PaperCity Magazine

March 2020- Houston

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MARVELOUS MILESTONES Menke House and the 1883 Travis Street Methodist Church of La Grange were relocated to the property. The move of the imposing Methodist edifice took four months; it's taken on new life as the Edythe Bates Old Chapel, a boon to Festival Hill's wedding business. The chapel today is home to the first organ built in Texas: the Traugott Wandke Organ, crafted in Round Top, 1863. From its original six acres, the Institute has assembled, over five decades, a tract that now comprises 210 prime acres along Highway 237 in Round Top. Boggy Creek runs through the property, which features the noteworthy McAshan Herb Gardens — distinguished by culinary and medicinal plantings — named in honor of patron/naturalist Susan McAshan. Over the years, the grounds have been enriched by the addition of 24,000 trees. This leafy enclave is now a harbinger for boundless wildlife: all manner of mammals, avians (including bald eagle sightings), amphibians, and reptiles. The Institute's beginnings were al fresco and egalitarian. Performances were held on the Mary Moody Northern Pavilion, a portable stage set upon a field, but this led to weather inconveniences, as well as incidents with June bugs crawling into vocalists' costumes. By 1981, construction of the Festival Concert Hall began, a project that took 20 years to complete, producing arguably America's most beautiful and harmonic concert hall. The man responsible for the woodwork and old-school splendor of the venue is Larry Birkelbach, a master carpenter who has overseen a team of 30 fellow artisans throughout the past 40 years. Birkelbach was discovered by Dick and managing director Richard Royall one summer when he was repairing the door of his folks' Round Top restaurant, Birkelbach's Café. His handiwork includes more than 10,000 diamond- shaped pieces of wood honeycombing the walls and doors of the concert hall, as well as the miles of beaded molding comprising the ceiling's signature swirling lines and stars. Top 12 in the World Festival Hill also registers on the world stage — among the dozen most significant music programs. Its alumni, many of whom will be making their way to Round Top to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Music Gala in April, hint at Festival Hill's indelible mark. The next time you're in a darkened concert hall, it's a good guess that some of the musicians you're hearing had their talents honed at Festival Hill, in the hamlet of Round Top, Texas. KEN HOWARD Festival Hill concert, 1976 James Dick's Carnegie Hall debut January 21, 1975 ~at~ MARKET HILL 1 5 4 2 T E X A S 2 3 7 R O U N D T O P , T X M A R C H 1 9 T H – A P R I L 5 T H SUSANHORNEANTIQUES.COM @SUSANHORNEANTIQUES Shop at 160+ booths featuring unique and seasonal merchandise for spring and summer! EARLY BIRD TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE NOW! CALL 713-535-3231 TO ORDER. DISCOUNT GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS AVAILABLE AT ANY H-E-B BUSINESS CENTER AND TICKETMASTER STARTING MARCH 23. NUTCRACKERMARKET.COM Proceeds benefit Houston Ballet Founda on, its Academy and scholarship programs. April 17-19, 2020 NRG Center

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