Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio has classical music in her blood. The one-time concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony descends from a line of concert pianists and symphony violists, and her sister Sara plays the cello in the award-winning ensemble Eroica Trio. One summer evening in 1996, Stephanie was feeling deprived during the symphony's seasonal hiatus when inspiration struck: why not found a new festival all her own? Going strong 17 years later, the Cactus Pear Music Festival sprawls out with five concert programs scheduled in three cities over the course of two weeks.
Strings of multicolored lights twinkle above Mi Casa Tamales' three spacious acres, which are home to an intimate dining room, a cantina, a breezy, tree-shaded patio, and a kid-friendly play area. Known for their Texas-sized tamales that weigh more than 3 pounds per dozen, Mi Casa's chefs ably combine Texan and Mexican cuisines into appetizing dishes accented with house-made sauces including avocado salsa, cowboy stew, and tomatillo sauce. Music floats on the air during warm summer nights, serenading diners with guitars, piano, and tacos thumped rhythmically on drumheads.
ComedySportz’s troupe of all-star laughletes is considered to be not only comedic, but also to have good sportsmanship, since there’s no swearing allowed, the subject matter is suited for all ages, and the show is monitored by a referee who calls offense fouls and hides unfunny heads in a shameful brown bag. Take a friend, relative, significant other, or the relative of a friend’s significant other to see two teams of expert improvisers fight for laughs through an average of 7– 12 scenes, games, and songs based on audience suggestions. At the end, the crowd votes to decide which team wins the honor of dumping life-size cardboard cutouts of the other team into an active volcano.
Each of San Antonio Music Academy's professionally trained instructors have the formal education and musical know-how to melodiously mold the minds of their students during one-on-one music lessons. Dulcet disciples can clean out their pipes with voice lessons, get plucky with the guitar, or make the saloon swoon by studying piano. Lessons on orchestra are also included for those that want to sharpen their chops on the violin. Students must supply their own instruments during instruction, but everyone can choose the type of style they want to master, giving students free reign to get schooled in jazz, blues, rock, country, or Gregorian polka chanting. Each lesson at San Antonio Music Academy lasts 30-minutes, and three recitals are held every year to showcase the students' talent.
Since 1908, Anhalt Dance Hall has drawn crowds to two-step and do-si-do to traditional Texas tunes on a sprawling wooden dance floor. In December, the club will host Rocky King & Dance Hall Cowboys, who follow in the bootsteps of such Texas greats as Ray Price and Western swing forefather Bob Wills. The energetic strains of twin fiddles and steel guitar lure audiences to twirl around the 103-year-old dance floor, showcasing their shuffle-step and triple axel. Dancers can refuel with BYO snacks or stop by the bar for a cold beer or wine cooler (not included).