The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion by Wendy Morfin

2005 Lake Robbins Dr
The Woodlands, TX 77380
November 2010

April 2004–In the Woodlands, located in the northern part of Houston about twenty seven miles from downtown, there is an amphitheater called The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. The Woodlands Pavilion is a great place. From the moment I walked in when I started loving that place. I have been to many concerts in other auditoriums or theaters but none have impacted me as much as when I go to the Woodlands Pavilion. Maybe the reason why is those others are closed buildings and more suitable for sports games or graduations, while the Woodlands Pavilion is more personal, familiar, more like a hanging out place. You can see the sky while you are at the concert. In the day, the light blue sky with the wind blowing in your face, and at night the stars the moon and the mood of the moment. You breathe the real air, natural air from the trees surrounding the pavilion, not the usual air conditioning big buildings have. The grass has a lot to do, I guess it gives you a more peaceful, comfortable and soft feeling of your time being there than those auditorium looking chairs in the closed areas. In the pavilion you have your own space, even though there are a lot of people. You can get there and occupy the space you need, and even put a blanket to seat down or lay down. You have your space own personal space, your piece of home. You actually feel like you are in your house, if you have a back yard.

Another uncomfortable thing about closed auditoriums is when you get a middle seat. In those closed amphitheaters is so uncomfortable being in the middle, you don’t want to go to the restroom or want to go buy something to eat. People actually have to stand up when you leave and again when you come back to your seat. Is embarrassing for the people who need to go and annoying for the ones that have to stand up, especially adults who drink beer need to go to the restroom more than once. In the pavilion you are free to move where ever you want, without interrupting anybody and you can be in the middle, end or beginning. The section with roof and seats is not too big but there is a small amount of chairs for people who prefer that. One of my friends (Vanessa) bought tickets in the section with seats because her cousin decided she did not want to stay in the grass. I asked Vanessa if she had fun and she answered yes. “It is pretty amazing,” she said, “I turned around to see back in the lawn, and all I saw was tons of people,” she continued, “it was exiting just to see all those heads in a leveled upward direction, screaming and jumping and just having so much fun.” The roof is white and it has the shape of triangular prisms. While you are on the back you can not see how the whole lawn section looks, but you can imagine just by being there.

The Pavilion is operated and owned by a nonprofit organization called The Center for the Performing Arts at The Woodlands. The founder of The Woodlands, George P. Mitchell along with his wife Cynthia Woods Mitchell formed the Pavilion and envisioned such facility as a venue for performing arts since the community’s inception in 1974. The Pavilion is an extensive facility that accommodates up to 16,550 guests. Under the soaring white fabric roof there is seating for about three thousand people. There is room for little less than two thousand in the uncovered reserved area, and nearly twelve thousand on the hill lawn. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is a regional performing arts venue. In 1992, thanks to the generous Cynthia and George Mitchell, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion became the official Home of the Houston Symphony. The Pavilion presents a series of performances of the symphony every season. These events are great; numerous spectators attend them and many other events in this great pavilion. The Woods Pavilion gives a contemporary entertainment in a setting of unparalleled beauty.

The Pavilion hosts approximately seventy five events from March through November. The events range from rock to jazz, classical to country, and American ballet to modern opera. The first concert I ever attended at the Pavilion was for a Spanish rock band named “Mana”. I was exited from the moment my friends and I were driving through the I-45 north freeway. It’s a long straight drive, when you get to the Woodlands there is a huge curve to the right where you enter the “woods”. We were looking for a parking space not too far from the Pavilion, so we decided to park at the mall. There is a Woodlands mall nearby and most of the people were parking there too. The mall has plenty of parking spaces for the whole crowd to park if they wanted to.

We had to walk through a long hallway with woods on the sides for about ten minutes with all the human traffic, everyone talking about their experience in the traffic jam. Some were walking silently, trying to get to the Pavilion as soon as possible. Others were walking with their posters and shirts from the band’s members. It’s an exiting moment. Once you get to the ticket place they search you with the metal detectors. I was worried I wouldn’t get my camera in because they sell disposable cameras inside. The lady asked to see my purse, but I had a jacket tied to my waist and in the pocket I had my camera. I showed my purse to the entrance guy and all he found was my cell phone, my house-car keys, and some more junk we women like to carry out. I luckily got in with out having to leave my camera on the side where many were.

Once all my friends and I went in, we saw this entire crowd around us, I personally wanted to jump and sing and the concert was not even started. The crowd stands near the food stores, buying beer, fries, nachos and all kinds of junk food for the concert. They sold these funny looking containers, tall and skinny with an alcohol kind of slushy liquid, similar to the margaritas but in a red, pink, green and blue colors. There is a sculpture in the middle named “smoke dance.” It is piece of metal stuck in a rock; the figure goes up in a line like the smoke of a cigar. I stood there for a while waiting for one of my friends to get out of the restroom. The only smell you get there is the smoke of the cigars. Every body stands near it to smoke; I guess people think it’s the smoking area, even though place is out in the open. There is another statue, “A tribute to George Mitchell” where George Mitchell is seated in a bench with his two grandsons. This was installed in the entrance of the pavilion in October of 1997, but people do not seat there, I guess like a way to respect the figure. Near the entrance of the VIP there is the commonly known as the wall of fame, “Patrons Courtyard.” Pictures painted to a wall of people by a local artist named Sharon Butler.

There are some stairs where you go through to get to your seats, or the grass depending on what kind of ticket you buy. I was on the grass, since it was like ten of us in our little crowd we decided we wanted to make noise and have more space to jump and get crazy. We went up the stairs and saw the panorama. The grass looks like a mountain, a little hill. You turn to look to the left and you see the stage, nice and small. The stage filled with cables, ropes, and gigantic speakers around it with the lights on the sides. The band’s instruments were placed in their spots in the stage. Trees one next to each other on the very back of the pavilion like a background set from a far distance. There is a screen as background of the stage which show advertisements of either products sponsoring the concert or the pictures of the band members. You look to the right and the grass is there quiet just waiting to be used, nice and cut all leveled from one corner to the other. We went up the stairs to the grass, looking for enough space for our crowd and near enough to see the band perform.

We made our picnic area to sit and admire the stage from not too far since the seats and the lawn are leveled. We sat there for a while, with all the noise of people talking, singing, eating, and drinking. Some of the spectators were having their own party already, and other just chilling waiting for the concert to begin. After a while I started to hear more and more noise. I turned around and noticed behind us the space that had been empty when we got there was full, like when ants are around a piece of food in the floor. Suddenly the lights go off and the crowd starts screaming. The crowd exited, shouting their lungs out and looking towards the stage in case the band had been out already. Cheering and screaming after a few minutes the lights of the stage turned on. Everyone gets up and starts to get exited as if the band was out, even though it hasn’t. I got up and saw my surroundings. All I could see was heads and hands going up cheering and moving around. It was an exiting moment, just to see the crowd so alive and full of energy. I felt like jumping high and screaming as loud as I could and make funny faces trying to get my energy out. You get this feeling since you go in the pavilion. It feels like as soon as you go through the doors you get this energy that runs through your body energy you want to extract during this concert.

The band finally went out to perform. Everybody could feel the sound of the drums through their bodies. The singer said some introductory words and started his first song. I could not have a conversation with any of my friends unless I was screaming in their ears. As soon as the band gets to the point where they sing the most famous song, of course the one every body know the words from beginning to end. Some crazy kids act like they have the guitar and they sing along with all the rest of the public. The music went on and everybody singing, lights of cell phones, neon lights and lighters in the air. The band takes a brake and people start cheering for them to go back and perform. They go out and show their so cool closing, not with the most famous song but with a good song and the drums guy. This drummer performed more than three minutes it was incredible. The crowd makes so much noise you just feel like you are in your head. At the end you can’t talk, you scream thinking you are whispering because your ears end up deafened. Even though I don’t attend every single event in the Pavilion, the ones I do I never regret attending.



Scenic Walkways

Caravan Park

The Woodlands Neighborhood

Houston Guide

Woodlands Tour Page


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