Tarleton key in local drive for Music Friendly Community certification

STEPHENVILLE (August 10, 2018) — The combination of abundant area talent and Tarleton State University programs is a big reason Stephenville’s music environment is so vital. That combination can now bring recognition to musicians and related businesses statewide through a new certification offered by the Texas Music Office.

A workshop to help Stephenville become certified as a Music Friendly Community is set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, at T-Birds Garage Pub at Melody Makers Ranch, 1209 PR 707.

Participation in the program provides Texas communities with a network for fostering music industry development and, says the Texas Music Office, “sends a clear message to industry professionals that certified communities are serious about attracting and developing programs.”

Dr. Vicky Johnson, head of the Tarleton Department of Fine Arts, is on the initiative’s advisory board. She sees opportunities for both the university and area musicians.

“I hope this process will provide increased exposure for our music programs in the Stephenville music community and opportunities for our students to participate in collaboration with local talent,” she said. “We have a relatively new music business program, led by Dr. Doug Tejada, that would definitely benefit from community relationships that will be formed from the joint effort of pursuing this certification.”

Julie Smith, manager of the Stephenville Tourism and Visitors Bureau, is spearheading the effort. She said a qualifying element for the Music Friendly Community designation is a partnership with Tarleton.

“We’re lucky to have the robust fine arts programs at Tarleton,” she said. “We can take advantage of a great facility, degree plans, and, of course, the faculty is top-notch.”

She said the certification effort is the culmination of decades of appreciation for Stephenville musicians and fans.

The Larry Joe Taylor concert series has been around more than 30 years and the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center and the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council for almost 40 years, plus there are new venues like the Twisted J, which opened in January. And don’t forget the Summer Concert Series in the park and programs in the schools.

“It’s nice to be able to pull all these elements together into one package,” Smith said. To reserve a spot at the workshop, RSVP to jsmith@stephenvilletx.gov.

Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Denton have already received certification. Dallas, Corpus Christi and Lubbock are working through the process.

“It’s exciting for a town like Stephenville to be able to compete in that arena,” Smith said. “We’re kind of a home base for emerging artists as well as some established Texas music artists. It’s exciting we can be in a category alongside these other contributors in Texas.”

Brendon Anthony, director of the Texas Music Office, feels the vibe. “We invite music businesses, artists, students, teachers and radio stations located in the Stephenville area to attend this exciting workshop,” he said, “and learn how Stephenville can become a certified Texas Music Friendly Community.”

The Texas Music Office is a state-funded business promotion and information clearinghouse for the Texas music industry. More than 14,000 individual clients use TMO resources and assistance annually, including more than 8,600 direct referrals to Texas music businesses, performers and event planners.

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