While the past year or so has felt like a broken record repeating the phrase “Stay at home” over and over again, one cherished San Antonio youth-based organization isn’t playing second fiddle to the pandemic this summer.

Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, which has been working to change the lives of young people through music since 1949, will make a jubilant return to the stage with a full lineup of concerts scheduled this month to conclude its 2020/2021 season, and will host its YOSA Summer Symphony Camp in person this July.

The YOSA City Series concerts kick off with the first show in a series of season finale events on Sunday, May 9 from 3-4 pm at Trinity Baptist Church, and will feature members of YOSA Repertory Strings and YOSA Prelude Strings performing the free concert.

Additional YOSA City Series free concerts include:

  • Members of YOSA Concertino Strings, YOSA Sinfonietta Strings, and YOSA Capriccio Strings performing Sunday, May 9 from 7-8 pm at Trinity Baptist Church.
  • Members of the YOSA Percussion Ensemble and YOSA Symphony performing Sunday, May 16 from 4-5 pm at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. (While admission is free, tickets must be reserved.)
  • Members of the YOSA Flute Choir and Wind Ensemble performing Sunday, May 16 from 8-9 pm at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. (Admission is free, but tickets must be reserved.)

The 2021 YOSA Invitational, a festival featuring San Antonio middle school and high school bands will take to the Tobin Center stage on May 17 from 1-9:30 pm. Check out the YOSA website for more details.

The organization, which reaches some 2,500 young people representing 130 San Antonio-area schools each year, will conclude its season with a finale concert performed by the YOSA Philharmonic — its first live concert since March 2020 — on Sunday, May 23 from 7-8 pm. The show, part of the YOSA Zachry Series, will feature the most advanced young musicians from San Antonio, as well as a special appearance by renowned clarinetist Anthony McGill, the New York Philharmonic’s first African American principal player. Tickets are available through the Tobin Center.

And young musicians eager to get out of the house this summer (you’re welcome, parents) can check out the YOSA Summer Symphony Camp in July. Campers participate in daily rehearsals and sectionals with camp faculty, which includes some of San Antonio’s top professional musicians and educators. This year’s camp offerings include Middle School String Orchestras, High School String Orchestras, and the popular Orchestra X. Camp registration will remain open until enrollment capacity is reached. Placement audition videos must be submitted no later than June 28.

And it’s never too early to get a jam session planned: YOSA will host its auditions for the 2021/2022 YOSA Orchestras season by video submission this summer. Auditions are free and the results will be announced before the end of the summer. Video auditions must be submitted by June 7. More information about musician requirements is available here.

Photo courtesy of San Antonio Symphony

San Antonio Symphony proves show must go on with 2020-21 lineup

A high note

In this dark time, the San Antonio Symphony is offering a beacon of light. This week, the organization is proving that the show, indeed, must go on.

This fall, the symphony will begin rolling out its 2020-21 season — the organization's 81st year — at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. It's a milestone of sorts for an organization that has spent the past few years mired in contract negotiations and management issues. Not to mention canceling the remainder of its 2019-20 season due to the global pandemic.

The season's 14-week run kicks off with Rachmaninoff’s "Second Symphony" on September 25 and concludes with Sebastian Lang-Lessing returning to the podium as music director emeritus conducting Shostakovich’s "Fifth Symphony" on May 28-29, 2021, the symphony announced in a May 5 release.

Other highlights include Brahms and Beethoven November 27-28, Mozart and Prokofiev January 8-9, 2021, Carmina Burana November 20-21, and Dox Quixote January 28-29.

Now, of course, in this uncertain age, this is all subject to change, but the symphony says it realizes that people need music — and community — now.

“We know that the beauty of life will reanimate and continue stronger, with the arts even more necessary than before,” said Corey Cowart, executive director of the San Antonio Symphony. “This season will mark a new era for the Symphony. We cannot wait to triumphantly return to the stage and for both musicians and audiences to once again enjoy the gifts this art form offers us all.”

Tickets, including season subscription packages, go on sale soon. Stay up to date by visiting the symphony website.

San Antonio Symphony's 2020-21 Classics Season schedule:

Ravishing Rachmaninof September 25-26
Performing: Jeffrey Kahane, conductor, and Sterling Elliott, cello.

Nights in the Garden of Spain — October 2-3
Performing: Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor, and Jorge Federico Osorio, piano.

Sibelius & Schumann — November 6-7
Performing: Matthew Halls, conductor, and Philippe Quint, violin.

Carmina Burana November 20-21
Performing: Michael Christie, conductor; Kathryn Lewek, soprano; John Tessier, tenor; Craig Irvin, baritone; San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers; and John Silantien, director.

Brahms and Beethoven — November 27-28
Performing: Paulo Bortolameolli, conductor, and Eric Lu, pianist.

Mozart and Prokofiev — January 8-9, 2021
Performing: Pablo Rus Broseta, conductor; Sharon Kuster, bassoon; Paul Lueders, oboe; Ilya Shterenberg, clarinet; and Jeff Garza, horn

Sibelius Symphony No. 5 — January 15-16, 2021
Performing: Jessica Cottis, conductor, and John O’Conor, pianist.

Dox QuixoteJanuary 28-29, 2021
Performing: Sebastian Lang-Lessing, conductor, and Kenneth Freudigman, cello.

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 February 5-6, 2021
Performing: David Danzmayr, conductor, and Stephen Hough, pianist.

Dvorak & Brahms March 5-6, 2021
Performing: Jonathon Heyward, conductor, and Colin Currie, percussion.

Beethoven's Fifth April 2-3, 2021
Performing: Carlos Izcaray, conductor, and Eric Gratz, violin.

The Firebird April 9-10, 2021
Performing: Garrett Keast, conductor; Lyubov Petrova, soprano; San Antonio Symphony Mastersingers; and John Silantien, director.

Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dances — May 14-15, 2021
Performing: Lina Gonzalez-Granados, conductor, Benjamin Beilman, violin.

Lang-Lessing Conducts Shostakovich 5 May 28-29, 2021
Performing: Sebastian Lang-Lessing, conductor, and Federico Gad Crema, pianist.

Essential guide to parties, parades, and more during Fiesta San Antonio 2018

Party time, excellent

The year-long Tricentennial celebration may be bringing worldwide attention to Alamo City, but Fiesta San Antonio still feels like the city's best-kept secret. Running April 19-29, Fiesta is once again filled with dozens of official (and unofficial) events ranging from colorful community parades to family-friendly parties to lavish foodie affairs. Whether you're in it for the medals or just the sense of community, here's where to party during the 11 days of Fiesta 2018.

Fiesta Fiesta — April 19
In the midst of Hemisfair's own 50th anniversary celebration, the former World's Fair site hosts Fiesta Fiesta, the kick off to Fiesta (did we mention this is at Fiesta?) on April 19. Enjoy live music, watch a dazzling fireworks display, and purchase Fiesta pins at Pin Pandemonium during this massive celebration. And for the Selena fans out there, her widower, Chris Perez, will take the stage Thursday afternoon to perform a set filled with the Tejano superstar's hits. Admission is free.

Taste of the Republic: A Texas Culinary Experience — April 19
San Antonio's top chefs including Jason Dady, Geronimo Lopez, Rudy Martinez, Damien Watel, and Lisa Watel take over Marriott Plaza downtown for this one-of-a-kind VIP experience. Attendees will embark on a culinary quest through North Texas, East Texas, South Texas, West Texas, Central Texas, and the Gulf Coast, tasting fare inspired by Texas' six "food regions." Tickets range from $75-100 and can be purchased here.

San Antonio Symphony presents Fiesta Pops — April 20-22
Y'all, thank goodness San Antonio Symphony is back. This year, the city's classical ensemble shines a spotlight on local musicians, dancers, and conductors during Fiesta. Over the weekend, enjoy performances by vocalist Sebastian de la Cruz, 12-piece mariachi band Campanas de America, and dance numbers from the Guadalupe Dance Company. Tickets range from a very reasonable $12.50 to $96 and can be purchased here.

Chaparral Music Festival — April 21
While most of Fiesta's activities and events are centered downtown, the first-ever Chaparral Music Festival brings the party to Northwest San Antonio. Enjoy performances from headliner Kyle Park, as well as George Navarro and Chris Saucedo Band. Picnic blankets are highly encouraged at this family-friendly event which also features food and beverages for purchase, lawn games, and more.

Fiesta's Masked Dance Dance Dance! Party — April 21
"Come as you are not" is the theme of this masquerade dance party hosted at Mission Marquee Plaza. Presented by stalwart San Antonio art collective URBAN-15, Dance Dance Dance! features live music by Los de Esta Noche and El Tallercito de Son, as well as a special costume contest. Admission is free.

Fiesta Art Fair — April 21-22
Southwest School of Art's annual fundraiser is back for its 45th year. Peruse contemporary art from more than 100 local and American artists while snacking on festival favorite fare like gorditas and roasted corn. While adults find the next addition to their art collection, youngsters can take part in the Young Artists Garden, which hosts creative activities and art projects throughout the weekend. Tickets for adults is $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and $5 for children. Proceeds go directly to Texas' only independent art college.

Texas Cavaliers River Parade — April 23
Would it be Fiesta San Antonio without the river parade? Sure, but it wouldn't nearly as fun. Since 1941 this celebration of all things Alamo City has taken over the San Antonio River for a day of fun and festivities. Watch as the brightly colored "floating gardens" drift across the water and listen as mariachi fills the air during this can't-miss affair. The parade begins at 7 pm and runs along this route. Tickets range from $14-26 and entry times are staggered to optimize views.

Fiesta Especial Celebration Day — April 24
Hosted by disABILITYsa at the Alamodome, this Fiesta event is for San Antonians of all ages and abilities. Enjoy accessible rides, take part in a parade, or chow down on delicious fare at this inclusive party. Admission is free.

Battle of the Flowers Parade — April 27
If only all battles were this beautiful. The oldest and largest Fiesta San Antonio parade, the Battle of the Flowers attracts more than 350,000 attendees and, fun fact, is run entirely by women. In honor of the Tricentennial, the theme for the 127th Battle of the Flowers parade is "300 Timeless Treasures." Like the river parade, entry times are staggered. Tickets range from $15-30, and can be purchased here.

Festival De Cascarones — April 29
It's all led up to this. Say adios to Fiesta 2018 with a smashing good time on the Texas A&M University-San Antonio campus. Secondhand Serenade and Blue Water Highway provide the tunes as you celebrate with cascarones, games, and more at this all-ages events. Admission is free.

San Antonio Symphony/Facebook

City conducts major fundraising efforts to save San Antonio Symphony

Sounds of Silence

After the San Antonio Symphony fell silent last week due to budget issues, it appeared that the remainder of the season was in jeopardy. Now, thanks to a speedy cash infusion, it appears the symphony will make music again.

On January 9, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County judge Nelson Wolff announced they were conducting a fundraising effort to save the remainder San Antonio Symphony's 2017-18 season. In a release, Nirenberg announced that the city would pay the remaining $368,000 budgeted for the symphony (payments were temporarily halted after the season was canceled).

“I firmly believe that the community wants to see a world-class symphony orchestra continue and thrive in San Antonio," said Nirenberg in a news release. "However, the City and county cannot solve the financial difficulties of the symphony by ourselves. We hope to encourage patrons and corporate donors to increase their financial support.”

In order to kick start that support, Wolff announced that on January 16 county officials will consider a proposal in which the county will match private donors dollar-for-dollar up to $350,000. The symphony has previously said they need $2.5 million in order to complete the season.

City officials aren't the only ones rallying in support of the group. The symphony's music director, Sebastian Lang-Lessing, told Texas Public Radio that the government funding coupled with donations from private and corporate patrons could set the tone for a successful remaining season.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

San Antonio suburb among the richest places in Texas for 2023, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio suburb cashes in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Alamo Heights has been renamed the third richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study.

2. San Antonio home sales slowed in December 2022, report finds. San Antonio sold 36,477 homes all year, a 10 percent decrease from 2021.

3. Here are the top 5 things to do in San Antonio this weekend. Nina Simone, Pink Floyd, the Beatles and more music-centered events made our roundup of the best things to do in Alamo City this weekend.

4. San Antonio Home & Garden Show returns with HGTV star. Ati Williams will headline the San Antonio Spring Home & Garden Show, which takes place February 24-26.

5. H-E-B opens first location in growing San Antonio suburb. The state-of-the-art facility offers 110,000 square feet of floor space, providing everything from cat food to charcuterie.

Popular Pearl brunch spot remixes with new weekend DJ nights


Though Full Goods Diner has barely been open for half a year, it has already become a San Antonio staple for working weekday lunches and lingering Sunday Fundays. Now the Pearl eatery is looking to be a hot spot after dark.

Via release, the popular local haunt just announced a new limited-time music series, Full Goods at Night. Starting on February 2, Full Goods Diner will open select evenings throughout the month.

The Full Goods at Night series will feature popular local San Antonio DJs, including El West Side Sound, Hector Gallego, DJ Plata, Steven Lee Moya, and Cami Gee. Guests can enjoy live sets while indulging in a specially curated food and drink offerings.

The menu will include some of Full Goods Diner's best—selling items, such as French toast sticks, barbacoa waffle fries, and jumbo cheesy tots. Libations like the Attaboy Negroni, Royal Bermuda Daiquiri, Pink G&T, and more will fuel the festivities.

In addition to enjoying moonlight brunch, guests can relish some prime people-watching. And, of course, the restaurant is just a hop from other nightlife destinations like Pink Hill, 3 Star Bar, and Summer Camp Bar, making it the perfect party starter.

The series runs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from February 2-25, 6-10 pm. The complete DJ schedule is listed below.

February 2 — El West Side Sound·
February 3 — Hector Gallego
February 4— DJ Plata
February 9 — El West Side Sound
February 10 — Steven Lee Moya
February 11 — Cami Gee
February 16 — El West Side Sound
February 17 — Steven Lee Moya
February 18 — Hector Gallego
February 23 — El West Side Sound
February 24— Steven Lee Moya
February 25 — DJ Plata

4 San Antonio culinary pioneers win $21K from the Texas Food & Wine Alliance


Texas’ skyrocketing culinary scene is about to get a huge boost. The Texas Food & Wine Alliance’s grant program has awarded $107,500 to 19 culinary innovators around the state. This marks the Alliance’s 11th year providing funding to support culinary projects contributing to local communities.

The award winners were announced in a ceremony at Austin's Holdsworth Center on January 21. A private panel of distinguished culinary experts chose the winners out of 40 grant applications this year. Nine winners hail from Austin, three from Dallas-Fort Worth, three from Houston, and four from San Antonio. The awards range from $1,500 to $10,000, with a special $25,000 grant investment from Austin favorite Tito’s Handmade Vodka in honor of the company’s 25th anniversary. Grant funding will support chefs, farms, and culinary education groups, among others.

Out of the four San Antonio area winners, Talking Tree Farm received the most from the grant program, $6,250 to purchase shipping containers for storage and to buy a solar-powered cold room for their harvests. John Marshall High School’s culinary arts program will use their $5,000 grant to establish a morning café. Agricultural project Habitable Spaces and pasture-raised chicken farm Cielito Lindo Farm also won $5,000 each to purchase equipment or build infrastructure to further their endeavors in the culinary space.

Austin-area winners received the most funding from the grant program, totalling $53,750, while San Antonio winners received $21,250 in total. Dallas/Fort Worth winners were awarded $19,750, and the three Houston recipients won $12,750. All of the 2022 winners reflect just how diverse the state's trailblazing culinary scene continues to expand.

“All of this year’s funded projects will further enrich the state through innovation and giveback,” said Erika White, executive director of the Alliance. “We’re extremely grateful to each of the Texas communities, our sponsors and their support in allowing us to reward these mold-breaking projects.”

In Austin, organic farm Trosi Farms was awarded the most funding ($10,000), which will help construct a germination shed for more stable plant start production. Locavore pioneer Boggy Creek Farm won $7,500 in grants to provide ADA-compliant accessibility to their new climate-controlled Tomato House, while Texas’ first organic feed mill, Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill & Farm, received $6,250 to help purchase a building to be used as a store for the local community.

The six other Austin area grant recipients, each winning $5,000, include Vista Farms at Vista Brewing, Jamaican family business Tierra Todun ATX, coffee roasters Rising Tide Roast Collaborative, culinary educator Chef Pascal Simon from Bake Austin, East Austin food truck Community Vegan, and Latinx pastry project Comadre Panaderia (who also just earned a James Beard nomination). All winners will be able to use their grants to improve efficiency and expand their businesses, or in Chef Pascal's case, further research and development for her upcoming cookbook for Gen-Z young adults.

After starting the program in Austin, grant co-chair and TFWA past president Cathy Cochran-Lewis says it was the Alliance’s dream to expand the grant statewide.

“We’re so humbled and thrilled to now not only support worthwhile projects across Texas but also to give more than a half million dollars in funding over the last decade to help dreams come true,” she says. “This is a tribute to the culinary talent and the community mindset we are lucky to have in our state.”

The winners in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas include:

For this year's Honorable Mention, the Alliance chose San Antonio eatery Tacos Cucuy, who will soon open a brick-and-mortar space with an expanded menu. Tacos Cucuy are currently looking for support to develop a Tex-Mex charcuterie program called La Cura Carnes Especiales.

More information about the 2022 grants and its recipients can be found on texasfoodandwinealliance.org.