Houston Chamber Choir Announces Diverse 2018-2019 Season, "Art & Soul"

HOUSTON, May 18, 2018 – Houston Chamber Choir is pleased to announce its 23rd season, “Art and Soul,” with a diverse and compelling repertoire featuring exciting guest artists and scholars. For the 2018-2019 season, the Chamber Choir performs with the Kinder HSPVA Chorale and director Shannon Carter, the Parker Elementary School Advanced Chorus and director Marianna Parnas-Simpson, guest artist Kim Nazarian of New York Voices, Musiqa, Apollo Chamber Players and University of Houston scholar and author Dr. Jeffrey Sposato.

“Our season’s tag line is more than a cute riff on Hoagy Carmichael’s classic ‘Heart and Soul,’” says Houston Chamber Choir Artistic Director Robert Simpson. “’Art and Soul’ expresses how we make music — how deeply we care about unlocking the emotional power behind the music we sing."

Houston Chamber Choir opens its ticketed season in September with This is Why I Sing, a concert filled with the joy of music as the Houston Chamber Choir is joined by the Kinder HSPVA Chorale and the Parker Elementary School Advanced Chorus (the oldest magnet school for the arts in HISD). Then switching gears for October, The Joint is Jumpin’: Big Band Favorites is a free concert presenting the greatest music of the Greatest Generation, sponsored in part by the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board.

In November is The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore with myth and spectacle as told by dancers, instrumentalists and choir. The Wondrous Gift is Given: Christmas at the Villa de Matel is back again in December for five performances, a favorite holiday tradition in Houston, also featuring the Apollo Chamber Players and the Treble Choir of Houston.

In January 2019 Houston Chamber Choir celebrates the 20th anniversary of its annual school choir Invitational Choral Festival in Hear the Future, featuring Kinder HSPVA Chorale from Houston ISD and choirs from Tompkins High School from Katy ISD and North Shore High School from Galena Park ISD, in this free Sunday community concert. The public is welcome to attend.

“Each season, the Choir greatly anticipates Hear the Future, which is now in its 20th year,” says Houston Chamber Choir Managing Director Mariam Khalili. “The level of excellence among the choir directors and the gifted students under their tutelage is truly a treasure for audiences to behold. We know our musical future is in good hands after experiencing the gorgeous music from these chorales.”

In February, the Houston Chamber Choir jazzes things up with I Could Write a Book, featuring vocal jazz at its finest with New York Voices' Kim Nazarian. Following in April is Mass Observation, which is a Southwest premiere presented in collaboration with Musiqa.

The 23rd season closes in May with Leipzig after Bach, featuring music of Bach's successors at the Thomaskirche, inspired by the research of University of Houston Professor Jeffrey Sposato.

Houston Chamber Choir 2018-19 Season Schedule

This Is Why I Sing

Saturday, September 29, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m./South Main Baptist Church

Featured Guest Artist: Kinder HSPVA Chorale and Director Shannon Carter, and Parker Elementary School Advanced Chorus and Director Marianna Parnas-Simpson

Houston Chamber Choir’s 23rd season opens with a concert that illustrates the joy of musicians, highlighting our singers’ favorite pieces. This will be an evening of “the best of the best” by composers like Morten Lauridsen, Eric Whitacre and Bob Chilcott, along with John Tavener and Arvo Pärt. The Kinder HSPVA Chorale, under the direction of Shannon Carter, will be our featured guests as they present pieces that have kindled their youthful love for singing. Patrons will be encouraged to participate throughout the summer of 2018 by submitting their favorite songs for consideration. The evening will end with the Chamber Choir performing a sampling of audience favorites.

The Joint is Jumpin': Big Band Favorites

Saturday, October 27, 8 p.m. – 9:30 p.m./Miller Outdoor Theatre

The greatest music of the Greatest Generation.

Houston Chamber Choir’s second concert of the season boasts a program of hits from the Big Band Era that have won the hearts of listeners over many decades. The evening will include songs such as The Andrews Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” Fats Waller’s “The Joint is Jumpin,’” and Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train.” As with all concerts at Miller Outdoor Theatre, this will be free and open to the public, with ample free seating on the hill and around the park. Reserved seating close to the stage is available with the purchase of an individual ticket.

The Unicorn, the Gorgon and the Manticore

Sunday, November 18, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. /St. Philip Presbyterian Church

Myth and spectacle as told by dancers, instrumentalists and choir.

In keeping with our mission to provide a wide range of choral music to the greater community, the Houston Chamber Choir’s third concert of the season presents the work of Gian Carlo Menotti. An enchanting 16th-century madrigal comedy sparked Menotti’s genius when he was commissioned by the Library of Congress to write this work in 1956. Scored for chorus, 10 dancers and nine instruments, it depicts three stages in the life of the story's protagonist, a strange poet who keeps mythical creatures as pets. This staged and costumed presentation affords a welcome opportunity to experience the dramatic flair and tunefulness for which Menotti is so well known. Patrons are invited to join Chamber Choir Singers, Dancers, Instrumentalists and Robert Simpson after the performance for a celebration at Yia Yia Mary's Pappas Mediterranean Kitchen.

The Wondrous Gift is Given: Christmas at the Villa

Friday, December 7, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 8, 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, December 9, 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m./Chapel at the Villa de Matel

Featured Artists: The Treble Choir of Houston and Apollo Chamber Players

An eagerly awaited holiday tradition, our annual Christmas at the Villa concerts feature five stunning performances. Beloved carols and works destined to become classics are offered by the Chamber Choir in the serene beauty of the Chapel of the Villa de Matel.

Joining us for the matinee performances is the Treble Choir of Houston at Christ Church Cathedral, directed by Marianna Parnas-Simpson. Our evening performances will feature the Apollo Chamber Players, a Houston based string quartet.

Hear the Future - 20th Anniversary Celebration

Sunday, January 27, 2019, 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. /South Main Baptist Church

Each year, the Houston Chamber Choir invites three outstanding choirs from the Greater Houston area to participate in their annual invitational choral festival. The school choirs that are featured serve to acknowledge and encourage high standards for all school choirs. Now entering the festival’s 20th year, thousands of students from over 40 of the area's finest school choral programs have participated in Hear the Future.

This coming year we present the Kinder HSPVA Chorale from Houston ISD, Tompkins High School from Katy ISD and North Shore High School from Galena Park ISD. This free Sunday community concert gives audience members a chance to show their support and appreciation for the outstanding work being done by music educators and their talented singers. Join Houston Chamber Choir for this uplifting afternoon. You will agree that the future has never sounded brighter.

Featured Guest Clinician: Dr. Rick Bjella, Director of Choral Studies at Texas Tech University and Artistic Director of the San Antonio Chamber Choir

To celebrate this milestone anniversary, the Houston Chamber Choir will expand the festival to include a Saturday clinic for Title I high school choirs. Leading the clinic will be Dr. Bjella, who will provide expert guidance and encouragement to the high schools participating.

I Could Write a Book

Sunday, February 3, 2019, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m./Ballroom at Bayou Place

Featured Guest Artist: Kim Nazarian from New York Voices

I Could Write A Book presents an exquisite evening of jazz, cabaret style, in the recently opened Ballroom at Bayou Place. Located downtown in the heart of the Theater District, this newer venue makes the perfect setting for this intimate evening of jazz favorites. Audience members, seated cabaret style will enjoy a range of food and beverage choices.

Kim Nazarian is a vocalist, teacher, lyricist, Grammy-nominated arranger and Grammy award-winning ensemble singer. She is the soprano and one of the founding members of New York Voices, the only vocal group in recent memory to win two Grammys for live concert recordings (one of Brazilian music with Paquito D’Rivera, the other for Big Band Jazz with the Count Basie Orchestra). She has recorded, performed and toured the world with this outstanding vocal ensemble for the past 20 years.

Mass Observation

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m./St. Philip Presbyterian Church

A joint presentation of Musiqa and the Houston Chamber Choir

Tarik O’Regan is at the forefront of the most dynamic and frequently performed composers at work today. His startling original work “Mass Observation,” scored for choir and six percussionists receives its southwest premiere with the Houston Chamber Choir’s performance. It is a poignant meditation on the histories of our varied ambivalent relationships with surveillance in its myriad guises. The work takes its title from the British social research organization, Mass-Observation, which aimed to record everyday life in the United Kingdom. Rounding out the program will be works by two Houston composers.

This exciting concert will be a true collaboration with our friends at Musiqa. Subscribers will be invited to a pre-concert discussion with Houston Chamber Choir Artistic Director Robert Simpson, and Artistic Director of Musiqa, Anthony Brandt. Patrons are then invited to join Simpson and Brandt along with Chamber Choir singers and instrumentalists, immediately after the performance at Yia Yia Mary's Pappas Mediterranean Kitchen.

Leipzig after Bach

Saturday, May 18, 2019, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m./South Main Baptist Church

Featured Guest: Dr. Jeffrey Sposato, Associate Professor of Musicology and Director of Graduate Studies

The Houston Chamber Choir’s final concert of the 2018-2019 Season, Leipzig After Bach, provides the final piece to our diverse and entertaining season of choral music. The names Johann Doles, Johann Hiller and Johann Schicht may not register with us today but they were among those entrusted with the musical life of the Thomaskirche after the time of J.S. Bach. Assisted by noted University of Houston scholar Jeffrey Sposato, author of the upcoming book this concert is based upon, we take a rare look into the music for chorus and orchestra of these composers whose work has been largely overshadowed by the brilliance of their illustrious predecessor. Following the concert, patrons and Houston Chamber Choir singers will come together to celebrate the close of another wonderful season of choral music.

Managing Director Khalili notes that Houston Chamber Choir has launched a young professionals (YP) organization which includes a subscription to concerts and tickets to two private young professional events. Additionally, YP subscription holders will receive a drink ticket and complimentary light bites at post-concert parties, as well as the opportunity to mix and mingle with their peers and Houston Chamber Choir members.

The Houston Chamber Choir is a professional ensemble of 26 singers who have trained at the best conservatories and music schools around the country. In 2018, the Chamber Choir received the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from Chorus America. They also received The American Prize for best choral performance in the country and its Artistic Director Robert Simpson received the award in the conducting category in 2015. The Chamber Choir recently finished recording their fifth CD, The Complete Choral Works of Maurice Duruflé, with organist Ken Cowan in June 2017.

Subscriptions, single tickets, and additional information are available online at https://houstonchamberchoir.org/subscriptions/ or by calling 713-224-5566. Patrons who become subscribers receive a Friend Pass for each subscription they purchase. In a special promotion, if a subscription is purchased before June 15, the subscriber receive two Friend Passes.

Published in Houston Syle Magazine online on May 18, 2018.