September 2009
Dallas Symphony salutes Texas and Tiomkin

Richard Kaufman

Concert suites from Giant and The Alamo, along with the popular theme from television’s Rawhide, will be performed as part of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s “Tribute to Texas” on Friday and Saturday, October 2 and 3, 2009, at Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas. Giant was filmed on location in Marfa, southeast of El Paso. For The Alamo, the Spanish mission was re-created on a set built near Brackettville, more than a hundred miles west of San Antonio. Conductor Richard Kaufman (pictured) selected the music and will lead the concert.

Featured in the suite from Giant is the film’s main title, “This Then Is Texas.” Tiomkin’s anthem, with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster, has an interesting sidebar story of its own: Back in the 1970s, it could have become the official song of the Lone Star State.

Giant - One Sheet - US - 1970Giant posterThe story played out as follows. In March 1971, Rep. R. B. McAlister (D-Tex.) contacted Walter A. Evans at Warner Bros. Music—Warner was Giant’s production/releasing company—expressing an interest in replacing the current state song, “Texas, Our Texas,” with Tiomkin’s composition. McAlister was a member of the House of Representatives from 1969 until his death in 1976 and also enjoyed a lengthy career in radio broadcasting. Despite being stricken by polio, the Texas native started working as a reporter in 1928 and went on to become an announcer, program director, and eventually station manager and owner. A devout Baptist, McAlister was known to radio audiences as “Mac” and coined the saying “Remember, fears, not years, make men old.”

Tiomkin approved of McAlister’s proposal and began corresponding directly with Evans in support of the idea. Despite his best efforts, however, “Texas, Our Texas” remained the state song. Written in 1924 by William J. Marsh with words by Marsh and Gladys Yoakum Wright, “Texas, Our Texas” was originally adopted as the state song back in 1929. At the time other popular tunes such as “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and “Dixie” also were considered before the legislature authorized a statewide contest, from which Marsh’s composition emerged the winner.

“Tribute to Texas” will be followed by an intermission. In the evening’s second portion, singer LeAnn Rimes will perform her greatest hits with the orchestra. For tickets, call the DSO office at (214) 692-0203, or go to dallassymphony.com.

Sources

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