By Leah Edwards, Correspondent
Texas heritage came alive as feet shuffled on the dance floor while performers entertained at the 20th annual Texas Western Swing Showcase at the Bell County Expo Center on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4. Bobby Flores and Judy Rountree co-produced the event for the first time this year. The musical lineup featured Jeff Woolsey & the Dancehall Kings, Bobby Flores & the Yellow Rose Band, Future Stars of Tomorrow Showcase and Coby Carter & 5 Miles West.
“If we are going to preserve the music, we have to get young people involved,” said Judy Rountree, the Marketing, Promotions and Publicity contact for Bobby Flores and co-organizer of the 20th Annual Texas Western Swing Showcase. “We don’t want to lose it. It’s a part of history. We need to preserve the history of music as well. This music is jazz on cornbread.”
The Future Stars of Tomorrow showcase on Saturday afternoon featured young musicians ranging from age 11 to 30. They hailed from various locations across the state of Texas. All but one of the young performers in the showcase has attended Bobby Flores’s Annual Summer Music Camp Retreat for traditional country & western swing music held in Eastland, Texas. This camp is connected to his music school, the Bulverde Academy of Music.
“Most of it’s upbeat and it’s just the type of music you wanna dance to,” said Caroline Grace Wiseman, guitar student, performer and singer, 11 years old.
Another future star of tomorrow was Krysten Harris, the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Awards Western Swing Female Artist of the year. Krysten was also named 2016 Western Music Association Entertainer of the Year, Two time Western Music Association Female Performer of the Year in 2014 and 2015 and the 2015 Western Music Association Western Album of the Year for “Down the Trail.” She currently performs in the United States and abroad.
“I love Western Swing, and it’s a sound not everybody is doing,” said Krysten Harris backstage, a few acts before her set.
Vendors included musician merchandise tables and Wildorado Silverworks, a jewelry company based in Amarillo, Texas.
“This whole Western Swing is like a big family,” said Norma Jean Leigh, co-owner of Wilderado Silverworks. “Everybody looks out for everybody. We all pray for everybody.”
Texas Western Swing is the official music of Texas. Not only did the event showcase the official music of Texas, but attendees frequented the dance floor to partake in Texas dance favorites including the two-step, waltz and more. One highlight of the event included a drawing for a cabin for two on the 8th Annual Bobby Flores’ Western Swing Caribbean Cruise. Lorenda Baldwin of Angleton, Texas, was the winner for the cruise setting sail on Jan. 13, 2018, for seven days from San Juan, Puerto Rico to five ports in the Virgin Islands on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
Bobby Flores, a 47- year veteran of the music industry, is a 2002 Grammy Award winning musician. He is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, producer, arranger, composer and first call session musician. Bobby has been featured on over four hundred albums, singles and CDs, including performances with numerous, major label artists. Bobby also composes music for radio and television commercials airing throughout the U.S., Australia and Europe.
To learn more about the Texas Western Swing Showcase, as well as performers and upcoming events, feel free to visit www.texaswesternswingshowcase.com. To learn more about Bobby’s Bulverde Academy of Music and other events, visit the school’s website at www.bulverdeacademyofmusic.com, and visit Bobby’s band site at www.bobbyfloresband.com.