Downtown Victoria will come alive with the sounds of the Victoria Symphony during its 17th annual Downtown Rhythms. The free event begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday as the symphony plus area school ensembles and bands perform under the awning of One O'Connor Plaza. The night ends at 10 p.m. with a performance by Clay Crockett & the Shotgun Riders. The event will commemorate Victoria Symphony's 40th anniversary, Michelle Hall, executive director, told the Victoria Advocate.

"We feel it's important because it offers a free family-friendly night to get out in this beautiful weather and listen to great music," she said. "It allows parents to bring children to hear the orchestra. ... And it exposes them to that type of atmosphere and music."

The orchestra will feature songs from Hollywood blockbusters, Leroy Anderson favorites like "Clarinet Candy" and "Bugler's Holiday" and a salute to armed forces, which is always well-received, Hall said.

Middle, high school and college ensembles including the VISD High School Orchestra, Victoria East Jazz Band, Edna High School Jazz Band, VC Community Band and Jazz Combo will perform.

Other activities include food vendors, a musical petting zoo and a battle of the chefs between The Sendera and The PumpHouse Riverside restaurants.