There’s more to Swing than Swing

Swing Styles


Savoy Swing: a style of Swing popular in the New York Savoy Ballroom in the 30's and 40's originally danced to Swing music. The Savoy style of swing is a very fast, jumpy, casual-looking style of dancing

Lindy style is a smoother-looking dance.

West Coast Swing: a style of Swing emphasizing nimble feet popular in California night clubs in the 30's and 40's and voted the California State Dance in 1989.

Whip: a style of Swing popular in Houston, Texas, emphasizing moves spinning the follower between dance positions with a wave rhythm break.

Push: a style of swing popular in Dallas, Texas, emphasizing moves spinning the follower between dance positions with a rock rhythm break.

Supreme Swing: a style of Swing popular in Tulsa, Oklahoma.


Imperial Swing: a style of Swing popular in St. Louis, Missouri.

Carolina Shag: a style of Swing popular in the Carolinas emphasizing the leader's nimble feet.

DC Hand Dancing: a Washington, DC synthesis of Lindy and Swing.

East Coast Swing: a 6-count style of Lindy popular in the ballroom dance school organizations.

Ballroom West Coast Swing: a style of swing popular in the ballroom dance school organizations and different from the style performed in the California nightclubs and Swing dance clubs.

Country-Western Swing: a style of Jitterbug popularized during the 1980's and danced to Country Western music.

Cajun Swing: a Louisiana Bayou style of Lindy danced to Cajun music.

Pony Swing: a Country Western style of Cajun Swing.

Jive: the International Style version of the dance is called Jive, and it is danced competitively in the US and all over the world.


Magnificent Mozart: Concert Four

Mozart, Mozart, Mozart – Three Concertos, Three Artists, Three Instruments

Maestro David Mairs asks, “So how can the music of a single composer be presented in a concert which brings variety. How about performing not one concerto, but three? How about hearing a movement from three different concertos for three different instruments performed by three different artists from the Mid-Texas Symphony? Does Mozart sound the same when the solo instrument is a flute, or a clarinet, or a bassoon? It’s time we found out, and Rita, Vanguel, and Jonathan will help us do that.

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Flute Concerto No. 1 in G major, K. 313 performed by MTS principal flute, Rita Linard

Mozart composed the Concerto in G major in Mannheim, early in 1778, and the work was probably performed there by Johann Baptist Wendling, the solo flutist of the Mannheim Orchestra. The National Symphony Orchestra gave its first performance of this work in a chamber orchestra concert conducted by Pinchas Zukerman on March 12, 1978, with Eugenie Zukerman as soloist, and performed it most recently at Wolf Trap on July 13, 2000, with Paula Robison as soloist and Anthony Aibel conducting.  In addition to the solo flute, the score calls for 2 oboes, 2 horns, and strings. (The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Richard Freed)


Clarinet Concerto in A, K622, performed by MTS principal clarinet, Vanguel Tangarov 

This concerto was completed in 1791, the year of Mozart’s death, marked his farewell to instrumental music. It was also the first clarinet concerto to be written by a major composer – except that Mozart did not write it for the clarinet at all. It is rare that we ever hear this most famous of wind concertos played on the instrument Mozart intended – the basset clarinet, a clarinet that has four semitones added to its lower range. The inventor of the basset clarinet, and its leading virtuoso, was Mozart’s friend and fellow Mason, Anton Stadler, for whom Mozart had written the Clarinet Quintet in A, in 1789. 

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Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, K 191, performed by MTS principal bassoon, Jonathan Castillo

With the exception of a spurious work now attributed to François Devienne (K.Anh. 230a), this piece is the only extant work Mozart wrote for solo bassoon. It is possible that he composed others; he is reputed to have composed three further bassoon concertos and a bassoon sonata for Thaddäus Baron von Dürnitz, the recipient of the Piano Sonata in D, K. 284. but none has been accounted for. The B flat concerto was completed in Salzburg in June 1774. That year the teenage Mozart was afforded the rare luxury of remaining at home’. The concerto, composed for an unknown recipient, is cast in the usual three movements, and its sunny, bubbling lyricism perhaps shows the influence of Italian opera. (Brian Robbins)

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Christmas is without a doubt my favorite time of the year. I'm that person that when the clock turns midnight on Thanksgiving night I go right into Christmas mode. I have every reason to be uncontrollably happy because it's Christmas, it’s the happiest time of the year. What is better than watching 25 Days of Christmas, sitting by the fire, decorating the Christmas tree and ice-skating? The answer is: nothing. There are so many reasons why I love Christmas as much as I do and it’s not because I get showered with gifts by my family.

Even though it’s incredibly cold in New York at this time of year, I still feel warm and happy because of the atmosphere Christmas brings. Going into New York City and seeing the tree at Rockefeller Center, skating in Central Park or walking past the department store to see the window display just makes me incredibly happy. When it starts to snow and the sky is full of small little flakes it makes everything just feel more magical and joyous. Christmas is such a happy holiday and it makes so many people happy that it just makes me happy.

I also love Christmas because my sister and I both come home from college and for two days she has no choice but spend time with me. I rarely get to spend time with her so any moment I do get with her makes me happy. I also get to see the rest of my family. My cousins, my sisters and I never fail to have a good time together. What is better than spending time with the people you love most? Getting to spend an absurd amount of time with my cousins playing Just Dance beats any other day of the year.

Finally, I love Christmas because it gives my mom and I a great excuse to bake an unhealthy amount of cookies and watch a concerning amount of Christmas movies. One of my favorite traditions with my mom is taking a whole day and baking cookies for the holiday. The smell of cookies filling the house and Christmas music playing in the background never fails to make me smile. Every year we do the same thing and my dad does his usual of staying away from the kitchen so we don't ask him for his help. I couldn't imagine celebrating Christmas without this tradition.

I don't know how, but there are people that just don't feel the same about Christmas as I do. Yes I believe they are crazy. I am Buddy the Elf of Christmas. There is the best excuse to be extremely happy! No worries, some responsibilities and being surrounded by joy and love. How could people not love this holiday?

Madeline Ulrich, Blogger


Angels & Anthems

Concert Three: Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 4pm

by Maestro David Mairs

I Googled it. It was real! The Blizzard of 1947 in New York City was real! My mother’s story was right. She had decided to take my brother (5) and me (4) across the George Washington Bridge into NYC to see Handel and Gretel at the Metropolitan Opera on December 26th. Hansel and Gretel, an opera about children, was traditionally performed at Christmas time at the Met. Why not! It’s about kids, and angels, and families (and yes, a wicked witch!). We bussed into the city for the 1:00 performance. When we came out, the snow was 2 feet deep, the busses weren’t running, and my mother made some very bold and gutsy moves to get us little kids home safely. She surprised an elderly man in a big car who had slowed to a crawl on his approach to the George Washington Bridge, by throwing open his rear door, shoving us boys into the car, climbing in herself, and exclaiming, “Can you help me get these boys across the bridge?” He did.

What I remember from that encounter is the “angel music,” Humperdinck’s amazing music filling the hall as the angels came down to watch over Hansel and Gretel, who were hopelessly lost in the woods. Every time I perform this piece, as a hornist and now as a conductor, I am overwhelmed as the majesty of the orchestra accompanies the angels – “and the Glory of the LORD shown around them!”

Our Christmas concert is about angels and especially about kids – little kids and big kids – kids singing for you and escorting us into the presence of the mysterious and perhaps, the holy. From the 5th graders from the Seguin area to the Seguin High School Choir, the voices of kids will take you places that you’ll want to go. Enjoy the trip!


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It's all about Beethoven

19 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Beethoven


AUGUST 12, 2014


Ludwig van Beethoven was born in December of 1770 in Bonn to parents Johann and Maria, who were excited and scared about the future of their newborn son. Stubborn and self-involved, dramatic yet loving of his friends, Beethoven would become a virtuoso pianist and canonical composer of dozens of symphonies, concertos for piano, piano sonatas, and string quartets. Having performed brilliantly for much of his youth and into his early thirties, the musician would slowly lose his hearing and ultimately focus his efforts on composing alone. Even after he had lost his most precious sense, Beethoven would create some of the most moving works of all time.

Jan Swafford’s Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph chronicles the life of the master musician, painting the picture of a character who loved and hated ferociously, of a Europe wrought with revolution and enlightenment, and of a Vienna housing some of the foremost icons of history (Mozart and Haydn would predate Beethoven there). Below is a list of things you might not know about this beloved artist.

1. Beethoven was actually the third Ludwig van Beethoven in his family. The first was his grandfather, a noted musician in Bonn, and the second was Beethoven’s older brother, who passed six days after his birth.

2. Beethoven’s father noticed early on the boy’s penchant for playing. He set his sights on creating a prodigy as Mozart was just years before, and Johann beat music into Ludwig, forcing him to practice day and night to reach the same level of genius. Neighbors of Beethoven remembered the small boy standing on a bench to reach the keyboard, crying, his father looming over him.

3. Having left school at age 11 to help with household income, Beethoven never learned how to multiply or divide. To his last day if he had to multiply, say, 60 x 52, he’d lay out 60 52 times over and add them up.

4. Among his friends, Beethoven was a notorious spacecadet. Once, while speaking to family friend Cacilie, she noticed him zoning out. When she demanded a reply to what she’d said, his answer was, “I was just occupied with such a lovely, deep thought, I couldn’t bear to be disturbed.”

5. On his first visit to Vienna, 17-year-old Beethoven was scheduled to perform for Mozart. The latter was generally unimpressed with other musicians, having been so far ahead of his peers in talent and accomplishments. No one really knows what happened in that fateful meeting, but myth has it that Mozart walked out of the room saying, “Keep your eyes on him—someday he’ll give the world something to talk about.”

6. Beethoven was known for his improvising (before he lost his hearing). One contemporary of his, composer Johann Baptist Cramer, told his students that if you haven’t heard Beethoven improvise, you haven’t heard improvisation.

7. After moving to Vienna in his early 20s, Beethoven took lessons from Joseph Haydn, father of the symphony. As per Beethoven’s habit with teachers, the two often got frustrated and ultimately didn’t like each other very much.

8. When Beethoven had been composing for some years, the piano began to come into its own. Whereas his predecessors had composed for harpsichord, Beethoven decided he would focus his efforts on the instrument no one had yet written comprehensive work for.

9. Beethoven had varying luck with women. Some admired him for his genius while others found him repulsive. A woman he courted once called him “ugly and half crazy.”

10. Beethoven was a sick kid to his dying day. Throughout his life he would suffer from deafness, colitis, rheumatism, rheumatic fever, typhus, skin disorders, abscesses, a variety of infections, ophthalmia, inflammatory degeneration of the arteries, jaundice, chronic hepatitis, and cirrhosis of the liver.

11. Though he attributed the beginning of his deafness to an instance in which he was startled and fell, the foundation would have probably been a disease he had suffered from as a child like typhus, smallpox, etc. He began to hear constant buzzing at age 27.

12. The Moonlight Sonata was a hit from the start, dedicated to Beethoven’s pupil and love interest Julie Guicciardi.

13. Beethoven hated giving piano lessons unless they were for exceptionally talented students or attractive young women of whatever talent.

14. He was instrumental in setting the tone of critiques of his work in the leading music journal of the day, AMZ, telling the editor to back off with negative comments if he wanted to receive copies of the musician’s work.

15. His Symphony No. 3, called Eroica, was dedicated to Napoleon (before he’d disappointed Beethoven and crowned himself absolute monarch, as opposed to being a symbol of revolution and new era in Europe) and written at a time when Beethoven considered moving to Paris. The move never happened, but the symphony would be a defining artistic work of the German enlightenment.

16. One of the major inspirations of Beethoven’s famed Ninth Symphony was poet Friedrich Schiller’s poem “Ode to Joy,” which he’d been meaning to put to music since his youth.

17. Despite his acclaim, Beethoven always had to work hard to ensure a comfortable living by giving piano lessons, writing work commissioned by wealthy Viennese residents, and, of course, publishing his own music.

18. He died during a thunderstorm at age 56, his friend comparing the occasion to the composer’s symphonies with “crashes that sound like hammering on the portals of Fate.”

19. Thousands joined the procession at his burial. His monument said, simply, “BEETHOVEN.”