San Antonio's performing arts group Urban-15 is known for its driving drumbeats and wildly creative costuming. Their longevity and unique calling has made them one of the city’s iconic puro San Antonio aspects. But every December they put away the drums and costumes, put on holiday music, and turn on the lasers.
"The holiday laser show is multiple lasers that are choreographed to some of the holiday favorites," said Urban-15 Music and Media Director George Cisneros.
More than 250,000 people are expected to once again crowd Hemisfair Park and the surrounding area, including La Villita, for the bash. It's a special time of year, said Judi DeLeon, executive director for the San Antonio Parks Foundation.
"This is a tradition," DeLeon said. "The carnival is here, it's a safe setting. We're right in the middle of downtown. SAPD will be all around us and we've got great food, great music."
A special guest was invited to be a part of the festivities, according to DeLeon, but Texas singer/songwriter Willie Nelson wasn't available.
Conspirare is a professional chamber choir from Austin that sings different types of music, from medieval to modern. The word itself may sound like it has sinister undertones, but Craig Hella Johnson, the group's artistic director, said it means, "to breathe together."
"We are so thrilled about our visit to San Antonio," Johnson said. "We are returning to a venue that we really enjoy singing in -- Laurel Heights United Methodist Church -- and we are singing this Friday."
Federal cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, which is commonly known as food stamps, are taking their toll on needy Texans and food banks all across the state.
The expiration of a $5 billion supplemental stimulus package is the cause for the decrease, which has hit some of the neediest Texans just before the Holiday season, affecting more than 3 million families. The timing of the decrease has also hit food banks.
In San Antonio’s huge array of holiday events, a few stand out apart from the others. This one though, definitely does.
"It’s a big band concert on Tuesday December 3 at the Empire Theater," said Brent "Doc" Watkins, talking about his upcoming show at the Charline McCombs Theater.
"I’ve got an 18-piece big band that’s going to be performing a number of holiday and Christmas classics --everything from "Jingle Bells" to "Charlie Brown’s Christmas," to things like "O Holy Night." I’ve got a variety of singers coming in, it’s going to be a really great show," Watkins said.
The San Antonio Mastersingers are about to begin a series of performances that have become a San Antonio holiday tradition. They are teaming with the San Antonio Symphony for George Frideric Handel's "The Messiah."
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Department made sure Santa Claus didn’t forget the children of the inmates at the county jail. On Sunday afternoon at the El Progresso Hall on the city’s West Side, 13-year-old Sunshine sat on her new bike.
"I got a raffle ticket when I got here and they called the numbers and I won," Sunshine said.
"The Nutcracker" is now an American Christmas tradition, but when Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky debuted the work in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892, it wasn't a success. San Antonio Symphony’s Associate Conductor Akiko Fujimoto explains.
"You have to understand, until Tchaikovsky came along, ballet music was just ballet music," Fujimoto said. "It wasn’t appreciated for its own good, and Tchaikovsky single-handedly did that."