The Silver Spur Theater and the Public Arts League of Salado (PALS) are co-sponsoring a musical extravaganza,“Salado Sings for Sirena,”at 7:30pm, Sat. Dec. 29, to benefit restoration of the village’s popular and once-prominent mermaid, Sirena. The Troy Kelley sculpture was damaged during the September 2010 flood of Salado Creek. (saladosilverspur.com)
“Singers and musicians from Salado and the Central Texas area have joined to perform for this worthy cause,” said Gary Askins, Executive Producer and Director of the show. “It promises to be one of the most fun evenings of the year.
“New Jersey and New York may have the Rolling Stones, The Who, Springsteen and McCartney to perform for Hurricane Sandy relief,” said Askins, a retired educator and active playwright and actor. “But we’ve got our own stars of song and stage, and they are prepared to give the ‘Friends of Sirena’ one of the most memorable evenings ever brought to our citizens and visitors.” (salado.com)
Rick Thomssen will be master of ceremonies for a stellar cast that includes such local luminaries as Richard Paul Thomas, Josh LaBove, Barton Grigsby, Nelda Milligan, Melodee Lenz, Beth Correa, Tony Blackman, Ben Milligan, Denise Thomssen, Grainger Esch and a very special guest appearance by “The Salado Creek Bottom Boys.”
The music selections range from classical, folk and country western to rockabilly and just some great individual instrumental and vocal performances,” Askins emphasized. “This will be the last show at the Silver Spur Theater in 2012 and promises to be an entertaining way to end the year: New Year’s eve-eve-eve at its best.”
Tickets for “Salado Sings for Sirena” are $20 per person. Snacks will be available for the entire audience, as well as adult refreshments. The Silver Spur Theater is located at 108 Royal Street. For more information or to make reservations call 254-947-3456. Reservations are strongly recommended for the 150-seat venue.
Salado and its citizens take sculpture seriously, having opened the Salado Sculpture Garden in October 2011. The garden, a vision of PALS and Keep Salado Beautiful, features gentle walkways and convenient seating for accessibility to diverse works by a broad range of sculptors living and working locally and regionally. The art also is for sale. (publicartsleagueofsalado.org)
Popular Maiden . . . Local Legend
Nationally known sculptor Troy Kelley of Salado, inspired by a story of an Indian maiden that his grandmother told him, created “Sirena and the Magical Catfish” in 1985. In 1986, he dedicated it to the village, an historic stagecoach stop now bisected by Interstate 35, but immensely popular with artists. (troysculptor.com/Troy/Home.html)
Visitors enjoy picture taking, wading and cavorting in the Pace Park springs that join Salado Creek, where the bewitching bronze siren sits, melancholy, in the waters fed by her own tears. During the devastating flood, Sirena was swept downstream and suffered serious damage. She has been placed back on her rock base but is in need of additional,significant repair and restoration.
The statue, listed in the Smithsonian Inventory (SIRIS) IAS TX000479 (visit link), is about 3 ft.-5 in. high and 2 ft.-5 in. wide, not including the base. Kelley, who has studied in Europe and various U.S. art schools, creates monuments, portrait busts and special commissions sought by prominent collectors across America.
Sirena’s story is a sad tale, however.
During an age of enchantment, an Indian maiden yearned mightily for the love of one special brave. He would not return her affection, so the maiden lamented her unrequited love, combing her long hair and looking at her reflection in the creek.
One afternoon a magical and curious catfish surfaced to inquire her sadness, which Sirena tearfully shared. With whiskers twitching with anticipation, the old catfish promised to cast a love spell on the warrior if the maiden would agree to become a mermaid one night a month during the full moon for one year.
"For the love of your warrior, you must agree to share your love with me,” said the wily catfish. “But, if at any time, human eyes ever see you in mermaid form, you will remain a mermaid forever."
The lovesick maiden eagerly agreed, the spell was cast and the brave and and maiden were wed. She was true to her word, slipping away each full moon to transform into the mermaid Sirena to share her love with the old catfish. On the year’s last full moon, she sat upon a rock to remove a fish hook snagged in her fin.
Her husband finding her missing and knowing her love for the magical creek, crept down to the water, where she struggled to remove the painful fish hook. Their eyes met in the moonlight and he called her name "Sirena." At that moment, the old catfish pulled her back into the deep cold water to remain a mermaid forever.
“It was a love given and a love lost,” Askins said. “And while the legend has a sad ending, PALS, the Silver Spur and a great group of entertainers will be working hard to write a happy ending to Sirena’s return to our community.”