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"Time is what we want most, but what we use the worst."
~William Penn

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Moments in Texas History ~ 6/12/2011


El Paso County gives rock art site to state
June 12, 1969
On this day in 1969, El Paso County gave Hueco Tanks by special deed to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The site, thirty miles east of El Paso, features three massive granite hills that rise to about 450 feet above the desert floor and are noted for their prehistoric Indian rock art. Hueco, Spanish for "hollow," refers to the hollows in the rocks that collect rainwater. Until about 1910 the tanks furnished virtually the only water between the Pecos River and El Paso. Folsom projectile points found at Hueco Tanks show that human beings have been in the area for at least 10,000 years. An estimated 5,000 pictographs and a few petroglyphs are scattered in more than fifty locations throughout the site. In May 1970 Hueco Tanks State Historical Park was opened to the public.

Refugee conductor gives "demonstration concert" in San Antonio
June 12, 1939
On this day in 1939, refugee Max Reiter conducted a "demonstration concert" at the Sunken Garden Theater in San Antonio. Reiter was born in Italy in 1905, but moved with his family to Munich in 1915. In 1933, with the rise of Nazism, he left Germany and settled in Milan. In Italy he befriended Richard Strauss, and later premiered many of Strauss's works with the San Antonio Symphony and in radio broadcasts. Reiter fled Italian fascism in 1938 and came to the United States. He found New York overcrowded with conductors, many of whom were European refugees, and was advised by the Steinway family to go to Texas.

His first "demonstration concert" was in Waco, using an orchestra composed of Baylor music faculty and students, local amateurs, and a few key players from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Some of his supporters from San Antonio attended the Waco concert and reasoned that he would do even better in San Antonio, which had a greater supply of talent and a long-standing tradition of supporting the arts. The concert was a resounding success, and led to the formation of the Symphony Society of San Antonio, with Reiter as founding conductor and music director. He died in 1950 and was succeeded by Victor Alessandro.
posted by Jeff ~ 6.12.2011 The Texas State Historical Association

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