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Margaret Harper Texas

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 was identified as 38-year-old Margaret Marie Harper of Brownwood. Harper was interviewed and subsequently arrested. Harper was charged with intoxicated manslaughter with vehicle, three counts of Intoxicated assault w/vehicle and driving with an invalid license.
A woman was killed and another woman and two children were injured in an alleged intoxicated driving accident Sunday night in south Brownwood when a pickup left the road, entered a yard and struck several people who were unloading furniture from a trailer, police said.Upon arrival, officers were directed to the front yard of 2401 Southside where several injured people were located. It appeared that, for unknown reasons, a 2006 Ford F150 pickup left the roadway and traveled into the front yard of this residence, traveling between a parked pickup with an attached trailer and the residence. On Sunday, at approximately 7:30 p.m., members of the Brownwood Police Department, Brownwood Fire Department and Lifeguard EMS responded to the 2400 block of Southside Drive regarding a report of a traffic accident involving pedestrians.The Texas Department of Public Safety also assisted the police department in this investigation. Occupants and friends of 2401 Southside were in this area unloading furniture from the trailer. The pickup struck several of these individuals as it traveled through the yard before coming to a stop.

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.

Life saving measures were begun and an adult female was care flighted to John Peter Smith Hospital for urgent care. Additionally, a 5-year-old juvenile was care flighted to Cooks Children’s Hospital and an 8-year-old juvenile was transported to Brownwood Regional Medical Center. Twenty-Eight-year-old Kimberly Renee Allen of Brownwood was pronounced deceased at the scene.
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)

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Margaret Pease Harper, founder of the outdoor musical drama Texas, was born at St. Paul, Minnesota, on July 22, 1911. She was the daughter of Rollin and Lena Alma (Mason) Pease. Margaret’s father was a famed oratorio singer who performed in numerous historical pageants. She grew up in Evanston, Illinois, and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and her master’s degree from the University of Chicago. Her professional experience included teaching, traveling as her father’s accompanist, direction of activities at International House at the University of Chicago, and administration of the Colegio América in Callao, Peru.
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.

She also grew to love the Panhandle and recognized Palo Duro Canyon’s potential as a site for an outdoor musical production. After discussing the idea with her husband and William and Margaret Moore, and partly influenced by Allen Rankin’s “His Theater is as Big as All Outdoors,” which appeared in the July 1960 issue of the Reader’s Digest, she wrote to the Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Paul Green and suggested that the geography and history of the Panhandle of Texas provided the ideal setting for a symphonic drama. Green immediately indicated his willingness to meet and discuss the project. Margaret Harper captured enough people’s imagination with her enthusiasm to make the theater and production a reality. She was elected the first president of the Texas Panhandle Heritage Foundation, which sustains the production Texas, and served as the public-relations director for the show from 1961 until 1985. Between its opening performance in July 1966 and its twenty-fifth season in 1991, Texas was attended by more than two million people.
We are a community-supported, non-profit organization and we humbly ask for your support because the careful and accurate recording of our history has never been more important. Every dollar helps.