Posts Tagged ‘Austin History Center’

Sousa by the sympony brass quintet

In the center of Wooldridge Square there is a bandstand. Occasionally, the bandstand is actually used as intended. Today was one of those days. At 2:30 pm, a professionally trained brass quintet took to the bandstand and played an entire hour of music by John Philip Sousa, to the complete delight of all assembled, children included, in this historic natural amphitheater, where the acoustics are excellent and there’s no street noise to be heard.

Among the marches played were “The Washington Post,” “The Liberty Bell,” “El Capitan,” “King Cotton,” “Semper Fidelis,” “Sabre and Spurs,” “U.S. Field Artillery,” “Hands Across the Sea,” and “Gallant Seventh.” We also heard our national anthem and a piece called “The Messiah of Nations.”

This free concert was one of a series of events marking the centennial of the Austin Symphony and the opening of a commemorative exhibit at the Austin History Center (the old library) called “Sounding Together: 100 Years of the Austin Symphony.”

The scrap heap of history

Don’t consign your precious souvenirs of Austin to oblivion. Share them with others and keep them safe. The Austin History Center is always seeking documentation of life in this town in order to preserve it for posterity. This is one of the posters that I turned up when I was searching for Steve Jordan and some other visual documentation of music past. It’s from the Conjunto Pesado free festivals that used to be held in Parque Zaragoza before it all moved to Fiesta Gardens. I also found a cache of menus from establishments long gone and a certain amount of Juneteenth memorabilia.

Another find was a directory of membership of the Heritage Society of Austin. Members were not all that many, and all were listed with address and telephone number. This particular directory isn’t even all that old, but it calls forth memories of a much smaller and more intimate town.

Also turning up were three documents of Austin’s first efforts at energy conservation, back when Ron Mullen was mayor and programs of this sort fell under the purview of the City’s Resource Management Department. Layout and paste-up are obviously all by hand, with no PageMaker or the like involved. The organization of city government has changed several times, but the recommendations are still much the same.

Whenever it’s time to allow the history center to archive some of our personal holdings, we spend a lot of time enjoying the current exhibit, now photographs from a bygone Austin (ends January 18), and checking out those old city directories and school yearbooks. I love the old library building and am so happy that it has been preserved. It’s still one of the most peaceful places in town.

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