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Places to Go The Pavilion provides quality entertainment, educational programs

August 10, 2018

Serving as both a concert venue and easily accessible location for performing arts, The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion provides a variety of music options and educational programs to the local community.

With room for 16,000 spectators, The Pavilion is one of the largest concert venues in the Houston area. The amphitheater has a seating capacity for 6,000 beneath the canopy and an additional 10,000 on the lawn. Among the annual lineup of events are the Star-Spangled Salute to recognize Independence Day, Children’s Festival to educate students and Holly Jolly Jingle to celebrate Christmas.

Ashley Gravois, public relations and educational outreach manager for The Pavilion, noted that the venue hosts anywhere from 50 to 60 concerts and approximately 10 performing arts shows that feature the Houston Symphony each March through December. The first two months of the year are used to plan the educational programs and secure well known artists from various genres such as Imagine Dragons, Kenny Chesney, Wiz Khalifa and others.

“We use that down time (in January and February) to focus on planning out our concert season, coming up with ideas for our educational arts programs,” Gravois said. “We work really closely with Live Nation. They help us come up with who’s touring and who would really fit in this market as well as the diversity that we try to offer. We try to offer anything from rock to classical to country to those in our community.”

Built in 1990, The Pavilion fulfilled the dream of George P. Mitchell, founder of The Woodlands, and his wife Cynthia Woods Mitchell, for whom the venue is named, to establish a first-class performing arts facility in The Woodlands.

“We have a very unique model. It’s also a nonprofit so we’re able to offer the contemporary shows and we’re able to reach a whole new audience and introduce them to artists and music they might not see at other venues,” Gravois explained. “One day they can come to a contemporary show and the next a symphony performance and it’s a different type of feel.”

As a nonprofit, The Pavilion also hosts numerous educational outreach programs for the community. Events include Chamberfest, a week long music festival to help string instrument students develop their craft; Music in Motion, a set of classes designed for student musicians to receive personal instruction from professional musicians; Musical Scores, an incentive program that allows students to attend a concert and receive a free meal for good behavior at school; and other programming. Gravois added that the Fine Arts Education Day introduces students in the area to different instruments and classical music.

“The purpose of The Pavilion and our mission is to introduce new audiences to the arts. A lot of research has shown that early education in the arts can have a large impact on students,” Gravois said. “We help children in our community create that appreciation for the arts.”

The Pavilion also boasts a 21,000-square-feet event center that is open throughout the concert season and available to rent for special events. In the winter, the center transforms into an ice rink in partnership with The Woodlands Township.

“The purpose is to have another dynamic space to offer amenities to the community,” Gravois said. “We use it throughout our concert season — The Pavilion lounge is located in there. People who are coming to the concert can go into the air condition and cool off and enjoy a drink before the concert starts.”

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