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Fort Worth Symphony Dazzles Audiences with Concerts in the Garden

I've always been told that things are bigger in Texas, but had never conceptualized the order of magnitude involved. Superb classical music is alive and well in Fort Worth, where talented musical artists perform in beautiful settings, beneath the twinkling stars, and patrons show up by the thousands to enjoy them.

I visited Fort Worth to attend the 2013 "Culture in Cowtown" annual gathering of Mensa, where the Fort Worth CVB staffed a table, promoting cultural treasures in the area. One of those irresistible gems was Fort Worth Symphony's Concerts in the Garden, and I was thrilled find last-minute tickets still available.

The Fort Worth Symphony presents a magnificent selection of concerts throughout the year, inviting guest artists like Yo-Yo Ma and the inimitable George Takei (Oh, my)! We attended one of many performances staged inside the spectacular Fort Worth Botanic Garden. Their themes run from the music of Abba to Elvis to Beach Boys and The Eagles - we attended one of the "Old-fashioned family fireworks picnic" concerts. The turnout was enormous, unlike anything I have ever seen at an outdoor concert.

We enjoyed unusually pleasant temperatures in the mid-70s, defying the traditional 4th of July heat waves that are prone to engulf the Lone Star State. The musicians wore shorts and white shirts, perfect for the summer theme. Conductor Andres Franco led the orchestra clad in a festive American-flag motif button-down shirt, he stood out like the shining star he is. Incidentally, Franco assists Grammy-award-winning Maestro Leonard Slatkin during the Finals of the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Barry Green welcomed the patrons to this delicious concert, which included works by Copland, Sousa, Williams, Beckel and Ward. Seasoned classicists held tight to their seats waiting to hear whether Franco would pronounce Copland's work as Rodeo [roh-DAY-oh] or use the Stockyards pronunciation (on the first syllable). The gentleman chose the former.

Bravissimo to Major Attaway, a basso baritone who wowed the audiences with his rich voice, both as narrator and featured soloist in God Bless America and America The Beautiful. The night of a thousand stars turned out to be smash success for the Symphony, and the grand finale fireworks extravaganza added magic to the already magnificent performance.

For further information about the Fort Worth Symphony, kindly visit www.fwsymphony.org.

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