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Downtown Rhythms brings families out for fun (Video)

By Jessica Rodrigo
April 25, 2013 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated April 24, 2013 at 11:25 p.m.

Jackson, 4, and Hailey Byrd, 8, left, and Jake, 5, and Emily Wall, 8, dance on the grass during  Downtown Rhythms at One O'Connor Plaza. The girls said that they couldn't resist the urge to make their little brothers dance with them   to the live music while waiting for their faces to be painted.

The sun was hiding behind a thick blanket of clouds, but there was no rain as the Victoria Independent School District Orchestra musicians kicked off their set and Downtown Rhythms.

One half of O'Connor Plaza was arranged with folding chairs, and the other half was a flurry of chairs, music stands and equipment. The Victoria Symphony Orchestra was sandwiched between the outer stages where the guest musicians would perform.

Elaine Phillips, a former Victorian who now resides in Shawnee, Okla., sat a few rows from the front next to her two daughters and her husband. She and her family arrived in Victoria on Wednesday night to visit family.

Her daughter, Kayleigh, 16, who is taking a basic music class in high school, was impressed by the Victoria College Percussion Ensemble.

"I liked how they played with boxes and bubble wrap. That was pretty cool," she said.

When Elaine was attending Victoria College, she performed with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra and said she was happy to support the group. The symphony played three sets of songs and also included guest performances by the Goliad High School Tiger Jazz Orchestra, Victoria College Commercial Band and the VISD Ballet de Folklorico.

The symphony also hosted its musical petting zoo on De Leon Plaza where children could play with the instruments that the musicians are playing on stage. Lounging on the grass, families and couples sat in chairs or on blankets listening to music streaming through the speakers.

"I'm surprised there are so many people out here," Elaine said. "They've all got their bottles of wine and cheese out here and having a good time."

The Goliad jazz group made its first debut at the Downtown Rhythms and brought with them guest musician Ron Wilkins.

He sang and performed with the group of high school students and said he is performing with them Friday at the high school, too.

"These kids are energetic, and they've never been engaged like this before," he said. "We've had a blast."

Though this was the first time for Goliad to be a part of the musical event, Wilkins remembered playing with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra back when he still lived in San Antonio.

In the audience, the Phillips family shared a funnel cake and listened to the orchestra perform instrumentals from The Beatles and other groups.

"We don't see this kind of stuff in the small town we live in," said Kayleigh as she listened to the symphony.



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