The San Marcos Performing Arts Association (SMPAA) began in 1987 as the brain child of Ron and Marie Jager with Summer in the Park (SITP) and Sights and Sounds of Christmas. Sights and Sounds of Christmas has long been an independent entity and non-profit of its own, and SITP continues under the auspices of SMPAA. SMPAA has also been instrumental in sponsoring, as an umbrella organization, the Heart of Texas Chorus and the Hill Country Youth Chorus, both independent non-profit organizations now.
Over its 33-year history SMPAA has sponsored a variety of musical projects, including multiple productions of the Christmas opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” Our first Amahl, Jonathan Tucker, has recently been graduated in Drama from Texas Lutheran University in Sequin and is pursuing an acting career in San Antonio. In 2008, the first year the new San Marcos High School opened, SMPAA produced the musical “Oliver!” At that time, the high school had practically nothing in the way of stage sets. SMPAA had a professionally designed set built and donated it to the school for future use. SMPAA was also instrumental in rallying and sponsoring the fundraising for a grand piano for the new school. For many years, SMPAA sponsored scholarships and private voice lessons for financially disadvantaged choral students at our high school. SMPAA continues to look for ways to support our community and young people.
SMPAA’s largest and most successful project continues to be Summer in the Park concerts. Every Thursday evening in June, July, and the first two weeks of August, 10-12 concerts every year, in coordination with the San Marcos Parks and Recreation and local businesses, SITP averages over 1,000 audience attendees. This San Marcos tradition is free to the public and enjoyed by all ages, generations, and various minorities of our community. With generous support from the San Marcos Arts Commission and the Texas Commission on the Arts, SMPAA is proud to host mainly area musicians of the highest caliber.
SMPAA’s most recent project is the San Marcos Community Chorus. This is the second year in coordination with the SMART Orchestra to produce a free performance of Handel’s Messiah at the San Marcos First Baptist Church. Both choir and orchestra are fortunate to be able to practice at the S.M. First Lutheran Church for a nominal donation, which makes this effort possible. In May 2020, the chorus will expand its efforts to include a concert without the orchestra. This May the chorus will feature the requiem and various choral works and solos by John Rutter, to be followed in future years with concerts by other composers. Our goal is to feature challenging choral works that would be difficult for an individual church choir to perform on its own.
There are many projects SMPAA would love to pursue. The largest obstacles are the lack of an adequate performance space, funding, and enthusiastic leaders and volunteers. San Marcos still lacks a community band and regular opportunities to perform in plays and musicals. San Marcos’ needs are great, and unfortunately for too long San Marcos, as a community, has relied on the university and neighboring cities and communities for much of its cultural needs. SMPAA is poised and ready to do what it can to fill that void, but we cannot do it without financial and community support. Any and all assistance will be responsibly invested in our community and greatly appreciated!