Edited By: Sa Huynh
Saludos! My name is Anthony Tobias and before we start, I would like to thank La Prensa Texas Incorporated Community Newspaper for giving me the opportunity to expose great talented musical performers and feature great venues here in our wonderful Alamo City. From local to national headliners and including Grammy and Emmy award winning country, jazz, and Tejano artists, I hope to get up close and personal with many of these performers and introduce you to some great venues.
I have enjoyed supporting the music industry most of my life. Coming from a conservative family, a career in the fine arts or music industry was not considered a lucrative and steady occupation. So, the passion for working in these fields took a sidestep and was a fading dream for me early in life. After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School, I attended the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and studied dental laboratory technology. I later transferred to School West School of Medicine and studied medical laboratory technology. Shortly after graduating, I worked as a medical laboratory technologist at Methodist Metropolitan Hospital.
However, the need and passion to somehow be involved in the arts or in the music industry continued to pursue me. In 1982, I opened and operated Anthony’s Floral Designs & Gifts. Then, in 1985, I opened and lectured at Anthony’s School of Floral Designs of Texas at San Antonio, later to be renamed Texas School of Floral Designs in San Antonio. In 1987, I graduated from Texas School of Floral Design. In 1989, after successfully completing all phases required by the Texas Master Florist Program located in Austin, Texas, I was inducted as a Texas Master Florist. In 1991, after successfully completing all phases required by the Redbook Master Consultants Program located in Memphis, Tennessee I was inducted as a Redbook Master Florist. In 1992, I wrote and published one of the first major instruction, guides, and textbooks in the floral industry in the United States, Floral Designs, The Art of Designing with Flowers. After obtaining several diplomas, various awards, and now writing a column for an international world-wide publication Redbook Florist Directory distributed throughout the floral industry, I was hired as an authority in the floral industry to represent the United States at the Monterrey International Design Show in Monterrey, Mexico. Upon my return to the United States, I was hired to lecture and teach floral arranging classes as a professor for San Antonio College and later for the Northside Independent School District, NISD.
In 2002-2003, I suffered three personal tragedies and felt I needed to take a temporary break away from the floral industry to redirect my thoughts. During this hiatus, I decided to embark on one of the largest art and musical endeavors of my life. Anyone who knows me, knows I never think small, and I learned early in life to excel in whatever I did and to always expect more of myself. So, in 2013, I launched The San Antonio Summer Art & Jazz Festival, aka SAS FEST or SAS JAZZ FEST. It was a privately owned jazz festival, registered as an LLC, opened to the public sponsored by local small to midsize companies and large corporations. Initially a two-day event, The San Antonio Summer Art & Jazz Festival would grow to eventually become a free three-day jazz festival featuring a combination of 12 to 15 local, regional, national, and even international well-known jazz musicians and bands. This event would grow to receive numerous accolades and even be voted number 4 in an article titled, 101 Fun Things To Do This Summer by San Antonio Magazine.
In the past 13 years, the San Antonio Summer Art & Jazz Festival has featured such great jazz artists as three-time Grammy Award nominee recording artist with 18 CDs from the United Kingdom, Acoustic Alchemy, Grammy Award winner recording guitarist with six CD’s from Encino, California Paul Brown, Grammy Award winner recording guitarist with four DC’s Charley Wood, Three-time Latin Grammy winning recording saxophonist with six CD’s Joe Posada, Emmy Award winning recording pianist with four CD’s from Los Angeles, California Loa Tizer, Recording saxophonist with five CD’s from Copenhagen, Holland Michel Lington, recording saxophonist with six CD’s from California Jessy J. and many other Grammy, Latin Grammy and Emmy award winning jazz musicians from around the world. It should especially be noted that the San Antonio Summer Art & Jazz Festival was the only known privately owned Hispanic jazz festival in the United States.
Under The San Antonio Summer Art & Jazz Festival I had the privilege of hosting and producing shows like, The Battle of the Sax’s, The Divas of Jazz, The Gentleman of Jazz, Salsa, Chips & Guitars produced here in San Antonio, Texas and The Divas of Jazz Part II, The Revenge of the Divas produced in Leon Valley, Texas. Most of the monies made from these events the first five years were donated to Any Baby Can (ABC), a non-profit agency that provides services free of charge, regardless of income, to families who have a child from birth through 12 years of age with a chronic illness, disability, or developmental delay who live in Bexar County or its surrounding counties.
Henceforth, in the following years to come, the San Antonio Summer Art & Jazz Festival would also host 25 to 50 underprivileged children from different children’s homes. During the main evenings performances. These children would be honored and could enjoy the concerts under an exclusive covered area. In addition, they would be served a warm dinner, dessert, a few small novelty toys, and a miniature keep-sake commemorative poster of the event. SAS FEST has hosted children from Boysville, San Antonio’s Children’s Shelter, St. Peter, St. Joseph’s Children’s Home, Roy Mass Alternative and Meadowland Children’s Home in Boerne, Texas.
In 2017, I decided to add a new dimension to this great event: The San Antonio Summer Art & Jazz Festival Humanitarian & Lifetime Achievement Award. This award was presented to a great San Antonian who has made great contributions to the City of San Antonio. Such past recipients included Mr. Don Moye, the first African American to be appointed as president of the Fiesta Commission, Mr. Tino Duran Sr., CEO of La Prensa Newspaper, Dr. Patsy Torres Ph.D. entertainer and female vocalist, Mr. Ken Slavin entertainer and male vocalist, Mr. Jim Beal retired columnist for the San Antonio Express News, Paul Elizondo Precinct #1 Bexar County Commissioner and Mrs. Millie Duran, President of La Prensa Newspaper.
With the connections and influence that had I established with the success of the San Antonio Summer Art & Jazz Festival, I realized I had the ability to give more back to this great community and help promote and support the fine arts and music industry. So, in 2013, I founded the Latin American Heritage Society, aka LAHS. The Latin American Heritage Society is a nonprofit organization that raises funds for scholarships for young men and women who want to major in the fine arts or in music. Besides raising money for the arts, members visit children with cancer at Christus Santa Rosa, Methodist Children’s Hospital, and University Hospital. Members visit abused, abandoned, and homeless children at Boysville and St. Peter-St. Joseph Children’s Home. LAHS also visits the elderly at various nursing homes and the great Wounded Warriors in the Intrepid Center at Fort Sam Houston.
Never did I realize that the dream I had as a young man to be somehow involved in the fine arts or in the music industry would take on a life-long commitment, which I really enjoy and love to this date. This great journey would take on such a dynamic role that it would culminate in 2014 with being honored and humbled to be the only Texan and only Latino to receive the TTW Lifetime Achievement Award from TTD Magazine, Transforming Today’s World Magazine for outstanding community service to music achievement in San Antonio, Texas.
It is said, in any great civilization, its culture is defined by its art and its music, so in essence I am privileged to be able to bring and expose you to San Antonio’s great culture. This defines who we all are in spirit and soul and how we as a civilization will all be remembered in the future by generations.
Please feel free to contact me at: SAMusicSceneTx@gmail.com