Central Texas residents experience winters that many Americans envy. We watch in relative comfort as blizzards repeatedly dump feet of snow on states along the Canadian border and cities in the mountains.

I’ve concluded that hot summers are an acceptable trade-off.

Accordingly, it doesn’t take much for us to abandon outdoor activities whenever snow flurries are parenthetically mentioned, the wind chill drops into the 30s, or weather forecasts call for two inches of rain.

It’s winter, after all.

While it may be cold outside — relatively speaking, of course — things are heating up inside thanks to our active arts scene in Brownwood and Brown County.

For starters, Brownwood High School is presenting its student musical, “The Sound of Music” this weekend. Over several decades, Brownwood High has developed a tradition of quality stage productions, and this timeless show builds further on that reputation.

Meanwhile, also this weekend, artists submitting works for the 22nd annual Stars of Texas Juried Art Exhibit will be converging on the Depot Civic and Cultural Center. Works in a variety of media will be accepted this afternoon and Saturday morning, and the jurist will make his choices Saturday afternoon.

While artists wait for the verdict, they are invited to attend an Art Talk at Adams Street Community Center. Also on Saturday, photographers will be competing for a cash prize in the seventh Photo Shoot-out. Details have been published in the Bulletin and are available online.

The Stars of Texas exhibit will open next weekend, beginning February 2, and continue for two weeks at the Depot.

Behind the scenes, in anticipation of the curtain being raised on opening night, a group of dedicated players with the Lyric Theatre has been busy preparing for the theater’s first production of the 2020 season, “Nunsense Jamboree.” The show will run weekends from February 21 through March 1.

This is the first of a series of shows this year that will be audience favorites. They are “Get Smart” April 17 through 26, the big summer musical “Mamma Mia” July 17-26, Neil Simon’s “Rumors” October 2-11, and “A Christmas Story” December 4-13.

Winter is also the season for Lyric supporters to secure their Patron packages, which include tickets for each of the Lyric shows listed above. Tickets for children’s and youth presentations planned for this summer will be available separately.

Packages are also available for a series of movies the Lyric will be showing to supplement live stage shows. The first movie of six scheduled during this year, “Selma,” was presented last Saturday to help commemorate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.

Patrons and sponsors at various levels provide the needed financial resources to keep the Lyric a meaningful presence in the community’s arts scene. But the theater doesn’t discount the significant contributions made by dozens of volunteers who make up the casts and crews of these shows. It takes all of the above to create the outstanding presentations audiences enjoy.

To underscore the importance of the people who devote hours of time to put shows on stage, the Lyric board of directors held an appreciation reception last Friday for those who worked on shows during 2019. The cast and crew of each production nominated individuals for awards, then voted. Other special awards were presented, but the best highlight of the evening was a slide show of scenes from 2019 shows.

It was an evening when the cast and crew of each show could visit without worrying about remembering lines or hitting cues. It was also an evening when these talented players could mingle with those from all the other shows and savor the fun they had, the friendships they developed, and the hard work that resulted in professional caliber presentations.

The arts are thriving in Brown County, and the proof is shown every time our talented arts community opens its doors for audiences. Hopefully, you will be found among those enjoying their work. Better still, perhaps you will find a place to participate yourself.


Gene Deason is editor emeritus of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column appears on Fridays. He may be contacted at news@brownwoodbulletin.com.