Thursday, September 24, 2009

Texas Living History Day Tomorrow

Living History Day will feature stories, songs
, , Published September 24, 2009

Schreiner University will be the site of the 13th annual Texas Heritage Living History Day, featuring a variety of exhibits, entertainers, speakers and other presentations to honor Texas history — particularly the role of songs and storytelling and, new this year, a tribute to Hispanic Heritage.

Kathleen Hudson, director of the Texas Heritage Music Foundation and lead coordinator of the event, said the event features more than 100 contributors, all volunteering or giving their time at reduced rates to produce an event that ordinarily would cost more than $30,000. It’s free to the public.

The event — billed as “Another Way of Learning Using Stories and Songs” will be from 9 a.m. to

6 p.m. Friday at the Robbins-Lewis Pavilion on the Schreiner University campus. It offers programming for all ages, including an array of performers, such as Aztec dancing, entertainment by Joel Guzman and Sarah Fox and cowboy cooking demonstrations. Guests can tour Native American exhibits, hear from oral historians and sit in on a songwriting circle.

Hudson said she expects 1,500 to 2,000 people to show up, including as many as 30 school groups, which can receive grant funding to help pay for the field trip.

Hudson, who founded the Texas Heritage Music Foundation in 1987, said this event has grown to encompass a wide range of activities and interests. Although the festival emphasizes education, she said she hopes adults will realize “it’s not just a kid’s event.”

“It’s hard when you’re doing an event as big as this to find a single focus to make people aware of everything we have to offer. It’s a perfect event for photographers, artists, writers, high school English classes or college students,” Hudson said. “We really want to open up to the community the realization that this is another way of learning. We aren’t just another festival; it’s about education.

“It’s all about the power of stories and songs in a culture and creating community,” she added.

All day long, songwriters will be available in a songwriting circle inside the historic Union Church on the university campus, where the Texas Folklore Society and THMF will co-host a panel on the songs of Texas from 4 to 6 p.m.

This year, Hudson said she’s excited to add an emphasis on Hispanic Heritage, honoring the Hispanic Heritage month but also sharing her own love for Mexican culture — an interest that takes her to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, annually to live and teach.

“I’m really excited about honoring Hispanic Heritage. I really wanted to emphasize the beauty of this culture,” Hudson said. “I’ve really gotten tired of all the negative press on Mexico and wanted to connect people to their culture in a positive way.”

That emphasis will be manifested Friday with performances by Joel Guzman and other musicians in a Jimmie Rodgers tribute at noon on campus at Schreiner and then again with Sarah Fox at a special evening performance at Luckenbach. Recently featured at the 28th Annual Conjunto Festival in San Antonio, Guzman brings an original perspective to this music, which Hudson described as “so important to our state’s musical history.” This evening performance will be a fundraiser for the Wayne Kennemer Scholarship Fund, which THMF awards to aspiring music students.

Hudson said the foundation still has money available to schools to help them pay for the field trip. She encouraged interested schools to plan to attend and contact her later about reimbursement. She said educators who bring students will be provided a packet filled with ideas on how they can use the event to enhance their Texas history lessons.

For more information about Texas Heritage Living History Day, visit Living History Day is co-sponsored by the Center of Innovative Learning at Schreiner University and the Texas Heritage Music Foundation.

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