The Four Freshmen, the Three Texas Tenors, Doug Montgomery, and Johnny Nicholas are just some of the musical names the Horseshoe Bay Cultural Enrichment Society has brought to local audiences.
Founded in 2017, the nonprofit’s mission is scheduling high-quality entertainment, concerts, and lectures in the Highland Lakes, all under the direction of Mike Maine.
Maine was enlisted to lead the organization by a group of friends that “love live entertainment but don’t want to have to travel to Austin all the time to see it,” he said. His background made him the perfect choice.
Growing up in Anderson, Indiana, Maine took lessons in voice, piano, clarinet, and dance. He began performing on radio shows at 9 years old.
“I could read music like I could read a book,” he said. “I really could sing. I had a high soprano voice, and I got to do a lot of solo work.”
He continued studying voice in college, performing in operas and musicals. After graduating from DePauw University in Indiana and the University of Michigan Law School, Maine and his wife, Suzanne, returned to Indiana, where he was a senior partner at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, a distinguished Indianapolis firm founded in 1863. He chaired three law groups and served on the firm’s management committee over his 42 years there.
While working and growing his family, he volunteered in the community,serving on the board of directors and then as president of the Indiana Repertory Theatre.
In 2005, Mike and Suzanne retired to Boca Grande, Florida, where he became president of the Royal Palm Players Inc., an amateur theater group. The couple often visited daughter Melinda and her husband, Kip Garvey, at their home in Austin.
The birth of their grandson Beck prompted a move to Horseshoe Bay. The couple frequently drove to Austin to visit family and attend performances at ZACH Theatre and Bass Concert Hall.
“As the years started rolling by, it got harder,” Maine said. “We could stay with my daughter and son-in-law (in Austin), but you get out of the theater at ten-thirty at night and drive across Austin. You might as well go home. It wasn’t fun anymore.”
He and others of like mind in Horseshoe Bay decided they needed to bring the entertainment closer to home, leading to the formation of the Cultural Enrichment Society, which would not have happened without the help of Christine Reed and Michele Shackleford, Maine said.
“(They) called me and said, ‘You put your money where your mouth is,’” he said. “They were clearly the catalysts.”
Then came the rest of the leaders: Dick Nelson, Elizabeth Pitts, Lulu Glass, John Borota, and Sandy Howard. For recommendations on which acts to book, the group turns to musicians and arts supporters Robert Linder, John Arthur Martinez, and Bill Rives.
The first concert in 2018 featured Martinez, who was releasing a new album. He suggested a string orchestra back him up.
“His music was so good,” Maine said.
The board decided to add educational seminars and brought in experts to talk about genetics and social issues and how to watch movies like a professor.
“Now, we’re building momentum,” said Maine, despite a setback by the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellations of several shows.
But enthusiasm for the society and its programs remains.
“I want people to understand it’s not just for Horseshoe Bay,” Maine said. “We have a lot of people coming from Llano, Marble Falls. It’s for what we consider the greater community in Llano County, Blanco County, and Burnet County.”
Maine’s community involvement also reaches beyond his musical endeavors, which includes singing with the Highland Lakes Men’s Choir and The Church at Horseshoe Bay choir. He is also president of the Horseshoe Bay Property Owners Association and a member of the Kiwanis Club and the Men of Faith steering committee at his church. He and wife Suzanne have been married for 55 years.