Warmly welcomed with Southern hospitality, the BYU Wind Symphony toured through Texas in early May, visiting Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. While on tour they performed concerts in the local communities, participated in workshops, and visited popular tourist stops. They say everything is bigger in Texas, and the lively audiences in Texas lived up to the standard. “The audiences were really engaged in the concerts,” says clarinet player Emily Hardisty Smith. “When you can tell that they’re having a great time, it creates an energy throughout the band.”
During a saxophone solo by the Wind Symphony’s Steven Hardy in one performance, the audience exploded with enthusiasm and support. “The audience erupted and clapped in the correct spots,” says Jason Bergman, BYU faculty member and guest soloist on the tour. “The moment was memorable, humorous, and really bonded with the audience.”
While visiting the Dallas–Fort Worth area, the Wind Symphony worked with and mentored local students from Haltom, Allen, and Summit High Schools. The BYU group also took time away from the concert hall and visited the Fort Worth Stockyards, which included a cattle drive, gunfight reenactment, and guided walking tour.
The adventure continued as the group stopped at Magnolia Market in Waco. The group enjoyed exploring the silos, vendors, and home decor. Later they traveled to Houston and had a blast at the Johnson Space Center. The Wind Symphony’s performances in the area were held at Cypress Springs High School and the University of Houston–Clear Lake.
A few Wind Symphony members from Texas showed off big tourist destinations on the way to Austin: Buc-ee’s and the Blue Bell Creameries headquarters. In Austin, the Wind Symphony made time to visit the capitol building and to hold a musical fireside. To celebrate their successful tour, the group visited Six Flags Fiesta Texas in the final tour stop, San Antonio.
Local Texans and BYU Alumni chapters hosted and served the group in every city throughout the tour. The BYU Alumni San Antonio Chapter sent the Wind Symphony off with a real Texas BBQ dinner to accompany the band’s final concert at St. Philip’s College.
“I was impressed with the Wind Symphony’s energy, their desire to serve, their warmth, and their musical talent,” says Erin Rushforth, chair of the San Antonio chapter.
The Wind Symphony will long remember their time in Texas. “I always believe that music is a people business, and our tours really help to showcase that,” says Bergman. “In the end, it’s about the music and the people. Putting that together is a perfect match.”