A Different Kind of New Year’s Resolution

JasminaWellinghoffBy Jasmina Wellinghoff

Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions, which are easy to make and even easier to break. According to Time magazine, the 10 most common promises people make to themselves are to lose weight, quit smoking, learn something new, get out of debt, eat healthier, spend more time with family, travel to new places, be less stressed, volunteer and drink less.

All sound good, but you and I already know that most of them will never be implemented, beyond perhaps a few weeks at best. To change a habit is a time-consuming endeavor, requiring discipline and persistence. Research shows that simply getting used to drinking more water, for instance, takes at least three weeks of mindful monitoring of one’s behavior. Change is not easy.

I am as guilty as anyone. Last year, I resolved to write a poem a week throughout 2015. I have always loved poetry and have been writing it on and off since I was a child. It seemed like a reasonable proposition. Well, I have written exactly one new poem since last January. Clearly, my good intentions quickly evaporated amongst the demands of daily life.

So why am I writing this? Because I want to suggest a New Year’s resolution that’s easy to keep, and it’s fun, too. How about committing to attend one — just one — San Antonio-made arts event every month this year? This city has at least 10 theater companies, several dance groups, several chamber music ensembles, a symphony and many galleries, performance groups, literary readings, etc. The choice is vast and ticket prices affordable.

The emphasis here is on “made in San Antonio,” as opposed to touring and visiting acts. Nothing wrong about enjoying national stars or traveling shows, but if we do not support our own, we’ll be all the poorer for it. I have met San Antonians who regularly attend touring Broadway shows at the Majestic yet are totally unaware of local theater.

Where to start? Reading the press, including this magazine, helps you stay informed. Another source may be the city’s Department of Culture and Creative Development that lists both organizations and events, though the lists are not comprehensive: www.getcreativesanantonio.com. Theater listings can be found at www.satheatre.com/playbill, and for a range of events, including literary and musical ones, you can also go to www.saevents.com. Individual organizations have their own websites, of course.

And here are some of my suggestions for January and February, all featuring San Antonio artists. The San Antonio Symphony, which is probably the one arts organization that everyone is familiar with, will present its sixth winter festival focusing on the music of the Americas — North, South and Central — spotlighting a range of composers, from Gershwin and Copland to Piazzolla, Arturo Marquez and Daniel Catan. One of the concerts, American Cello, will feature a newly commissioned cello concerto by contemporary composer Jeffrey Mumford.

Also participating in the fest is San Antonio’s most original art music group, the SOLI Chamber Ensemble, which plays exclusively new music. Scheduled for Jan. 25-26, their concert, Postcards from Las Americas, will take you on a musical tour through Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Uruguay, Mexico and the U.S. If you want to stretch your musical tastes, it’s definitely worth your time (www.solichamberensemble.com). A number of other groups are planning special programs as well, so this is a great time to soak up a lot of great music — orchestral, chamber and vocal (www.sasymphony.org).

And for music of a different kind, check out the many local and regional artists who will be performing, along with national stars, at the Stock Show & Rodeo in February. The full lineup was not available at the time of this writing, but we were assured that there would be quite a few. One of them is profiled in this issue’s ArtBeat column. See you at the concert(s)!