Tracy Byrd and his really big band

Tracy Byrd and his really big band

The Symphony of Southeast Texas (SOST) is proving that great music has no boundaries as they take the audience to new and creative places through the magic of inspiring orchestra music combined with amazing guest artists and continue their 64th season with styles for all tastes to enjoy.

“People are often particular about the music that they listen to,” said SOST Music Director Chelsea Tipton, II, “and I always say that it is the same 12 notes – whether it is classical, new age, country or any of the many genres that are out there. These concerts are another example of the flexibility of our orchestra to perform many different styles of music.”

Tipton and the SOST fulfill this message to the fullest with the remaining schedule of their concert season.

Feb. 18, the orchestra takes the stage with American country music star Tracy Byrd and his band; then on March 11, a traditional choral concert with the SOST Chorus performing Robert Schumann’s Requiem, opus 148; and the grand finale, “Symphonie Fantastique” on April 1 features the title masterwork by Hector Berlioz as well as Rachmaninoff’s greatest composition with the amazing piano soloist Christopher O’Reilly.

Byrd, a Vidor native, along with his band, will join the SOST on stage at the Julie Rogers Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m. for an exciting pops concert. “Best of Byrd” is an innovative endeavor for all involved as it is the first full concert for Byrd and his band with a symphony orchestra and a new musical journey for the SOST.

“I am just at a point in my life and career where I want to do things meaningful and fun that I haven’t done before,” said Byrd. “I have been so blessed to do the many great shows that I have gotten to do, but this is something totally different.”

Byrd broke through on the country music scene with his 1993 single “Holdin’ Heaven,” which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks. His career spans over two decades, including 30 chart-reaching singles and nine albums, four of which were certified gold and one double-platinum. Some of his most memorable hits include “Watermelon Crawl,” “The Keeper of the Stars,” “I’m from the Country” and “(Don’t Take Her) She’s All I Got.” He was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015. In October 2016, Byrd released his first album in 10 years, titled All American Texan.

Byrd said he actually performed with the SOST well over 25 years ago at the Fourth of July Celebration at Riverfront Park and sang “God Bless the USA.”

“That was fun but obviously nothing like what we will be doing at this concert,” he said. “I’m excited to have a little bit bigger band backing me up,” he joked, “about 60 pieces larger. I might get caught enjoying the music too much, so I will need to stay sharp. Thank goodness we will have a rehearsal.”

SOST Music Director Chelsea Tipton II shared the mutual enthusiasm in this genre-crossing endeavor. “We are so excited to be sharing the stage with this hometown Southeast Texas country artist,” he said.

The SOST’s own Gary Parks, principal timpanist, wrote the orchestral arrangements for Byrd’s music. Parks has written several arrangements for the SOST and has been a member of the orchestra since 1978.

While the orchestra and theater present a much different atmosphere for Byrd, he is sure to still have guests dancing in the aisles and then warming hearts with that marvelous voice that made him a legend.

The traditional SOST choral concert is scheduled for March 11 with Johann Strauss’ classic waltz “On the Beautiful Blue Danube.” Guest Conductor Dr. James Han will lead the SOST Chorus in Robert Schumann’s Requiem, opus 148. Schumann, a German composer, was an influential music critic widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era.


Single ticket prices range from $26 to $46; senior, student and group discounts are available. To purchase tickets or get more information, go to or contact the symphony office at (409) 892-2257.