Young Texas Artists Will Present Spectacular Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue Gala March 11

Event to be infused with Lone Star flavor

Shown at the Young Texas Artists 2022 Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue are, from left, Mimi Sadler, Allyson Ayton, Mimi Devereaux; and Terry Husband Giles. Photo by John Hallett.

Nonprofit arts organization Young Texas Artists (YTA) will deliver plenty of excitement, glamour and Lone Star charm when it presents the 2023 Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue gala Saturday, March 11, in Conroe’s historic downtown cultural district.

The “jeans to jewels” celebration supports the annual Young Texas Artists Music Competition and the YTA Career Development Program for emerging artists.

“We see Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue, in many ways, as a two-act production,” YTA President/CEO Susie Moore Pokorski said. “Act 1 is pure Texas: a big party with barbecue, dancing and a live auction. Act 2, our competition’s Finalists’ Concert & Awards, features tremendously talented young musicians vying for a portion of $40,000 in cash prizes. You have breathtaking performances, the suspense of waiting for decisions from our judges and the drama of the awards presentations. All-in-all, it’s an unforgettable night.”

What’s more, Pokorski added, the excitement doesn’t end with the competition: Gala guests can enjoy a curtain call, so to speak, during the after-party. That portion of the night includes a Champagne, wine and longnecks bar along with toasts to the competition finalists, dancing, desserts and coffee.

This year’s Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue co-chairs are Allyson Ayton and Terry Husband Giles, who both co-chaired the 2019 gala and YTA’s big post-COVID comeback in 2022 as well.

There’s something special about Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue, Ayton said, that keeps people coming back year after year.

“The YTA Bach, Beethoven and BBQ is an event like no other,” she said. “It unites people from all walks of life in a common goal, that of supporting our incredibly talented youth in their individual musical goals. Even if you are not a classical music lover, you should attend simply to get some appreciation for the talent of these young artists. It’s quite jaw-dropping. Where else can you have an elegant BBQ dinner and then watch these incredible performances in an historic theatre?” 

The gala truly is an event worth experiencing, Giles added.

“If someone has never attended Bach Beethoven & Barbecue, I’d say they’re in for the best party ever! It is so much fun, with the delicious food, truly great music, dancing, and a lot of good fun.”

This year’s event will feature a new convenience, Giles said, complimentary valet parking.

“I am very excited that this addition will add to the enjoyment and convenience of our guests,” she added.

Also new this year will be a chance to bid on a stay at The Cozy Crab, a beautifully decorated Galveston beach house, during the live auction. Other new items and opportunities will be available for bidding as well.

Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue begins with a 5 p.m. reception in YTA’s Grand Pavilion, directly in front of Crighton Theatre at 234 N. Main St. The gala continues with a barbecue dinner with all of the trimmings, dancing to classic country music by Bill Mock and His 105 Band, and the live auction led by Lady Lyn Howard. The gala master of ceremonies will be Craig Stephan.

Gala attendees can walk to Crighton Theatre, just across the sidewalk, for the 7:30 p.m. Finalists’ Concert & Awards. Finalists in YTA’s four divisions—Piano; Voice; Strings; and Winds, Brass, Percussion, Harp and Guitar—will perform one more time for YTA’s distinguished panel of judges.

Serving as the concert’s master of ceremonies will be St. John Flynn, former Arts and Culture Director for Houston Public Media. Flynn currently is a writer, speaker and arts and culture consultant.

The program also will feature YTA’s 2023 guest of honor, Anastasia Markina, Dallas Symphony pianist and a YTA Gold Medalist, who will treat guests to a performance.

And, to celebrate Pokorski’s 25th year at the helm of YTA, the organization will honor the volunteers who helped her get started and are still around: those who began volunteering for the organization in 1998 or earlier.

The 2023 Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue is nearly sold out. To make reservations, visit For more information, call 936-756-7017.

Major donors as of March 1 include Dr. Douglas and Carol Aycock, City of Conroe, Nancy Dossey, Annette and Ken Hallock, Bill and Lana Hazlett, Lynda and Dan Kain, Janie and Richard Kobes, Myra and Ron Liston, Gaby and John Tryon and four anonymous donors.

About Young Texas Artists:

Young Texas Artists, founded in 1983, is a one-of-a-kind nonprofit presenter of music competitions and events, career development programs and cultural enrichment outreach. The nationally acclaimed Young Texas Artists Music Competition and the YTA Career Development Program provide professional guidance, mentoring and highly sought performance experience. An Official Music Competition of the State of Texas, it is one of the few competitions in the nation with four performance divisions: Voice; Piano; Strings; and Winds, Brass, Percussion, Harp and Guitar. The YTA contest is open to classical artists, ages 18-30 (20-32 for Voice), who are Texas residents or affiliated with a Texas music school.  Over the years, Young Texas Artists has helped produce many distinguished professionals who have gone on to join orchestras, opera companies, universities and music schools around the world.


Young Texas Artists is a member of the Greater Conroe Arts Alliance, the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Cultural Trust and Texans for the Arts.

Young Texas Artists, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization founded and headquartered in Conroe, Montgomery County. 

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