Mid-Week Intermission Friend Edition: Olga Campos Benz
From the news desk to Meredith Stage and everywhere in between, Olga Campos Benz is one of the Long Center’s biggest fans! And let us say, the feeling is mutual 😍 We thought we’d check in with her to see which of the many events we’ve hosted these past 15 years are her favorites and learn a bit more about how she’ll be supporting the Icon Awards. But enough from us, read what Olga has to say 👇
Hope this Mid-Week Intermisison finds everyone preparing for an awesome April and with calendars already marked to join me at the Icon Awards on April 6th as we honor the people, organizations, and corporations for their commitment to the arts.
Since the Long Center became Austin’s home for the performing arts, no one has exemplified wholehearted giving like Eva Womack. From the first capital campaign to establish the Long Center to various arts organizations, Eva and her late husband, Marvin, have been generous supporters and beloved members of our arts community. Likewise, corporate giant AT&T will be recognized for its leading role in building a strong and inclusive creative home at hte Long Center, making Austin a better place to thrive, explore, entertain, and creat! Mil gracias Sra Womack y AT&T!
I’m thrilled to be serving as the Emcee for the Icon Awards, which will take place on the Meredith Stage of Dell Hall. My mind flashes back to other times I’ve been honored to step on that very stage. As a former Trustee of the Long Center, after my first meeting I ventured near the footlights while thinking, “Wow! How it must thrill every performer who walks out here knowing each seat is filled by someone eager to capture a beautiful memory of a live performance to keep in their memories forever!”
Because that’s exactly what happens with each thrilling performance afterwards and for always. For me, it’s the memories of attending a UT Tailgate event organized by my daughter Allegra; or the annual holiday tradition of The Nutcracker with loved ones; and I’ll never forget the excitement of attending both Jimmy Kimmel Live tapings during SXSW?!?!
Then there was the time my husband, Kevin Benz, and I served as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Long Center’s Birthday Bash where we stepped on stage to welcome the audience to see “The Beatles: Let It Be” tribute show. You wouldn’t have recognized us since we were dressed like characters from the Sgt. Peper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. What a fun evening!
But perhaps my fondest memory of stepping on stage is from 2008 when, as a TV news reporter, I toured the venue before it opened to the public. I remember being in awe of the possibilities of the best live performances, family-friendly experiences, and memorable occasions for the entire community — all about to take place both inside and outside.
What excites me most about the Long Center, then and now, is that the venues goes far beyond being the home of the Founding Resident Companies. It welcomes all genres of music! There’s an eagerness to host out-of-the-ordinary performances. In fact, the Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel with The Avett Brothers Birthday Bash, and Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, are among my very favorite shows inside the Long Center.
Outside, there are too many to count! Kevin and I are excited about the return of The Drop-In music series, and we love the fact that everyone is welcome to take photos, host a picnic, gaze at the skyline, and just soak in the beautiful vibe of ATX while on the lawn and H-E-B Terrace. During my time as a Long Center Trustee and now in my current role as media consultant and community advocate, I continue to be most proud of the commitment by the Long Center staff and sponsors to roll up their sleeves and roll out the red carpet for everyone!
So let me end this letter of greeting to all by echoing some of my favorite phrases:
¡¡Bienvenidos a todos!! ¡Nos vemos pronto en el Centro Long!
Welcome to all!! See you soon at the Long Center!
Olga Campos Benz
Former TV News Anchor/Reporter
At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.