Highlighting the Contributions of Texas Musicians

Photo by Liz Lopez

Three musicians to be honored this month

By Liz Lopez

For thirty years, the Texas Music Museum (TMM) located in East Austin, down the street from the Texas Capital, has identified the state’s musicians who contribute to the world’s musical heritage. Many volunteers have donated their time to research and create exhibits and programs from approximately twenty music styles, ranging from mainstream to historical, as well as the culturally diverse and in different languages. The current exhibit in the Main Gallery, “Tejano Orquestas and the Great Tejana Singers,” explores two unique musical traditions from Texas. It offers in depth portraits of the orquesta, an evolving ensemble mixing together Texas-Mexican music with big band and other popular music styles, and the many important Mexican American female singers who sang with them. A reception and award presentation is to be held on Sunday, July 19th, starting at 4 pm to honor three important Austin-area figures from within the music industry. At the ceremony, the TMM will present awards to Johnny Degollado, Leticia Rodriguez, and Paco Rodriguez for their seminal contributions to our state’s musical heritage. The reception will be held at 1009 E. Eleventh St. and is free and open to the public.

The exhibit includes individual panels with photos and history on several musical artists, including Selena Quintanilla Perez, Laura Canales, Lydia Mendoza, Eva Garza, Carmen y Laura, Chelo Silva, Beto Villa, Isidro López, Orquesta Falcon, Sunny Ozuna, and many others. It also features dresses worn by Mendoza, Garza, Silva, Las Hermanas Gonzalez and a hat from Rita Vidaurri. The exhibit will remain through December.

The exhibits and programs are created to encourage the public of all ages to learn about the state’s musical heritage and the preservation of it. Aside from the current exhibit in the main gallery of the Texas Music Museum, there are two other gallery areas on the first floor of the historical Marvin C. Griffin Building.

Since the museum’s incorporation in 1984, Texas musicians have been interviewed and photographed, and efforts are made to collect and preserve artifacts, historical photographs, documents, and reference materials having to do with the diverse traditions of Texas music. Since 2003, TMM has presented exhibits, educational programming and music programs based on these materials within the museum, as well as in public venues, schools, libraries, and in collaboration with other museums and cultural centers in the city.

In 2005 the Austin Chronicle called TMM the Best Roving Museum and the Texas House of Representatives recognized TMM for its work in preserving the state’s musical heritage. In 2008, the TMM played an important role in honoring the first 10 inductees to the Austin Music Memorial at the Long Center, providing photos, biographies, copies of recordings and other memorabilia.

The museum’s location is a great entry to other cultural and historical attractions in East Austin, including the French Legation, the Carver Museum, the State Cemetery and Museum, and the historic Victory Grill. The TMM is host to an annual two – day International Music Festival in September featuring multi – cultural performances by great musical artists that reflect the diversity of the state. It is scheduled for September 12th and 13th the Carver Museum.

Texas Music Museum continues work to broaden its collection of oral histories, photos and other artifacts. To volunteer and/or obtain more information, visit www.texasmusicmuseum.org

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.

SOURCE: Texas Music Museum

PHOTO CAPTION: Leticia Rodriguez, the niece of the famous San Antonio singer Eva Garza, is a powerful vocalist in her own right and has been active in music and dance in Central Texas since the late 1970s. She has recorded albums in tribute to her aunt and in May, she performed at a music festival in Cuba.


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