Music, nature unite for “Symphony at Shangri La”

Published 9:35 am Saturday, October 17, 2015

Special to The Leader

ORANGE — The Lutcher Theater, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center and the Symphony of Southeast Texas (SOST) have joined together for an artistic collaboration of epic proportions. On Sunday, Oct. 18, at 5:30 p.m. they present “Symphony at Shangri La,” a festive evening of seasonal nature and magnificent music as the SOST performs a banquet of popular music amidst the picturesque autumn setting of Shangri La’s Great Lawn at sunset.

“This will be our first real blockbuster event here at Shangri La, and we are excited to combine the arts and nature in this entertaining way,” said Shangri La Director Rick Lewandowski. “To be able to showcase the beauty of our landscapes along with the alluring sounds of the orchestra’s music is a great opportunity for all of us, as well as a great way to introduce each of our audiences to something new.”

The concert is held in conjunction with the Scarecrow Festival at Shangri La, where dozens of hand-crafted scarecrows created by community organizations, businesses, schools, and families are displayed throughout the Gardens. Scarecrow designs range from funny, to clever, to wacky and weird and are created with repurposed and recyclable materials.

SOST Music Director Chelsea Tipton II has prepared a concert with melodies that will weave their way among the scarecrows, filling the evening air with tunes for everyone to enjoy. The orchestra will perform favorite selections from “West Side Story,” “Wizard of Oz,” and “Spiderman,” plus classics such as

“Moon River” and much more.

“We love to bring the orchestra out of the theater and into the community,” said Maestro Tipton, “and this is such a great setting for us to perform some fun and memorable music.”

Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating and ice chests to complete the picnic at sunset experience.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and can be purchased at or by calling the Lutcher Theater box office at (409) 886-5535.

Shangri La is located at 2111 West Park Avenue in Orange. The main Shangri La Visitors Parking area is located across West Park Avenue from the main vehicular and pedestrian gate entrances to Shangri La. There is also a restricted parking area located just inside the main gate of Shangri La at 2111 West Park Avenue for vehicles with proper handicap designation. Overflow parking is available at designated locations on 16th Street across from Shangri La’s event entrance.

For those attendees living in Beaumont, the SOST is offering a special bus transportation package, which includes round trip bus service to Shangri La from the Event Centre. Buses will leave the Event Centre parking lot at 4 p.m. and return at approximately 8 p.m. and will allow space for lawn chairs and coolers. Bus transportation is only available through SOST, and cost is $20 per seat. Call (409) 892-2257 for reservations. (Concert tickets must still be purchased from Lutcher Theater.)

“Symphony at Shangri La” is sponsored by INVISTA, the Edaren Foundation, Natalie and S. L. Greenberg, Granger Chevrolet, First Financial Trust and Asset Management, Freys Landscape, the City of Orange, and Texas Commission on the Arts; with additional support from Kroger and Walter and Susie Riedel.