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Tyler, Texas, grows musicians as well as roses

Courtesy Tyler CVB

TYLER, Texas — Tyler has gained a national reputation for its homegrown roses, and the east Texas city is now becoming known for cultivating musical talent as well.

“Tyler is also home to multiple entertainment venues,” said Kim Morris, marketing and communications specialist with the Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Some of these venues offer local talent an opportunity to shoot for the stars and a chance to be noticed and take that next step. East Texas is home to masses of aspiring talented artists who cannot wait for their moment to shine, such as fellow natives Miranda Lambert and Neal McCoy.”

One of those venues is Studio 333, a state-of-the-art digital recording facility at the KE Bushman Winery and Celebration Center 10 miles south of Tyler.

Last summer, Studio 333 created a pilot program, Stage Barons, to showcase local talent. The three-week competition, which was open to the public, featured original music and performances in country, Christian and open genres, with prizes and studio time given to the artists.

“Stage Barons was so widely accepted and supported that the owner of Kiepersol Enterprises, Pierre DeWiet, has decided to create an entire series dedicated to local talent and helping local singer/songwriters launch their careers through Studio 333,” said Morris. “Mr. DeWeit’s vision is to make Tyler the Nashville of Texas.”

Blake Hall, public relations director for Kiepersol Enterprises, said DeWiet, a strong music fan, has also begun Friday Night Mics, an open-mic series at the center that gives aspiring musicians of all genres an opportunity to display their talents in front of a live audience and representatives of artist management companies.

Each performer can do two songs, at least one of which has to be original. The shows are free to the public at the 800-seat center.

“He [DeWiet] thinks there is such incredible talent here, but musicians are going by the wayside and not getting a chance. He wants to change that,” said Hall.

Another Tyler entertainment venue is the Liberty Theatre, a historic 1930s downtown theater that was renovated and reopened last fall. One of its first ventures was a film festival for local videographers in October in conjunction with the Rose Festival.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.