There are several levels of community in Terlingua.
The most visible is the restaurant/bar scene. That and the mountains are what most visitors see, and it’s an essential part of living in the Big Bend. Sitting on the porch, strumming guitar and watching the sun set in the East is a Terlingua tradition.
As the sun sets behind the mountains to the West, the mountains of Big Bend National Park reflect the colors- purple, gold, red, pink – in a changing kaleidoscope that’s different every evening and always amazing. Then, the mountains fade and lose their colors as the light shifts to the clouds above, and it looks like the mountains have a technicolor aura… then that fades, the stars come out, the moon illuminates the desert…
There’s the river community- many Terlingua residents are current or former river guides. It’s a close-knit community. A friend who is a long-time guide explained to me that most of the guides are single because they chose the river over relationships, and, in her case, she doesn’t regret that choice at all.
These guides are the kind of people who can take a backpack, a bedroll, and a boat and spend weeks alone or with a group camping under the stars in the canyons carved out by the Rio Grande River.
And then there’s the people who are raising families here and are concerned with the infrastructure of the community. They’re focused on the school and community service. You don’t see them much in the bars, but when Christmas rolls around, they’re very visible.
The community choir, led by local Uber-musician, studio owner, and high-school band director, Ted Arbogast, bring their Christmas music show to various venues in the Big Bend.
Here are some pics from the show at the Starlight Theatre. The choir sang songs of the season. As they were singing, “Here Comes Santa Claus,” Santa himself walked through the Starlight Theatre. The choir left the stage and Santa took a seat as the local children lined up to make their xmas requests.
A couple of days later, the choir and the high school band performed at the community center.