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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Jamming out for 150 years

Photo by Michaela Rush

To commemorate 150 years of cityhood, the city of Bryan will host a variety of events throughout 2021, including a free concert with local bands on Nov. 12 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Celebrating their sesquicentennial anniversary of incorporation, the city of Bryan is keeping the party going by hosting a variety of local talent and free events for community members.
As a part of the year-long celebration, the Palace Theater will be hosting a free concert on Nov. 12 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m, featuring the Bryan Independent School District, or Bryan ISD, Los Vikings Mariachi Band, Kane Alvarado and Midnight Express
Matthew LeBlanc, Bryan ISD executive director of communications and public affairs, said the school district has collaborated closely with the city of Bryan and Destination Bryan to put on the 2021 celebration. 
“The city of Bryan has been working with Bryan ISD since they first started planning for this celebration, and there have been a few events now that the city’s done celebrating the 150th anniversary,” LeBlanc said. “It seemed natural [for us] to be included because Bryan schools have been around since 1880. For much of the 150 years that the city of Bryan has been around, Bryan schools have played a very important role.” 
LeBlanc said he is most excited for students to have the opportunity to showcase their talents, which play an important role within the community.
“I think it means a lot to them because it helps them understand the role that they’re playing today, and not just the present, but also the future and also part of the history of the city of Bryan,” LeBlanc said. “It’s very special for our students to be involved, and it means a lot to them because it helps tie them into their community and understand that it’s more than just going to school. They are part of this much larger, diverse, wonderful community.”
One of the professional groups coming to the stage is local favorite Midnight Express, a cover band dedicated to reviving the psychedelic scene, and ‘70s and ‘80s dance music. Heath Allyn, Midnight Express vocalist and guitarist, said because of his Bryan-College Station roots, he is looking forward to celebrating alongside the city. 
“I love playing gigs like this, I remember when we played the Reds Festival in Downtown Bryan and it’s just always a great turnout,” Allyn said. “For the Palace Theater, in particular, I have a really interesting history there because I grew up doing community theater in Bryan-College Station with Stage Center. We were there for a while doing shows when the Palace Theatre still had a roof on it.”
Keyboardist and rehearsal leader Karl Rehn said he is excited to continue his passion of supporting local musicians at this concert as well as to perform alongside young talent.
“In terms of Texas, in terms of the strength and number of venues and support for live music and the people that come out and everything … we’re all about trying to keep that going,” Rehn said. “Downtown Bryan is such a great revitalized area, and we’ve played the Queen Theater, Texas Hall of Fame back when it was open and we’ve played the Grand Stafford.”  
In addition to the Friday night concert, the city is hosting a community Thanksgiving dinner, which LeBlanc said will continue to highlight student musicians. 
“We also have the Bryan High School Band performing on Saturday at their community meal celebrating the 150th [anniversary],” LeBlanc said. “It ties in all of these wonderful cultures that make up Bryan today and have been part of the history of Bryan since its founding.” 
LeBlanc said this event is really special, as it highlights the often under-appreciated diversity of the Bryan community.
“It really means a lot to them and it helps give them an even greater perspective of who they are … and why who they are is important [to] where they live,” LeBlanc said. “The diversity that we have in our community, that really is one of Bryan’s greatest strengths … and that’s one of our school district’s greatest strengths.”

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