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Historical Novels -Bobi Andrews

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Round Top Texas Fourth of July

Sometimes we miss what's close
at hand--nearby places we've
never been or explored.

One of those places for me is
Round Top, Texas, a little
community two hours from
where I live in Richmond.  The
town has about 90 permanent
residents centered mostly around
a multitude of antique industries.
All the homes are in the vintage
of the early 1900's  and either
moved there from someplace
else or built to match the period.
I had the good fortune of
spending July 4 weekend
there and am still marveling
at their fun holiday celebrations.

The weekend was packed with
activity and I'm dying to tell you
about it.

The town hosts the Round Top
Festival Institute which presents
every summer evening an
assortment of classical and
contemporary programs
featuring on Sunday, the
Texas Festival Orchestra.  For
those uninformed as I was, we
soon recognized that this was
not just a common ordinary
orchestra but a renown group
of young musicians representing every state in the US with
others from Mexico, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, China,
Bulgaria, Puerto Rico, Costa
Rica--all attending on scholarship
a six-week Institute program 
taught by noted musicians.  The
couple next to us were from
DesMoines, Iowa, and their
daughter was a violinist chosen
from the University of Nebraska.

The spirit was infectious--the
orchestra members were dressed
casually with American flags on
the tips of their violin bows,
poked into the girls' ponytails, and
anchored on the boys' crazy hats.
Perry So, their personable young
conductor, however, was
dressed in white jacket formal

They were serious! From the
first Star Spangled Banner, the
audience became alive for
both national and patriotic
marches, even a Gershwin
Piano Concerto.  Midway
through the program, the
festival had the four member
barber shop Heart of Texas
quartet, who though not
socially correct, were indeed hilarious.  The orchestra
ended with "In the Mood,"
"King Cotton March,"
and the "Stars and Stripes 

I've heard holiday concerts
before, but Sunday's presen-
tation was better than I had
heard in Washington, DC,
Los Angeles Hollywood Bowl,
and Independence Day in

The picture above shows more
than words can express for
this concert hall. (Remember
this is situated in a very little
town which was completely
packed--probably three or
four thousand visitors.)

Sunday night, we went to their
fireworks which were elaborate
--obviously they have bene-
factors probably from Dallas,
Houston, and San Antonio.  We
were parked out in the field very
close to the fireworks which
gave a special ambiance when
they exploded almost directly
above us.

Monday morning, we went to
the famous (infamous) parade.
It had about 1 30 entries, drawing
from probably ten nearby towns,
where anyone can participate
with their horses, wagons, carts,
old cars, tractors--anything and
in any way.  Kids everywhere,
some driving tractors.  Anyone
can join in and jump on a float
or wagon as the parade passes.

Hospitality, WOW! The music
hall and streets were packed.
As we went down the center
aisle for the concert, the
couple from DesMoines waved
that they had two seats next
to them. At the parade--it was
hot as hades--a family had
parked their pick-up next to
the parade route and invited
us to sit with our water bottles
and use their umbrellas for

On the way back and forth into
town, we saw deer and a wild
turkey as well as scads of trees
and ponds.  As you looked
in all directions, there were
many unique horizons of trees,
hills, and winding roads.
One of the narrow bridges was
known to be one if you wanted
good luck, you were to stop
and piss in the deep creek below.
(We didn't.)

All I can say is that we kinda
forget what small towns used
to be like and the freedom we
have.  We saw a slice of a great
country and great people.


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