The Houston region has a long musical tradition with diverse styles ranging from country to zydeco to blues to rock and roll to gospel–and everything in between. Our current issue captures many parts of this musical heritage, with the important exception of classical music. Indeed, it barely mentions Hank Williams and has nothing to say about George Jones, one of the most famous of our region’s country singers.
Author Archive | Houston History Magazine
Feet start tapping and people are drawn to the dance floor by the upbeat polka sound of the accordion and the bajo sexto keeping rhythm. Men wearing tailored suits lead women in strappy sandals or black heels as the mid-calf hemlines of their dresses flow with every spin.
Pe-Te Johnson was born in Grand Taso, near Eunice, Louisiana. His ancestors are direct descendants of the Acadians expelled from Nova Scotia in the mid-eighteenth century. His last name, Johnson, is the Anglo version of his Acadian sir name, Jeansonne. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War and was stationed in Chateauroux, France for two and a half years, having served as an interpreter when the military opened a new base there in 1953.
When most people think of opera, a blonde woman—traditionally overweight—wearing a helmet adorned with horns comes to mind. While the Houston Grand Opera (HGO) is familiar with Richard Wagner’s works and producing a long term project of the Ring Cycle in which this stereotypical woman appears, the young opera company offers its city a much more modern taste of the fine arts.
“For the Love of Live Music: A Sampling of Houston Music Venues, 1930s to 1970s” by Lindsay Scovil Dove will have you saying, “Oh, yeah, I remember going there!” Cutting across a broad swath of Houston music and entertainers, she recalls the Eldorado Ballroom, the Emerald Room at the Shamrock Hotel, the Pan-America Ballroom, the Catacombs, Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine, and Liberty Hall.
“I was nine years old . . . I prayed and I asked the Lord, ‘Please show me, direct me in a way to be able to help my mom and dad.’” Most kids that age today worry about what features the next iPhone will have, but not Jewel Brown.
Music has always been a part of my life. In high school, I joined the jazz band, blindly playing music on the guitar and clarinet without knowing much about the artists, their background, or their contributions. Eventually, though, I became curious about jazz’s origins and the influence of Houston’s jazz artists on the genre and was surprised to learn that many of them got their first breaks in the industry as high school musicians.
A University of Houston tradition, Frontier Fiesta began seventy-three years ago as an amalgamation of musical and theatrical performances, cook-offs, carnival booths, and concessions. Each spring, Fiesta volunteers transform a piece of vacant land or a parking lot on campus into a western frontier-style town called Fiesta City to accommodate the festival, which has had three separate runs.