If you love the performing arts as much as I do, then the past two weeks have been amazing, especially after a year of closed venues and canceled shows. It was especially impressive for me, as the new CEO of the San Angelo Performing Arts Center, to see our performing arts bounce back with such vigor and to witness the tremendous support of our wonderful community.
I started my first week getting tickets to Into the Woods Jr, presented by Be Theater. It was the highlight of their annual summer camp at the Stephens Performing Arts Center in downtown San Angelo. In less than two weeks, their trained instructors led a small platoon of students – ages 7 to 14 – through the drama, choreography and expert singing of the multitude of popular songs in this Stephen Sondheim classic. It was no small feat and truly a joy to see for all my family.
That same weekend, I participated in the Day of the Dance Shared with Ballet San Angelo as they hosted an afternoon lightsaber workshop and Light up the Night event to promote health and goodness. -being of the community through movement. Their dynamic and energetic program, in coordination with the City of San Angelo, took center stage on the Town Hall Steps with exhibition dances from the Dance Academy, Prep Academy, as well as talented BSA students and instructors. My wife and I also did a swing dance to represent Be Theater and to get people excited about social dancing again.
Over 700 people attended this free event and moved to the beat of instructor-led classes and the fun choreographed flash mob. The evening culminated with a lightsaber performance and a stunning visual presentation projected onto City Hall with animated renderings of dancers mapped to the exterior of the building. It was an exquisite composition that captivated all participants.
This weekend, I attended the San Angelo Broadway Academy performance of Moana Jr. in the majestic Murphey Performance Hall. SABA’s three-week camp led 90 students through intricate choreography to present five inspiring shows over the weekend. This immersive production from SABA used cutting-edge graphics projected onto the backdrop of the stage to bring the storytelling to life. As head of Murphey, I had the privilege of seeing this performance come together behind the scenes and from the audience, where I marveled at the exceptional talent we have in San Angelo.
I also watched Smokey Joe’s Café at the Angelo Civic Theater, where their brilliant cast brought the showcase of 39 songs by famous Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller to life in their historic theater. With over a month of rehearsals, the talented team delivered a very entertaining production over three weekends to kick off ACT’s ambitious season. It was an energetic and vocal tour de force from an incredible group of performers that got the audience dancing.
For good music, I went to one of the music series in the San Angelo Symphony Literature performed at Old Town Books where musicians read and play music to entertain young and old. There is nothing like the power of music to add the soundtrack to our lives, especially when performed by one of the Symphony’s many amazing musicians.
We are now just a week away from a promising musical celebration at the River Stage to celebrate Independence Day. Presented by Downtown San Angelo, this event will feature the US Air Force Band of the West, Mariachi Alma Mexicana, San Angelo Community Band and the West Texas Jazz Orchestra. For those who can’t make it, the San Angelo Symphony will be playing a newly recorded concert for everyone to enjoy.
The last two weeks have really filled my heart with joy. We are fortunate to have such an incredible depth of talent and so many performing arts organizations in our community. I look forward to seeing people at all the upcoming events. There will be more shows, music and dancing for everyone. Plus, if you’ve ever dreamed of being on stage, take part in one of the many auditions. There is room here for everyone. Together, we keep the performing arts alive.
Yukio Kuniyuki is the Managing Director of the San Angelo Performing Arts Center which includes the Murphey Performance Hall and the Stephens Performing Arts Center which contains the Brooks and Bates Theater.