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Symphony of the Hills takes a swing into Western music

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Courtesy photo
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Dave Alexander

Most symphonic music that gets played in the San Antonio area is hundreds of years old — and from Europe. But the music Kerrville’s Symphony of the Hills will play at its next concert is neither.

Gene Dowdy explained that's because most of the music from Texas comes from the last hundred or so years.

Western swing is like the jazz of country music," he said. "It's full of instrumental color and really interesting chord progressions and super exciting music all arranged for symphony orchestra to back them up.”

He said that’s exactly what will happen at this weekend's performance.

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Phil Houseal
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Music Director Gene Dowdy

“On Saturday, we're going to have a fantastic and different show,” Dowdy said.

He added: “Anything like we've done before, we've we're bringing the Dave Alexander Band, a four time Grammy nominated Western Swing Ensemble.”

The Symphony of the Hills and the Dave Alexander Band will play together on stage and get equal billing on this one.

Dowdy says it all gets back to the music.

“Music that in Texas just means everything. And in fact, seriously, the official music of Texas — Western swing. Asleep at the Wheel and the Texas Doughboys and, of course, Bob Wills and so many other just swing artists, and Dave Alexander— they've put it together with these professional orchestral arrangements,” he said. “These are serious charts.

Unlike most Western artists, Alexander’s band reads music.

“I'm so excited about this one because it's just kind of after my own heart, growing up in South Texas and playing a little fiddle along the way,” Dowdy said. “It's going to be pretty cool to join with this band, with the symphony.”

He also noted that concert goers will recognize almost every tune.

“Everybody's going to be excited and participating when all of a sudden they notice that the bands are going through. 'Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Deep in the heart. ...' ”

The performance will include the perennial favorite, "Deep In The Heart of Texas."

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Arts & Culture News Desk including The Guillermo Nicolas & Jim Foster Art Fund, Patricia Pratchett, and the V.H. McNutt Memorial Foundation.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii