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story.lead_photo.caption The Muses, a performing troupe headquartered in Hot Springs, Ark., brought classic opera and musical numbers to an appreciative Texarkana audience Saturday as Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council resumed its 2020 performance schedule. Photo by Junius Stone / Texarkana Gazette.

TEXARKANA — TRAHC, the local arts council, was back doing what it does best Saturday— elevating the classical performing arts.

"This is our first show since March, said Brian Goesl, Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council executive director. "COVID threw off our season this year. We've just reached the point where we can resume shows. COVID numbers have come down in Bowie County and statewide. So, following protocols, we can now put on performances for the community."

The performing arts company Muses, out of Hot Springs, Arkansas, brought their "Opera Classics Plus" show to Cabe Hall at the Texarkana Regional Arts Center downtown. Reciting a series of recognizable tunes from famous operas and musicals, the performance signaled that TRAHC had returned.

Headquartered in a refurbished church in downtown Hot Springs, the Muses troupe, 13 years old, is an ensemble of 10 artists who are a combination of performers from all over the U.S. as well as youth talent learning under the tutelage of their more-experienced peers. Davidson is one of a staff of two who directs the troupe.

The Muses' show at Cabe Hall was the kickoff for the continued 2020 season, but it is just the beginning.

"Our Halloween movies are next, Oct. 24 in the Perot theater," Goesl said. "After that, our eagerly anticipated Pink Floyd laser show, originally scheduled much earlier this year, is back on for Saturday, Nov. 21. The Perot Theater normally seats 1,400, but under current COVID restrictions, will be limited to 700, with social distancing in effect. The show will feature modern laser and computer effects and should be amazing."

For December, TRAHC has the Holiday Arts Market and Perot Theater Holiday Traditions. And in the spring, a touring act, Potted Potter, will be coming.

"Right now, touring shows are just shut down," Goesl said. "But since Potted Potter is just a two-man show, that is one of the exceptions to the rule."

He added that Texarkana Symphony Orchestra also has performances coming to the Perot.

"In November, they are performing Happy Birthday, Ludwig. And in December, they have their Christmas performance."

TRAHC's schedule is back on, but Goesl said things can change.

"We are anxious. We don't know what is going to happen," he said. "Our schedule is set, but COVID could raise its ugly head once again. Our contracts now take that into account. But we are moving ahead and thrilled to be bringing this art to Texarkana, starting with the Muses."

Goesl said resuming the season is not only a joy, but a relief.

"This shut down has been hard on the arts community as well as the nonprofit community," he said. "They all suffered through this and weathered the storm. But people noticed we were shut down and reached out to express support and concern."

The office constantly got calls, with people asking when performances would start again. As a major source of art and performances in this community, there were concerns.

"We have had to scale back our budget, events and programs, Goesl said. "But now, we have our new schedule going and a range of activities for the community and our schools, both live and virtual. Just in time for the holidays."

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