Using characters and costumes that represent everything from diverse worlds to the discernible influences of East Texas culture, volunteers and participants always attempt to top the previous year’s visually dazzling Queen’s Coronation.
The Queen’s Coronation is the formal presentation of Rose Queen Rachel Clyde and members of her royal court. The lavish show will culminate with Texas Rose Festival President Randy Grooms officially proclaiming Miss Clyde, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Clyde, of Tyler, queen of the festival.
Taking a place of honor in the court is Duchess of the Rose Growers Taylor Brooke Carroll, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Tim Carroll.
Preston Smith is serving as Texas Rose Festival executive vice president of the Coronation.
There will be two shows, at 2 and 7 p.m., on Oct. 18 at the Cowan Center on the campus of The University of Texas at Tyler, 3900 University Blvd. Tickets can be purchased at the Cowan Center box office, open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. The box office phone number is 903-566-7424. Tickets also can be ordered online at www.texasrosefestival.com .
The theme is borrowed from an iconic song from the musical “The Sound of Music.” Coronation Co-Chairs Cynthia Riter and Katherine Reynolds are eager for the Oct. 18 showing of “Raindrops on Roses and Other Favorite Things.”
They say the theme sparks a production bursting with fun surprises.
“It’s never been used before and it had so many tie-ins from ‘The Sound of Music,’” Ms. Riter said.
Hints of the musical are evident with characters representing specific lyrics of the song such as “snowflakes on eyelashes” and “whiskers on kittens.” In addition, the Tyler Junior College Apache Belles will perform to “Do-Re-Mi” and “The Lonely Goatherd,” also from the musical.
The court also will give the audience glimpses of beloved places and items not distinctive to the song. This includes favorite diversions, flowers, wonders, places, memories, creatures, indulgences and events.
Guests will see the ladies’ don costumes designed to resemble a fuzzy caterpillar, a planetarium, a teapot and more. There is even a depiction of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel on a gown.
“It will be upbeat and enjoyable and I think they will leave there feeling really good,” Ms. Reynolds said.
Ms. Riter added, “I think it will be something for adults and children … that everyone can relate to.”
And this year, the ladies-in-waiting will not have a uniformed look.
“It used to be that the ladies-in-waiting had maybe a colored sash or basically the same dress done in different ways,” Ms. Reynolds said “We’ve got all of the girls in costume this year. It makes for a beautiful coronation.”
SET AND COSTUMES
The co-chairs describe the set as “whimsical,” which, along with special effects, will stimulate the senses.
“The set is kind of a magical Bavarian castle,” Ms. Riter said. “There will be several set changes during the performance and these little birds are going to be flying in and out.”
This is the 80th anniversary of the Texas Rose Festival. Organizers will also commemorate the event’s longtime relationship with costume and set designer, Winn Morton of Dallas. He has created designs for the festival for 30 years as well as costumes for television and stage productions.
“He’s the genius behind everything,” Ms. Reynolds said.
The co-chairs said they are bringing back a full, live orchestra, which had been absent from the coronation for a few years. The audience will also see a return of an extended stage, where they will see characters and their costumes come alive up close.
It takes a year to arrange details that culminate with the coronation. On stage will be 26 duchesses, 14 ladies-in-waiting, the duchess of the rose growers and queen, of whom will have escorts. The queen also will have six young attendants.
This year, more than 50 professionals and 100-plus people volunteered for the popular event.
Beginning as soon as this coronation ends, thousands of hours of planning and brainstorming will go into next year’s coronation.