Before a few members of The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra bring their bugles, trumpets and “hear ye’s” to the Texas Renaissance Festival, the entire orchestra will get the spotlight at The Woodlands’ own renaissance faire.
Just 30 miles east of the biggest renaissance festival in Texas, The Woodlands’ Arts in the Park will host the second edition of its renaissance faire Sept. 23.
The Woodlands Township will transport visitors of Rob Fleming Park to a lively renaissance event complete with music, medieval costumes, food vendors and live combat performances at its day-long fest in Creekside Park.
“The culture feels similar and a lot of the music has a lot in common,” trombonist Joel Brown said of the Woodlands event. “Texas Ren Fest has lots of different musical groups, but there isn’t normally a full orchestra performance out there, so that’s a completely different perspective from other ren fests. I don’t know any that actually bring an entire orchestra out.”
Darryl Bayer restarted The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra after a several-year hiatus in 2013, and the orchestra has performed at yearly Arts in the Park events ever since to kick off their season. Some members of the orchestra have spent over a decade performing at the Texas Renaissance Festival each year. When the township started its own renaissance faire in 2022, it was an immediate success.
“It exploded. We never expected that…vendors were beating down the doors at The Woodlands township to have booths,” Bayer said. “And so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I think we found the formula for the perfect breakout concert for The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra, and that’s to have a festival that everybody loves.”
This year, the concert will celebrate the sounds of Scotland, featuring music from “Braveheart,” “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Game of Thrones.” Every 30 minutes, Renaissance-themed acts will grace the Castle Stage with acts from bagpipers to classical guitars and drum circles.
Starting at 10 a.m., visitors can stroll through jugglers, live demonstrations of medieval combat and food trucks. Starting at noon, a “parade of vendors” will showcase local arts and crafts, and at 6:30 p.m., the orchestra will perform a grand finale of Scottish music. Brown will perform a trombone solo for “The Blue Bells of Scotland,” while Craig Livingston will complement the finale with bagpipes.
“It’s really something special that you have a community that can fully support an orchestra and provide these type of concerts,” Brown said. “I like bringing different types of music to people than what they would normally hear.“
Some orchestra members are already well-stocked on renaissance gear, Brown said. As always, Bayer will narrate the event as “Tooter, The Tudor,” the town crier. But visitors can get in on the fun too — the festival will host a costume contest for both kids and adults at 6 p.m.
Alongside the Woodlands Symphony Orchestra, Howard Hughes, The Woodlands township and H-E-B are also sponsoring the event.The entire festival is free. Parking is available at Creekside Forest Elementary School, The George Mitchell Nature Preserve, the Rob Fleming Aquatic Center and the pond adjacent to Rob Fleming Park.
The orchestra will start its 10th season with the second The Woodlands Renaissance Faire and follow with several concerts throughout the year, starting with Judaism: The Soundtrack with Chabad of The Woodlands at Lone Star College-Montgomery Sept. 7.
Source : Houston Chronicle