The Texas Music Office’s list of certified “Music Friendly Cities” doesn’t hold many big surprises. Austin and surrounding Hill Country towns long-renowned for music are on the list, as well as big cities like San Antonio and Fort Worth.
Dallas is still working on getting certified. So is Houston.
But one small Southeast Texas town beat them to the punch – Vidor.
“I think that’s great,” said Chip Adams, Community Relations and Outreach Specialist with the Texas Music Office, which created the program.
“What I love about when cities like Vidor do this is that it spurs other cities to move ahead,” he said, noting that the mayor of Dallas congratulated the city on Twitter. “Hopefully Vidor is the seed planted to get more cities in this community to join,” said Adams, who received a message from the City of Beaumont while driving to Vidor to present Mayor Misty Songe with their official Music Friendly Community certification. He expects a call from Port Arthur, home of Janis Joplin and more, to come soon.
Becoming certified isn’t an easy process.
“We ask a lot. There are a lot of steps involved “ to make the list, Adams said.
There are community music workshops to be held, music directories to be created, shows of support for community music programs. The work continues after becoming certified, as well, Adams noted.
After an initial slowdown in the process due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vidor managed to complete the requirements in “just a handful of months, whereas it takes some cities one, two years to get certified,” he told the crowd.
“Some cities get through more efficiently than others,” Adams explained, and he credited city manager Robbie Hood with Vidor’s quick achievement.
“Robbie understood the importance and got the work done. Sometimes you just need the right person,” he said.
Before the presentation ceremony, Adams got to meet Hood and other city officials in person. And they showed him why Vidor is rich with musical history and talent.
Songe gave him a tour of the “Walk of Fame” inside City Hall, where photographs of local talent nearly fill a long hallway.
“The musical history in this town is remarkable,” Adams said during the ceremony.
City councilman Gary Herrera thanked Adams and the state for the opportunity to join the program.
“We definitely appreciate the State of Texas for helping us move forward and to have this opportunity,” Herrera said, adding, “This is a great way for us to showcase what we have and the economic and development opportunities that comes with it.”
As the 26th city to join the state’s music friendly list, also is expected to be part of moving the entire state forward in the music world.
“To get Texas on a global musical stage, it helps for cities to work together, build that community and help support one another,” Adams said.
Following Adams’ presentation, Mayor Songe also received recognition from area leaders. Representatives from State Rep. Dade Phelan and U.S. Rep. Bruce Babin’s offices presented her with flags flown over the Texas and U.S. capitols.
Then the event got back to celebrating what lies at the heart of the city’s achievement – music.
Local talent, including David Varnado, Joe Benoit and Donice Morace took to the stage, playing for the crowd gathered outside, showing them and Adams just why Vidor has always been a music friendly city.
“Getting to all these communities is one of the best parts of this gig,” Adams, a first-time visitor, said, as he gathered with the crowd.
For Herrera, Tuesday’s recognition goes beyond “recognizing the multitude of talent in this area.” It also gives the community a chance at “starting a new Vidor history – something that’s positive and moving forward.”
Written by Kim Brent