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Shown is the new stage under construction at Texas Frontier Trails Western Heritage Park on North Oak Avenue. The stage is planned to be ready in time for a Sept. 20 performance of "Buffalo Altar: A Texas Symphony" starring famed actor Barry Corbin.

David May/Index
Mineral Wells Index

By DAVID MAY

Texas Frontier Trails is, well, once again on the trail.

After a three-year hiatus since its last major performance at Pollard Park, a new, permanent stage is under construction near the front of the North Oak Avenue location. TFT board members are planning to christen it in September with the return of Barry Corbin, who performed in 2010 at the Texas Frontier Trails Western Heritage Park site.

TFT board members on Monday showed off the new stage, built on about a 3-foot tall concrete platform measuring 30-by-40 feet with I-beam construction. Cowpokes Architects designed the stage.

"We feel like this is going to be our main event area," said TFT President Pat Bazzell.

"We took the skin off our older building, saved it, and it will be the store front," said TFT board member Allan Smith, adding that cedar post and the structure's remaining skin will be done at a later time that will give the stage a rustic, Old West feel.

Bazzell said the board is still moving toward a goal of having an outdoor theater for regular performances. She said this stage could also be used for other community performances, concerts and gatherings.

"We are trying to keep that vision," she said. "It's not quite the amphitheater we had envisioned. We are taking baby steps."

Bazzell said TFT plans to have the stage and seating area ready in time for a Sept. 20, one-night performance of "Buffalo Altar: A Texas Symphony."

"It should be quite entertaining, certainly different from anything we have done," Bazzell said.

The performance is a collaboration between composer J. Todd Frazier and writer Stephen Harrigan that was commissioned by The Institute of American Music at The Eastman School of Music and The University of Texas at Austin.

In it, the 73-year-old Corbin plays the role of an 81-year-old Texas oilman telling the story of the discovery of bison bones at Caprock Canyons State Park, near Canyon, indicating the existence of civilized life in Texas more than 10,000 years ago.

With more than 100 film, television and video game credits, Texas-born Corbin is known more popularly for his roles in the movie "Urban Cowboy" and television series "Northern Exposure." He performed a one-man show at Western Heritage Park in 2010 called "Charlie Goodnight's Last Night."

Last week, he was inducted with three others into the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum’s Hall of Fame in Fort Worth.

In 2011, Trudy Fair performed Andy Wilkinson's "A Way in the West: Women of the American Frontier." TFT and the park hosted the Goodnight Round-Up in 2012 that featured chuck wagon and dutch cooking competitions and music, and last year it was the venue for Ranch Heritage Day & First Annual Street Dance, a day of live music.

Bazzell said tickets for "Buffalo Altar: A Texas Symphony" should go on sale within the next several weeks. For more information about Texas Frontier Trails, go to www.texasfrontiertrails.org.

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