ChoralNotes, February 2018

In This Issue...

  • Meet our new Managing Director, Mariam Khalili
  • Overview of Houston Chamber Choir's Choral Clinic with the choir from Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
  • Review of our 2018 Annual School Choral Invitational, Hear the Future
  • Preview of our upcoming concert, Mind Craft, with guest conductor Alexander Blachly
  • Invitation to our 2018 Gala, All That Jazz, honoring Sally Anderson Clark and Michael Clark

To download the full issue, click here!

Meet Our New Managing Director, Mariam Khalili!

Mariam Khalili began her new position with the Houston Chamber Choir on February 1. Grace Roman sat down and chatted with her this week. Read below to get to know her a little better!

GR: Tell us a little about your background and your connection to Houston.

MK: First, I want to say I absolutely LOVE Houston, and I’m so proud to call this fantastic city my home. I’m a native Texan and grew up in the small town of Dickinson, just south of the Clear Lake area. With regards to my professional background, I was fortunate to have served Opera in the Heights for several years as Executive Director, and learned so much from the many talented and passionate artists, patrons, and volunteers.

GR: What are you most excited about in your new position as Managing Director with the Houston Chamber Choir?

MK: This is such a tough question because I’m excited about so many different things. I’m definitely looking forward to creating some new opportunities for donors and subscribers that will allow our artists to engage with them on a much more personal level. I’m also excited about community outreach and our education programs. There is so much potential for growth and collaboration so I can’t wait to see where the new year takes us. Most importantly, I consider it a blessing to be able to support working artists and musicians while facilitating opportunities for the community to soak up such gorgeous art forms!

GR: Do you have a musical background?

MK: Growing up in Dickinson I was part of the mighty Gator Band, played bassoon and oboe, and was in the drumline during marching season. I was a complete and utter band nerd! I can remember when Michael Praetorius’s Dances from Terpsichore was passed out and I saw the beautiful bassoon parts…I was in heaven! My greatest memories to date are from performing as a student and working hard alongside my talented friends. I have to give a shout out to my incredible band directors and mentors, Wade (Mr. Mac) McDonald and John (Mr. H) Hinojosa. They are some of the finest band directors in the state’s history and both must be given credit for my success in school, and honestly, in shaping who I am today.

GR: What Chamber Choir events coming up are you looking forward to the most?

MK: Do I have to pick just one? I’m happy I don’t have to wait too long for my first concert as Managing Director, so Mind Craft on February 24 is the first event on my list! We have a special appreciation event for subscribers that I’m looking forward to, AND I’m excited about our first ever ‘After Party’ immediately following the concert at Yia Yia Mary’s, and look forward to meeting patrons and having the opportunity to talk with the singers and our guest conductor, Alex Blachly! Coming up pretty quickly after Mind Craft, is the Houston Chamber Choir Gala, ‘All That Jazz.’ I love planning galas so I can’t wait for this very special and festive affair! Who doesn’t enjoy a party with great food, music, and people?

GR: Favorite road trip playlist?

MK: I LOVE Pandora, so I’ll select an artist that fits my current mood and let Pandora do the rest. You’ll find me listening to anything from Radiohead to Mozart, Michael Jackson to the Eagles, and even some good old country every now and then. Occasionally, I’ll put on a Youtube playlist with songs from Iranian pop culture, or Indian music.

GR: Favorite food or restaurant in Houston?

MK: I think Aladdin, Miyako, and Bella Green are my top favorites, but I LOVE good TexMex, so Chuy’s is another place you’ll find me.

GR: Coffee or tea?

MK: Definitely tea, but I do enjoy a good hot chocolate! I love to experiment with tea at home, and can make a pretty tasty chai tea latte.

GR: Do you have any hobbies?

MK: My favorite hobbies include pinning on Pinterest and planning out my next decorating project or art activity. I especially love getting away and going to Galveston, or anywhere I can connect with nature and take a 3+ mile walk. I’m also hoping soon to get my hands dirty with some fun landscaping projects. I have also done professional photography since 2006 and deeply enjoy abstract, fine art photography. I like to find the beauty in everything, and abstract photography allows me to do this. It's also incredibly wonderful at relieving stress!

GR: Anything else we should know about you?

MK: I have an absolutely beautiful, silly, and protective little Dachshund who is my treasure! I have this trait that most dog lovers suffer from… If there is an animal anywhere in my vicinity, I have to go make friends with it.