By exposing our youth to the performing arts, we are creating an appreciation that the next generation will carry forward.
Dance illusionists and daring acrobats, brass ensembles and rhythmic drums, tap, tenors and tangos, and Phantom serenades — all of these and more award-winning, world-class performers from around the globe have made their way through Boerne, Texas. It all began in June of 2011, when a group of likeminded locals set out to bring world-renowned performing arts to our Hill Country community. A short nine months later, Boerne Performing Arts’ (BPA) first three-concert season and inaugural FOR KIDS outreach program was a huge success. Now in its 12th season, board member, artistic director and one of the original founders, Cathie Meadows, said, “We believed Boerne was ready for this. It would benefit so many people and improve our quality of life.”
It takes thousands of volunteer hours to make it all happen, and the dedicated team of 100+ comes from all walks of life, including businesses, churches, non-profits and schools. From negotiating performers, fundraising and managing the FOR KIDS program to ushering, marketing and providing backstage artist hospitality, everyone has BPA’s mission in mind.
The Boerne Independent School District has also played a vital role in the organization’s success. Through their partnership, all performances take place in the 985-seat Champion Auditorium at Boerne-Samuel V. Champion High School, a state-of-the-art facility, commended for its acoustics, design and access to the school’s rehearsal facilities. In turn, BPA has hosted more than 35,000 students in its FOR KIDS program where students get to experience live concerts by the touring artists during special matinee performances, and secondary students can participate in Master Classes taught by the performers. This season, more than 3,000 students in grades 3-5 and secondary schools will participate.
Shari Elia, a Cordillera Ranch resident who has served on the BPA board for almost two years, recalled the kids’ excitement during FOR KIDS performances: “It’s always great to watch the FOR KIDS performances and Master Classes. It really touches our students in very unique, and sometimes very memorable ways. The kids were wiggling in their seats at the stunning acrobatics of the Peking Acrobats, and the intricate sword play of the Royal Dance Academy fascinated the boys, in particular! The Four Phantoms offered a Master Class to our Boerne and Champion High students, and shared very transparent and personal experiences about their lives as professional singers. It was a unique and eye-opening experience for these kids to be able to dialogue directly with these very accomplished, world-class performers.”
Shari has also done her homework to determine the impact that exposure to the arts has on both kids and communities. Citing statistics from the Texas Cultural Trust, she shared, “Texas students who are highly engaged in the arts are between 34% and 112% more likely to earn an exceptional score on standardized tests vs students who are minimally engaged. Exposure to the arts teaches our kids collaboration and communication skills, positive behaviors such as kindness, sharing and empathy, and life skills that come from practice, persistence and patience. As a board member and Cordillera Ranch resident, I am very proud of the work we do to bring Boerne Performing Arts to our kids and community!”
During the 2024 season, 5th grade students will see Time for Three, and middle schoolers and high schoolers will experience their Master Class; 3rd grade students will be wowed by Drum Tao; and George Hinchliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will entertain 4th grade students. “Every year, we arrange Master Classes where students can actually be instructed by these professional artists. Where else but Boerne? This is an amazing opportunity for students and for the Fine Arts programs of our schools,” added Cathie.
There are many factors involved in performance selections each season, and BPA has established relationships with agents, based mostly in New York, who understand the interests and demographics of Boerne audiences. “I believe it is most important that we provide a season with a variety of different shows, all of which must be appropriate for students, families and our community. Every year we bring in talent from all over the world. There could also be artists from the U.S., but they are world-renowned,” explained Cathie.
Roxanne and Scott Matkin are new BPA board members but they are not new to the organization. They have been attending performances since they lived in San Antonio, prior to moving to Cordillera Ranch in 2020. “My husband and I both enjoy the arts — from vocal, to instrumental, to dance and dramatic plays. The BPA provides access (to our audiences as well as our students) to a wide repertoire of performing arts, at a very reasonable price, in a beautiful and local venue,” said Roxanne.
Partnerships with organizations such as Boerne Independent School District, Boerne Kendall County Economic Development Corporation, the City of Boerne, Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce and the Boerne Convention and Visitors Bureau, and community and individual sponsorships like their longstanding relationship with Cordillera Ranch has sustained BPA and continues to be the driving force behind this uniquely Boerne treasure. Funding from sources like the Kronkosky Foundation’s $30K Challenge grant is one example. “The conditions were that BPA needed to raise $30K in donations from new patrons, and
Kronkosky would match with $30K. We achieved our goal, which resulted in a total of $60K that was used for expenses incurred for the FOR KIDS outreach program, provided at no cost to Boerne ISD students. We are super excited about our relationship with Kronkosky!” exclaimed Shari. Roxanne added, “We encourage all those living in Cordillera and the surrounding community to take the opportunity to attend performances, and support our local arts initiatives. By doing so, you will not only be enriched by what you experience, but you will help make the arts affordably and conveniently available to all in our community.”
Season tickets enable fans to reserve tickets and preferred seats for shows beginning December 7, 2023, with the holiday musical opener Time for Three, a recent Grammy award-winning ensemble with an unusual blend of classical music, Americana and singer-songwriter styles expressed through violin, double bass and vocals.
January 27, 2024, brings the start of the regular season with an evening of a cappella arrangements and layers of vocal lyrics and rhythms performed by the five-time Grammy Award-winning group The Swingles. It promises to be an evening filled with gorgeous musicality and vocal dexterity to impress and amaze you.
Drum Tao makes a thunderous appearance on February 27, 2024, entertaining audiences with Japanese drums, harps and flutes in a powerful exhibition of this ancient art where athleticism meets rhythm and music in a visually stunning performance.
Garnering new fans everywhere they go, whether it be performing for English royalty or Texas arts lovers, George Hinchliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain will bring their unique sound on April 22, 2024, and will show audiences just how entertaining the sometimes-overlooked ukulele can be!
For the future, Cathie and the BPA team will uphold the Boerne Performing Arts mission of continuing to impact our community and schools, saying “As in every area, the pandemic brought challenges for the performing arts. We are working to fill our auditorium once again, finding new ways to reach the next generation of concert goers.”
BPA is a 100% volunteer-driven 501 (c)3 non-profit organization. Thanks to the continued financial support of Boerne Performing Arts’ patrons and corporate sponsors, season ticket prices for the 2024 season remain unchanged from their prior levels. Corporate sponsorships are available for local businesses interested in marketing and advertising opportunities with Boerne Performing Arts. For corporate sponsorships, contact Paula White at email@example.com.