Young Texas Artists To Serve Up Foot-Stomping Fun at Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue Gala March 12

After two years of cancellations, organizers are ready to dazzle attendees

The Young Texas Artists gala, Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue, is returning this March after two years of pandemic-related cancellations and promises to deliver all of the Lone Star sparkle attendees have come to love.

The gala, a sensational “jeans to jewels” celebration that helps support Young Texas Artists’ (YTA’s) annual music competition and career development programs, is scheduled for Saturday, March 12, in Conroe’s historic downtown district.

It will be part of an evening that’s packed with food and drink, talented performers and lots of music, from classical to country.

In honor of its big comeback, YTA has lined up several special programs to complement the gala and the Finalists’ Concert & Awards presentation that takes place later in the evening. The Young Texas Artists Fine Arts Weekend in downtown Conroe March 10-13 will showcase emerging Texas artists in music, visual art, contemporary dance and poetry. All events are included in the gala ticket price.

“We’re incredibly thrilled to be returning,” said Susie Moore Pokorski, President/CEO of Young Texas Artists. “Even as we’ve been forced to cancel events, we’ve refused to sit idle. Our board and team members have been working diligently on this comeback. We promised to dazzle our guests, and we will.”

Baritone Michael Mayes, YTA’s 2002 Gold Medal Winner in Voice and an internationally acclaimed opera singer, will be the guest of honor at both the gala and at the Finalists’ Concert & Awards.

This year’s Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue co-chairs are Terry Husbands Giles, Allyson Ayton and Mimi Devereaux. Mimi Sadler is serving as the dinner chair, and Garlaine Kelly is the auction chair.

Ayton and Giles also co-chaired the 2019 gala and had planned the 2020 event before COVID-19 forced YTA to change course. Returning to the role of co-chair in 2022 was an easy decision, Giles said.

“I wanted to stay on the team,” Giles said. “It’s so enjoyable, and YTA is such a worthwhile organization. It provides a unique opportunity for young artists to showcase their talent and to compete.”

Attending YTA’s gala and finalists’ concert is always an uplifting experience, Ayton added.

“It’s a little-known opportunity to experience the talent of today’s youth,” she said. “We’re very fortunate to hold these events in Conroe.”

Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue will begin at 5 p.m. with a short reception in YTA’s Grand Tented Pavilion on Main Street, directly in front of Crighton Theatre at 234 N. Main St.

During the celebration, attendees can enjoy a sumptuous Texas barbecue dinner with all of the trimmings and dance to Texas music by Bill Mock & His Highway 105 Band, a longtime favorite at YTA’s galas.

Auctioneer Lady Lyn Howard and Master of Ceremonies Craig Stephan will present the live auction. Guests will have opportunities to bid on several trips, including a four-night stay at a five-bedroom, four-bath Kentucky farmhouse. The house is near the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail, along with several distilleries and wineries, a golf course and horse racing.

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 panel of distinguished judges.

Serving as 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.

After the winners are named and the concert concludes, gala attendees are invited to return to the Grand Pavilion for YTA’s Afterparty featuring more live Texas music, dancing, drinks and a dessert buffet. Guests can meet the competition winners and toast them with champagne. Sponsoring the Afterparty is the Conroe Service League.

Tickets to Bach, Beethoven & Barbecue, which include the Finalists’ Concert & Awards and the Young Texas Artists Fine Arts Weekend, are available at

Any of the weekend events can be attended separately as well, including the Finalists’ Concert & Awards, where admission will be $30 for adults and $16 for students.

The Young Texas Artists Fine Arts Weekend takes place before and after Saturday’s big events. It will open with the YTA Fine Art Show at 1 p.m. Friday, March 11. Guests can participate in Audience Choice Award voting and enjoy free wine, beer and lite bites.

The Contemporary Dance Showcase, also with Audience Choice Award voting, will begin at 2 p.m.

The art show and dance showcase will take place at Conroe venue, 202 Main St. (the venue’s name and address are the same). For those attending these events only, $15 includes admission to both.

YTA’s finale to the Fine Arts Weekend will be the Young Texas Poets Showcase at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 13, at the Red Brick Tavern, 119 Simonton St. The program will feature free wine, beer and “redneck hors d’oeuvres.” For those attending the poets showcase only, admission is $15.

The Fine Arts Weekend is being organized by:

  • LuAnne Carter, director of the Contemporary Dance Showcase;
  • Dede Fox, director of the Young Texas Poets Showcase; and
  • Joseph Staley, curator of the Fine Art Invitational Show.

Gala proceeds are a major source of funding for the Young Texas Artists Music Competition, an Official Music Contest of the State of Texas, which provides performance, growth and career development opportunities for classical artists ages 18-30 (ages 20-32 for Voice) who are Texas residents or affiliated with a Texas music school.

“We’re very committed to our mission, which is to encourage excellence in our young Texas artists and to inspire their audiences,” Pokorski said. “This is our 37th Young Texas Artists Music Competition. We have been very lucky. Our volunteers and donors have been so invested in our mission, and so have the professionals we’ve been fortunate enough to work with, including Artistic Director Emelyne Bingham and our judges. There’s something about this mission that really speaks to people; it resonates with them.”

Young Texas Artists’ major sponsors this year include the City of Conroe, Carol and Dr. Douglas Aycock, Annette and Ken Hallock, Lana and Bill Hazlett and two 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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