Staging a miracle

Mark Metzler’s design is a marvel in simplicity


It was an idea 10 years in the making.

For 10 years, Mark Metzler helped set up the music stage on Confederate Square for Main Street’s Summer Concert Series and Come and Take It Celebration. During those years of constructing the stage, Metzler started to incubate ideas on how the Neanderthal stage he was constructing could be built better and made more durable. The incubation of design percolated for years in Mark’s head, then he started to formulate some tangible ideas on how he could build a better stage.

In recent years, Main Street Director Barbara Friedrich and Main Street board member and past chairman John Boothe had been talking about budgeting for a new stage. Over the years, Boothe began encouraging Metzler to put some designs on paper, and Metzler said he’d think about it after he tinkered with his concepts a little more.

This year, the rubber met the road when the city agreed to accept a budget that included a stage. Bids went out for the project, but Metzler already was ready to show off his idea and his plan for a new stage. While other bids were coming in close to $100,000, Mark showed his ideas to Main Street and eventually the city of Gonzales. After a few points of itemization and construction questions, Metzler’s concept won the day. The city awarded him a contract to build, construct and a deliver a stage before the Main Street Summer Concert Series in June. And they saved a ton of moola: Mark’s stage only cost $43,000.

His 10-year quest to design and implement his idea had come to fruition. Now it’s about to bear fruit for all of the events in Gonzales.

“I asked Barbara (Friedrich), the director of Main Street, if I could submit a design to bid on the stage,” Metzler said at the family ranch on Thursday afternoon. “I submitted a drawing and some pictures showing how it would look. Everyone seemed pleased at the time and it was passed on to the city. They asked me to come to a council meeting and we discussed it. After asking for some details on specifications and itemizing materials cost, they awarded me the contract to build the stage.”

What Metzler is constructing is a 30-foot by 15-foot wide stage build on two I-Beams supported by 10 inches of c-railings. The stage also includes two vertical three-foot wings that fold out in order to place banners by the stage. There are welder fixtures on the front and top of the 10-foot high front, with the roof supports tapering downwards toward the back of the stage to 9-feet above.

“It’s got to be idiot proof!” said Tim Boggus, who along with Gene Hill have helped Metzler the entire time during construction. “Everything in here is welded on, and all you have to do is remove a clip here or there and the wings fold and stage folds down.”

“It’s a brilliant piece of design,” said Boothe when he saw it on Thursday afternoon. “This may be the sturdiest functional stage I’ve ever seen. And it’s easily movable because it’s on wheels.”

The stage will be painted brown with tan highlights,” Metzler said. “We have to move the stage to a more level spot, then we can put the steps on the side. When they are not in use, they will just fold right up until it’s used again.”

Mark and his crew are waiting for the sheet metal to come in, and then they can finish the project and be on time for delivery.

“It should only be a matter of few days once we get the sheet metal on,” Metzler said. “Then we paint it and turn over to the city.”

Metzler is so happy with the stage he has constructed after thinking about it for years, he is even giving thought to building a second stage for sale or rental.

“I’ve been to a few festivals and seen all kinds of stages,” Metzler joked. “I’ve paid for this stage idea with a lot of beer over the years, so I think I got it right.”

Gonzales will not be disappointed in the sturdiness or simplicity of the best stage this town has seen in over a decade.