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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Makings of a #PavilionPicnic

Who knew picnic & The Pavilion went together just like watermelon & summertime?

Star-Spangled Salute has become a treasured tradition for families since it first was performed at The Pavilion. This year a new tradition begins with #PavilionPicnic.  Show off your love of America and build the ultimate patriotic picnic with red, white, and blue eats and sweets. At the show unpack on the hill and snap a picture. Post all the fun on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #PavilionPicnic and at intermission you may find your picnic featured on the big screen.

So what goes into making the perfect #PavilionPicnic?

1. The Centerpiece: also known as the picnic blanket.
Be sure to bring a blanket or tablecloth to set the stage for your picnic. The perfect blanket is definitely the personality of your picnic! Lots of food and no room to sit? That's ok - at all performing arts shows, lawn chairs are free!

2. Be the envy of your neighbor: sweets & eats.
Nothing is worse than looking over at your neighbor on the hill and coveting their picnic spread. Cheeses, grapes and chocolates OH MY! Or are you a fried chicken and corn on the cob kinda person? Regardless, the perfect menu is at the forefront of any picnickers' mind. Stick to finger foods for ease and don't forget the napkins!

3. Keep calm and Carry On: the picnic basket. 
Does Dad usually get stuck with carrying the picnic basket? Be sure to think ahead and pack efficiently - not too heavy and in as few baskets/bags as possible. One of our favorite "picnic baskets?" A pizza box from Grimaldi's or Brother's!

4. Top it all off: let The Pavilion handle the drinks.
While The Pavilion allows you to bring a picnic in, this does not include beverages. No problem though, Aramark offers both sodas and other assorted beverages (including the adult variety) to top off your perfect #PavilionPicnic. Just want water? Guests can bring an empty water bottle to fill up at the water fountain!

5.  Just do it: take your shoes off.
The Pavilion lawn was once described to me as "delicate like lace, but tough as a pig's iron." Nothing beats tunes from the Main Stage, friends around a picnic blanket and your toes in the grass.

No matter what makes up your #PavilionPicnic, we look forward to seeing you on the hill this season. For a list of all upcoming shows at The Pavilion visit: 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Last One

The Last One

Friends features an exclusive group of 20-somethings in the storyline of a television sitcom that premiered in 1994. It also happens to be one of my very favorite TV shows. Friends was and is an entertaining depiction of young people in various stages of life, struggling to face the many challenges that come with being an adult. Assuming each season is a year of their lives, season one introduces the characters as six 23-to-24-year-olds. While I know their lives are purely fiction, I am shocked to find myself nearing the same age that Phoebe, Chandler, Monica, Joey, Rachel and Ross were at the start of the series. And I’m shocked to find that I and the characters have some things in common—and several other things in contrast.

“The Last One” is the title of the finale episode of Friends, airing in 2004. I have spent a good amount of time writing blog posts, articles, press releases and social media announcements in this internship and I enjoy doing it more than almost any other task. Naturally I was able to manufacture some parallels between the end of my 4+ months at The Pavilion and the end of Friends’ 10 years on-air. Since this “Goodbye Blog” is also my last, this is my finale.

Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot

Day one of my new job as Marketing Assistant came with a lot of uncertainty and a lot of excitement. On my second day of work, I staffed my first performing arts event. It was similar to the pilot episode of any emerging show in that I had to establish my own story while becoming familiar with the world that was already turning around me. After that frenzied first day/week/episode, I continuously gained knowledge and confidence. And yes, friends.

Season 2, Episode 5: The One With Five Steaks And An Eggplant

One of my favorite things about working within earshot of Sarah Stephan—social media marketing coordinator—is the infectious enthusiasm with which she addresses pretty much everything. One subject that sparked an animated response from Sarah was talk of a Thanksgiving Potluck. Food is a staple in this office, whether it’s the cauldrons of candy we’ve assembled for Hocus Pocus Pops or the birthday parties featuring multiple kinds of cake, we’re certainly passionate about eating and laughing together.

Season 3, Episode 2: The One Where No One’s Ready

In the industry of fine arts events, it is inevitable that plans fall through. Or fall apart. A performer backs out, the weather is as uncooperative as ever, policies change, a performance date is misprinted in an advertisement, etc. It’s easy to turn any of these incidents into a catastrophe, but that’s not what we do here. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from Shannon Wilson, director of marketing & education, is that patience, grace and professionalism go a long way in handling each hiccup. Because she utilizes these traits so effortlessly, every potential issue is realistically minimized and the situation handled/rectified. Shannon is absolutely brilliant at her job and I am lucky to have learned so much from her.

Season 4, Episode 21: The One With The Invitation

This episode features flashbacks of Ross and Rachel’s relationship, so here’s a (much less dramatic) flashback of my own:

Whitney Hough—marketing and PR manager—loves Children’s Festival. After experiencing it for the first time last month, it’s not hard to see why. Children’s Festival is easily the most fun I have ever had at work.

I had an absolute blast at Children’s Festival. Working in the Meet & Greet tent, I witnessed boys and girls become star struck by Barbie and Bob the Builder and adults yell as loud as their kids for a glimpse of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. On Sunday morning, Whitney, Sarah and I ventured into the petting zoo, where I held a baby goat and we talked to the animals like we do each other. Friday evening, we rode several laps around The Pavilion on the golf cart, making sure everything was in place for the following morning while also adding our own sound effects to the cart. At two different points during the Festival, Sarah shielded me from a cockroach and I shielded her from a snake (brought by TWRC). In the days of preparation before and during the Festival, Whitney served as the best tour guide, event manager and cheerleader we could’ve asked for.

I learned so much and laughed so often during the whirlwind of Children’s Festival. Ultimately, my favorite part of the exhausting, nonstop four days was working alongside my friends. The chapped lips, sore feet and scratchy throat were totally worth it.

Season 5, Episode 18: The One Where Rachel Smokes  

Rachel doesn’t smoke. Her boss and co-workers do smoke. So of course, Rachel takes up smoking to fit into their exclusive group and build a relationship with her boss. By the end of the episode, she is convinced that it isn’t worth it to pretend to be someone she isn’t just to impress her co-workers, when her work is consistent and promising.

The marketing department hired me based on the person they grew to know in my résumé and interview. Being anything other than myself would have deprived the department of the employee they chose.

Season 6, Episodes 15 & 16: The One That Could Have Been, Parts 1 & 2

By the time I was hired as marketing assistant at The Pavilion in late July 2015, I had applied/interviewed for more than 100 jobs since January. Most in the Houston area, some across the state and a handful outside of Texas. After graduating from A&M in May, I had more than a few meltdowns when considering my future.

There are two parts to consider when thinking about the “what ifs” in life. First: what could have been. I could have any one of the many jobs I was being considered for at that point, but I didn’t. I was offered this job and accepted. I could be living in another city, with an apartment and a roommate and a completely different life, but I am not. I could have loved my job or hated my job. But none of them would’ve been this one.

The second part of thinking about what could have been is choosing to be happy now, no matter what might have happened. I was ecstatic to hang up with Shannon and tell my parents about the job I had just been offered. I was even more thrilled to have been offered a job that I actually wanted and then to accept it and love it. And, if I hadn't had this part-time job, I wouldn't have had the time to devote to finding a full-time job that was perfect for me.

Season 7, Episode 9: The One With All The Candy

Moral of this episode: You can’t please everyone.

Season 8, Episode 17: The One With The Tea Leaves

Phoebe reads tea leaves to predict the future. In case you do not possess the same clairvoyance, I’ve compiled a list of advice/musings I’ve accumulated while in this position to give insight into my experiences:

Nothing is below—or above—your paygrade.

Writing in AP style versus MLA takes some getting used to. I miss my Oxford comma.

You can learn a lot about The Pavilion by just reading through old CenterStage issues, blog posts, press releases, intern’s folders, etc. It’s a good way to productively fill time in a slow period.

The phone was a welcome addition to my desk as an alternative to giving my cell phone number to strangers.

The jobs that Whitney describes as “tedious” are not the most tedious jobs I have done.

A positive attitude is the best quality you can bring to this and any position. It’s necessary for you to succeed and be happy.

It’s always easier to get a response in person or on the phone than through email.

Discussing/obsessing over Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco and all things nerdy with Whitney is definitely something I’ll miss.

You are an adult and a valuable employee.

I handed out more business cards to my friends and family than I did to any actual business contacts.

It’s really cold upstairs (and in any office anywhere). Bring a jacket/snuggie/comforter as desired.

I do not like to be called Amanda. Whitney does not like to be called Wendy. And Sarah does not like to be called Stephen.


Every season of Friends is full of laughs from the cast, both scripted and candid. The same is true of every day with The Pavilion staff. My favorite part of working with this incredible team of people is the laughter that comes naturally with every task. On the few occasions that the entire staff gets together, laughter rings throughout the building. I hope my next adventure at Houston Grand Opera includes such fun-loving people as there are here at The Pavilion.

Season 10, Episodes 17 & 18: The Last One, Parts 1 & 2

The mixed emotions anyone may feel about their job and/or adult life from day to day can be summed up eloquently in the last line of dialogue from the Friends Pilot:

“Welcome to the real world! It sucks. You’re gonna love it.”
– Monica Gellar

I love this job. Maybe not every single aspect, but absolutely nothing could tarnish the fantastic memories I have made here at The Pavilion.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

End of Season 26

The End of Season 26 at The Pavilion

The 26th season of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion ends next week with two final performances: Holly Jolly Jingle on December 3 and KSBJ Presents Christmas with Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith on December 5. It’s been quite a successful year at The Pavilion: several sold-out shows, record attendance at performing arts events and the highest ticket sales of any outdoor amphitheater in the world—earning us the #1 spot in Pollstar’s annual rankings for the third business quarter.

Pavilion by the Numbers
Total Guests: More than 75,000

Total Ticketed Events: 61
Contemporary/Live Nation Events: 41
Community Rentals: 6
Performing Arts Events: 14
Educational Outreach Events: Musical Scores, Music in Motion, Fine Arts Education Days, ChamberFest, Children's Festival School Days
Annual Fundraisers: Wine Dinner & Auction, Pre-Concert Fundraiser

According to our records on, this season’s ticket sales were widespread by location and demographic. The majority of tickets were purchased in the Greater Houston Area and throughout Texas, but others were purchased as across the Western United States in each Arkansas, Colorado, California, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington. Several concertgoers even purchased theirs from Canada.

The most popular concert in Ticketmaster sales was Lana Del Ray with Courtney Love, selling out at 16,422 tickets. What was your favorite?

March 28 – KSBJ Anniversary Concert with MercyMe with Crowder, Matt Maher, Jamie Grace, Tedashii, Group 1 Crew, Jon Guerra, I Am They & Sha
April 1 – Nickelback
April 11 – Bryan Adams
April 18 – Buzzfest 33 with Godsmack, Hollywood Undead, Buckcherry, Not in the Face, Within Reason, Dirty Heads, Breaking Benjamin
April 22 - The Peking Acrobats with the Houston Symphony
April 24 - Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
April 25 - Chris Tomlin with Tenth Avenue North and Rend Collective
May 1 - Elton John
May 2 - ZZ Top and Jeff Beck
May 3 - Lady Antebellum with Hunter Hayes and Sam Hunt
May 7 - Lana Del Rey with Courtney Love
May 8 - Beethoven & Bartok with the Houston Symphony
May 15 - "The Magic Flute" with Houston Grand Opera
May 23-24 - Boni's Dance Recital - Love, Dance and Motown
May 28 - Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band
May 29 - The Music of Led Zeppelin with the Houston Symphony
May 30 - Train with The Fray and Matt Nathanson
June 1 - The Woodlands College Park High School Graduation
June 2 - The Woodlands High School Graduation
June 4 - Conroe High School Graduation
June 12 - Disney in Concert: Tale as Old as Time
June 13 - Boom 92 Kings of the Mic
June 17 - Move with Derek and Julianne Hough
June 19 - Texas Music Festival Orchestra
June 20 - 93Q's A Day in the Country with Darius Rucker & Brett Eldredge, Brothers Osborne, A Thousand Horses, Chase Bryant, Drake White
July 2 - Third Eye Blind & Dashboard Confessional
July 3 - Star-Spangled Salute with the Houston Symphony
June 10 - Tedeschi Trucks Band with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings & Doyle Bramhall II
July 11 - Bud Light Weenie Roast with Shinedown, Blue October, X Ambassadors, Meg Myers and Nothing More
July 17 - The Avett Brothers with Old Crow Medicine Show
July 18 - Steely Dan with Elvis Costello & The Imposters
July 21 - Sublime with Rome with Rebelution, Pepper, Mickey Avalon
July 22 - Kid Rock with Foreigner and Packway Handle Band
July 24 - Fall Out Boy & Wiz Khalifa with Hoodie Allen
July 25 - Chicago & Earth, Wind and Fire
July 30 - Michael Cavanaugh: Music of the Great Singer-Songwriters with the Houston Symphony
July 31 - Idina Menzel
August 1 - Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival with Slayer, King Diamond, Hellyeah, The Devil Wears Prada, White Chapel, Thy Art Is Murder
August 8 - 5 Seconds of Summer with Hey Violet
August 15 - Grease Sing-A-Long
August 19 - Incubus and Deftones with Death From Above 1979 & The Bots
August 21 - J. Cole with Big Sean, YG, Jeremih, Bas, Cozz and Omen
August 22 - Def Leppard with Styx and Tesla
August 24 - Yes with Toto
August 29 - Australian Pink Floyd with Led Zeppelin 2
September 1 - Kelly Clarkson with Pentatonix, Eric Hutchinson and Abi Ann
September 4 - Slipknot with Lamb of God, Bullet for My Valentine & Motionless in White
September 10 - Music of the Americas with the Houston Symphony
September 19 - Lenny Kravitz with Andra Day
September 22 - Rick Springfield with Loverboy and The Romantics
September 25 - Van Halen with Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
September 26 - Daryl Hall & John Oates
October 1 - An Evening with the Houston Ballet
October 8 - Counting Crows with Citizen Cope and Hollis Brown
October 16 - Oddball Comedy Festival with Aziz Ansari, Amy Schumer, Bridget Everett, TJ Miller, Anthony Jeselnik, Jeff Ross, Nick Thune
October 17 - Buzzfest 34 with Papa Roach, Bring Me The Horizon, Panic! At The Disco, Candlebox, P.O.D., Big Wreck, The Struts, Yelawolf, Atlas
October 23 - Hocus Pocus Pops with the Houston Symphony
October 24 - Majic Under the Stars with Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Jaheim, Keith Sweat, and Tony! Toni! Toné
November 7 - Zac Brown Band with Drake White
November 14-15 – 20th Annual Children’s Festival
December 3 – Holly Jolly Jingle
December 5 - KSBJ Presents Christmas with Amy Grant & Michael W. Smith

 We appreciate the support of The Woodlands and the Greater Houston area during our 26th season! The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion’s 27th season begins in just a few short months, so like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to hear about 2016 performances as they’re announced. Thank you for your continued patronage, and we look forward to seeing you again soon!