Tours, Concert, and Reception

Dallas has much to offer in history, architecture, and entertainment. Our tour, concert and reception offerings allow MLA/MOUG members a great opportunity to see what Dallas has to offer! Please note that all tours will involve some walking, including getting to and from the tour site. Members who wish to arrange other transportation to and from the tours may do so using the "Transportation" contacts.


Wednesday Afternoon Walking Tours


Organ Crawl                                                                                                  Limit 30


Dallas boasts a number of significant instruments, including some within walking distance of the Fairmont.  We will visit three sites (four organs) for this year’s Organ Crawl:

            The magnificent Lay Family Organ at the Meyerson Symphony Center.  Tour led by DSO organist Mary Preston.


The historic instrument and carillon tower at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe.  Tour led by Brian D. Bentley, Director of Music Ministry, and Cathedral Organist Corey Candler.


Two very fine mechanical-action instruments at First Presbyterian Church.  Tour led by organist Thomas Froehlich.


12:15   Meet in hotel lobby

12:30   Meyerson (includes brief demonstration concert)

  1:45   Walk to Cathedral

  2:00   Cathedral

  3:00   Walk to First Presbyterian

  3:30   First Presbyterian

  4:30   Walk back to hotel



Dallas Arts District                                                                                        Limit 50


The product of thirty years of dreaming and building, the Dallas Arts District is the largest contiguous arts area in the nation, spanning 68 acres and 19 blocks.  It has been called the most significant arts building project since the construction of New York’s Lincoln Center


It was the intention of the district’s planners that the district would not only be a home for the arts, but would itself be a collection of art works.  The district comprises thirteen architecturally and historically significant buildings, making Dallas the only city in the world with buildings designed by four Pritzker Prize winning architects in one block.


Our tour will provide an insider’s view of three anchor buildings (including the two newest additions to the district) dedicated to music and theater: 

            Winspear Opera House, designed by Spencer de Grey of Foster & Partners, home of the Dallas Opera.  Tour led by Jennifer Schuder, Chief Marketing Officer/Director of Community Outreach.


            Wyly Theatre, designed by Rem Koolhaas.  Home of the Dallas Theater Center.  Tour led by a representative of the AT&T Performing Arts Center.


            Meyerson Symphony Center, designed by architect I.M. Pei and acoustician Russell Johnson. Home of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.  Tour led by Melanie Armstrong, Meyerson House Manager, and DSO Chief Librarian Karen Schnackenberg.


12:15   Meet in hotel lobby, walk to Meyerson

12:30   Meyerson (includes brief demonstration concert, orchestra library)

  2:00   Winspear and Wyly

  4:00   Return to hotel



Dallas Public Library and 508 Park Avenue                                                          Limit 50


Bluesman Robert Johnson (1911-38) recorded only twenty-nine songs in his brief career,  in 1936 and ’37.  That small repertoire, however, was powerfully influential, shaping the future work of such major pop, rock, and blues stars as the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, the Allman Brothers, and Led Zeppelin.


In recent years, Dallas’s 508 Park Avenue has become famous as one of the only two locations where Robert Johnson recorded.  The 1929 Art Deco building and adjoining warehouse served as the local offices of Brunswick and Vocalion Records and distribution center for Warner Brothers Film Exchange.  Offices sometimes served as makeshift recording studios, not only for Johnson, but for other groundbreaking performers such as Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys, the Stamps Quartet, W. Lee O'Daniel and his Hillbilly Boys, the Crystal Springs Ramblers, and the Light Crust Doughboys.  In recognition of the site’s heritage, it was here that in 2004 Eric Clapton recorded Sessions for Robert J. and Me and Mr. Johnson.  Tour led by Bruce Buchanon, Associate Pastor of Community Ministries at First Presbyterian Church.


Dallas’s J. Erik Jonsson Central Library is the second-largest public library building in the country.  It houses a downtown branch; a state-of-the-art Children’s Center; and extensive circulating and reference collections, as well as significant archival collections on its research floors.  It is also home to a remarkable collection of contemporary art pieces, which the library has collected since its inception in 1901. 


The tour will include an overview of the entire building as well as a more in-depth look at the Fine Arts Division.  In addition to its impressive circulating and reference collections, the Fine Arts Division houses significant archival materials related to local music organizations such as the Dallas Opera, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Theater Center, and others.  The library has also commissioned several important musical works in its history, including Milhaud’s Symphony No. 11, Ginastera’s Third String Quartet, and Gunther Schuller’s First Symphony.  Manuscripts of these works and other musical treasures from the library and other local collections will be on display in honor of MLA’s annual meeting.


The tour will also pass near other Dallas landmarks along the walk to and from the Fairmont.  The famous Neiman Marcus chain is a Dallas original, and its flagship store is still a shopper’s mecca in downtown.  The luxurious Adolphus Hotel was the creation

of beer baron Adolphus Busch.  Opened in 1912, the Adolphus is probably the only hotel in the country with a Steinway grand piano almost as famous as the hotel itself.  You’ll find part of the story on-line, but we’ll save a local secret for the tour!  Other points of interest along the way include the Magnolia Building (which will explain all the Pegasus statues and symbols you’ll see around the city); the Aristocrat Hotel (now Indigo), Conrad Hilton's second hotel, but the first to actually bear his name; the historic Majestic Theater; and the Dallas Grand Hotel, originally the 1956 Statler Hilton, known for its unique architecture, a Y-shaped tower supported by an innovative cantilevered structural system.  Adjacent to the Grand is the site of the original Dallas Public Library, a gift from steel baron Andrew Carnegie.  The second library building, designed by Dallas’s most famous architect, George Dahl, still stands on the site today.  Tour led by MLA member Tina Murdock, Assistant Manager, Fine Arts and Humanities Divisions.


1:00     Meet in hotel lobby, walk to 508 Park Avenue

1:30     508 Park

2:15     Walk to library

2:30     Dallas Public Library

4:00     Walk back to hotel



Friday Evening LAC Concert and Reception


The Dallas Symphony Orchestra is one of the country’s ten oldest orchestras, and is frequently ranked among the nation’s best ensembles.  Musical America has recently named the orchestra’s bold music director, Jaap van Zweden, conductor of the year.  The orchestra performs at the one of the world’s most renowned halls, the acoustically superb Meyerson Symphony Center. 


The conference week’s concert is part of the Casual Friday series, which encourages a relaxed atmosphere by programming shorter concerts with no intermission, and an earlier start time of 7:30 p.m.  Patrons are encouraged to come in casual attire.  Tickets are $20 each, and may be ordered on the conference registration site.


The program will include Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3, with  Severin von Eckardstein at the piano, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, Pathétique.


MLA will be seated in a block in the Choral Terrace, behind the orchestra.  Michelle and Tina love that location, because it gives us a player’s view of the conductor and the hall.  And although it might seem it would be distracting to be “on stage” for a concert, we’ve discovered once you’re up there, you really don’t notice it at all, and you feel in some ways more a part of the whole concert experience.  We think you’ll love it, too!


As we get closer to the conference date, members who have registered for the concert.  will have an opportunity to request a specific number of tickets grouped together, if you like, or a preference for, say, the violin side, cello/bass side, or center section.  The DSO staff will do their best to accommodate all those requests and assign tickets accordingly.


If you’d like to see charts of the Meyerson’s seating areas and/or the layout of the Choral Terrace, please visit these DSO pages:




The LAC will host a dessert reception prior to the program, at 6:30.  We’ll be in the Meyerson’s East Terrace area, which offers a splendid view of other Arts District buildings, including the wonderful new Winspear Opera House and the Wyly Theatre.  Afterward, entrance to the Choral Terrace and conveniently located restrooms are immediately adjacent to the East Terrace, so you won’t even have to go searching for your seats!