longing for the son he lost and of a young man aching for the father who walked out on him. To the rockin’ rhythm of its Oscar and Tony-nominated top 40 score and augmented with dynamic new songs for the stage musical, FOOTLOOSE celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people, guiding them with a warm heart and an open mind.

Miles Marmolejo, from the Greater Fondren Southwest Neighborhood (77071), is excited to make his HITS debut. Marmolego is in the ninth grade at Connections Academy of Houston, an online school.

Mia Heckler, from Bellaire, Texas is 17 years old and a homeschooled 12th grader. This is her eighth Miller show.

Other cast members include:

Caroline Cox, from the Briar Grove Neighborhood area is a senior at Lamar High School

Payton Russell, 17, from Conroe attends The John Cooper School

Kennedy Haygood, lives in Pearland and attends Manvel High School

Cameron Mills, 16, lives in Bellaire and attends St. Thomas High School

Caleb Han, lives in Houston Heights and is a junior at the Post Oak High School

Since 1987, HITS Theatre has partnered with Miller Outdoor Theatre and the City of Houston to present a Broadway-style musical theatre production to Houstonians and visitors free of charge. HITS provides a talented cast of students; Miller provides invaluable support, a first-class facility and a picturesque venue. It’s a beautiful partnership that offers HITS students the unique opportunity to perform in a full-scale theatrical production in front of a large audience.

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30 a.m. -1 p.m. If tickets remain at 1 p.m., the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets.

Don’t want to wait in line? As a benefit to donors, HITS provides assigned seats under the covered pavilion so you may enjoy the show and experience firsthand how your generosity makes the music happen. Interested in supporting theatre education and securing tickets? Contact 713-861-7408 or https://www.hitstheatre.org/miller/30th-anniversary-production.html

Bring a cozy blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the show from the Miller Theatre lawn, the perfect place for a picnic and a show. Tickets are not needed for open seating on the hill. The shows go on rain or shine.

About HITS Theatre

HITS Theatre is a leading nonprofit performing arts education organization for young people in the Houston metropolitan area. It provides a performance-based curriculum for students in grades 1 through 12 through classes taught by skilled professionals in a safe, nurturing environment. Each year HITS programs serve over 1,000 students, some of whom receive partial or full needs-based scholarships. For more information about HITS, visit www.hitstheatre.org.