In this issue…
ANNOUNCEMENT: Houston Chamber Choir’s recording of the Complete Choral Works of Maurice Duruflé is picked up by Signum Records!
Coming up: Big Band favorites at Miller Outdoor Theatre!
Get to know our new Luminary Society Chair, Devon Jones!
Meet the Singers: Alto Joshua Chavira
TOMORROW (Wednesday, October 10), LAST DAY TO UPGRADE SUBSCRIPTION!
Meet Luminary Society Chair, Devon Jones!
Houston Chamber Choir's young professional organization, The Luminary Society, has a new Chair! Devon Jones will be planning after parties and other exclusive events as part of her new role. As a musician herself, she is excited to get started! Read below to get to know Devon a little more.
Grace Roman: Hi, Devon! We are so excited that you are going to be our new Luminary Society Chair this season! First, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your background?
Devon Jones: I am thrilled to be chair of the Luminary Society. It is going to be a great year filled with lots of opportunity. My goal is to grow the Society and foster connection through our specialized Luminary Society events. I am currently the Project Coordinator for the Latino Art Now! Houston and Spring of Latino Art! which is a visual art conference (LAN!) founded by the Inter- University Program for Latino Research currently headquartered at the University of Houston coming in April 2019. Spring of Latino Art! is an outgrowth of the LAN! which will occur February-May 2019 with 30+ venues showcasing Latino artists. I am currently A.B.D. and working on my Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Houston and previously received my M.A. in Political Science from UH. I received my B.A. in Political Science from Samford University during which time I minored in Vocal Performance. My research interests are judicial politics, gender, race and ethnicity, and state courts. I was fortunate to sing the soprano solo alongside my husband, tenor, Ryan Jones, in the world premiere of Howard Goodall’s Invictus this previous spring. I currently sing in three choirs at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and direct Joyful Noise! our 4 & 5-year old choir.
GR: Being a musician yourself, why are the arts and choral music so important to you?
DJ: Music touches our lives every single day whether we realize it or not. The vehicle may be a television commercial, the radio, a melody running through our heads, or a child humming a tune. Choral music is a way for individuals to share in music corporately. It is a way for a group of people to become one organism and move together with one purpose: to share the magic that is music.
GR: What are you the most excited about in being the new Luminary Society Chair? Anything else about the arts in the Houston that gets you pumped?
DJ: I am most excited to bring people together and facilitate a platform for people to interact with the musicians and make music more accessible to the listener. To that end, art scene is Houston is thriving and growing rapidly. This city boasts a plethora of major music, visual and experience art venues. The conversation surrounding the impact of the arts in early childhood education, arts patronage and funding is growing and things are moving particularly in Houston.
GR: As you know, there are so many different things to do here and get involved in in the city of Houston! So why should young professionals become involved in the Luminary Society? What's in it for them?
DJ: Houston Chamber Choir is an excellent ensemble within the city of Houston. Being a part of the Luminary Society means you will receive tickets to five concerts, access to discount tickets, and best of all tickets to our afterparties which will feature at least one drink and hor d’oeuvres. It will be a great time to hang out, make new friends, and network with other young professionals throughout the city.
GR: What else can we expect this season with you as the Luminary Society Chair? Any exciting things coming up?
DJ: PARTY! I am so excited to let you all know that there will be several after parties throughout the season as well as some hangouts outside of the concert calendar! There will be food, drinks, and meet and greets with some of the singers. This is an opportunity to network and get to know Houston’s young professionals and Chamber Choir patrons in a relaxed setting. We also have several other events in the planning stages that I am super excited about and once they are further realized we will be sharing that information!
Meet the Singers: Joshua Chavira
Alto Joshua Chavira is one of the new members of the Houston Chamber Choir this season! Manager of Operations Grace Roman got to know him a little better this week.
Grace Roman: Hi Josh! We're so excited to have you as one of our new altos in the Chamber Choir this season! Can you tell us a little more about yourself and how you came to audition for the Chamber Choir?
Joshua Chavira: It is amazing to be a part of this incredible group of musicians. As we all know, the music world is super small, and I was actually introduced to this group from a fellow alumnus from my alma mater, Kelli, who also happens to be in the choir. The funny part is, I was actually in Italy at the time of auditions, so I thought that I didn’t have a chance, but Kelli told me to send in some recordings and a resume, so that’s what I did. Bob was gracious enough to give me a chance to audition when I returned, and the rest is history!
GR: Our opening concert of the season, This Is Why I Sing, was just over a week ago! What did you think of your first concert experience? Any favorite pieces or moments from the performance?
JC: My first concert experience with this group was an experience I will never forget. Having the opportunity to make music with like-minded individuals and singers who truly understand the art of choral music is a rare occurrence, and this night will always be a treasure in my heart. One of my favorite moments of the evening was actually getting to know my colleagues better as we prepared backstage. Pre-concert jitters seem to bring everyone closer together, and I feel like this choir will become more like a family to me as time goes on.
GR: We have so many great concerts and collaborations coming up this season. Anything you're looking forward to in particular?
JC: The concert I am looking forward to most is definitely the last concert, Leipzig After Bach. I am very interested in early music and am very excited to delve into lesser-known choral works from the time period after Bach.
GR: The Chamber Choir works so hard during this year preparing for the incredible concerts that are presented nearly every month. What are you all rehearsing right now? Any specific pieces that you think our audience would enjoy?
JC: We are currently working on music from the Big Band Era for our performance at the Miller Outdoor Theater. This music is so much fun to sing, and I believe that there will be many songs that the audience has heard before, and some that will easily become new favorites that they will be singing for weeks.
GR: For those in our audience who may not know much about the choral art form, can you explain why you love choral music so much and what makes it so special and unique?
JC: To me, it takes a very special person to be able to put aside ego and become a part of a group where the common goal is to create the best possible music for all of humanity to enjoy. I believe that this group really excels at this, and it is very humbling and an honor to work with this group.
GR: Of course we know that you probably don't only love choral music! What other kind of music do you like to listen to? Is there a favorite playlist you like to listen to in the car?
JC: I listen to almost anything! Currently, I am listening to the Met Opera Radio in my car, but when I want a break, I will turn on the 90’s and 2000’s pop station and reminisce on memories of my childhood.
GR: Favorite restaurant in Houston?
JC: I love food, so this is a hard question, but one of my favorites is Yard House because they have an eclectic menu.
GR: Tell us an interesting fact about you!
JC: Well, I have studied in Italy for the past two summers, and I am learning Italian. I hope to be completely fluent in a year or two.
GR: Anything else our patrons should know?
JC: As an artist, I would just like the patrons to know that everything they do for us is appreciated, especially coming out to the concerts to see all of the hard work we put in to make these concerts truly special. Thank you all!