Ms. Harper began work in 1961 to ensure the success of “Texas” through her tireless hours as a publicist, fundraiser and sometimes head cheerleader for the production. The story of “Texas” has been presented to millions, including guests from over 80 foreign countries. “Texas” is the nation’s largest outdoor musical drama. People from all over the world enjoy its color, music and panoramic beauty each year.Ms. Harper used the momentum from “Texas” to propel her into other areas where her energy, enthusiasm and wisdom are needed. She was co-founder of the Lone Star Ballet, a nationally recognized company that has nurtured some of the brightest stars in the ballet world.When Ms. Harper first conceived “Texas,” tourism was becoming an important source of income for the state, and she made sure her production would be an asset. Based on figures compiled by the Institute of Outdoor Drama, 19,206 “Texas” visitors left over $10 million in Texas in 1988! The Bureau of Business Research at the University of Texas at Austin estimates this money is turned over four to 11 times, so even with a conservative estimate of seven times, “Texas” was responsible for over $75 million spent in Texas in 1988 alone.Because of Ms. Harper’s efforts, the young men and women starring in “Texas” have the opportunity to learn more about Texas history, and earn both money and college credits as they gain first-hand experience for a future career in music, dance, drama or the technical side of theater. Auditions in Lubbock, Canyon, Austin and Dallas provide about 140 people each year with this unforgettable experience.Margaret Harper of Canyon captured the true spirit of a Texas pioneer. In establishing the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation, she created the vehicle to sponsor Pulitzer Prize winning author Paul Green’s musical tribute to Texas, appropriately entitled “Texas,” which opened in 1966.As a writer, Ms. Harper made a national impact with her musical dictionary for children and The “Texas” Experience, which is invaluable for new profit ventures. She was named Amarillo’s Citizen of the Year and served as president of the American Association of University Women.
Ms. Harper was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. She was Citizen of the Year in both Canyon and Amarillo, and she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Division of the American Association of University Women.
The driver of the pickup, Margaret Marie Harper, 38, of Brownwood, was arrested on a charge of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and three charges of intoxication assault with a vehicle, police and Brown County Jail records state.The Brownwood Police Department Criminal Investigations Division continues the investigation and is being assisted by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Brown County District Attorney’s Office. We ask for your patience and understanding during this time and that you keep the family in your prayers.Recorded for the American Guild of Organists virtual Pipe Organ Encounter, 2021 on Bedient Pipe Organ Company’s Op. 21 at the University of North Texas (Denton, TX)
We need your support because we are a non-profit that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.In addition to her work with Texas, Mrs. Harper was a member of the team that founded the Lone Star Ballet, and served as its first president. She lectured across the country on a variety of arts-management topics and was the vice president of the Texas Tourist Council. Her many honors include induction into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and the Texas Hall of Fame for Women. She was Citizen of the Year in both Canyon and Amarillo, and she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Division of the American Association of University Women. She was a member of Alpha Phi, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Beta Kappa, and the Fine Arts Club of Canyon. She was also a member of the Presbyterian church in Canyon. The Harpers had two children. Margaret Harper died in an Amarillo hospital on November 16, 1991, and was buried in Dreamland Cemetery in Canyon.Amarillo Sunday News–Globe, November 17, 1991. Canyon News, November 21, 1991. Duane F. Guy, “An Amphitheater for the Panhandle,” Panhandle–Plains Historical Review 51 (1978). Paul Green’s “Texas”: A Musical Romance of Panhandle History (25th Anniversary Souvenir Program, Palo Duro Canyon State Park, 1990). Carroll Wilson, “`Texas’ and the Woman Behind It,” Accent West, June 1980.