Recap: Houston Chamber Choir 23rd Season Kick-off Party

Carol Brejot,

(713) 503-3885


WHAT:   Some 85 Houston Chamber Choir supporters and singers mixed and mingled on a late Sunday afternoon to celebrate the Choir’s 23rd season, Art & Soul, with a first-ever season kick-off party. Guests enjoyed libations, including wine and beer, along with a delicious spread by Local Foods, in Greenwood King Properties’ striking lobby space in Upper Kirby, generously arranged by GK Associate Nancy Younger Kruka, a long-time Houston Chamber Choir supporter, and GK Associate Elaine Ellender.

 Managing Director Mariam Khalili welcomed the party-goers and expressed her excitement about the new season, which begins Sept. 29 with “This Is Why I Sing.” She also thanked Nancy Younger Kruka and Elaine Ellender for their roles in providing the venue.  Artistic Director Robert Simpson then warmly greeted the audience and echoed Mariam’s enthusiasm about the diverse season, noting that the Houston Chamber Choir is fortunate to have some of the finest professional choral singers not only in Texas but in the country. He then opened up the performance part of the event to give a little taste of the season, first introducing soprano Kelli Lawless, who sang a French allegory by composer Henri Duparc, titled “Extase.”

 The Choir was then led by Robert Simpson in a Russian pieced titled “Unknown Lady.”

Baritone Rameen Chaharbaghi then delighted the audience with “Chanson Romanesque,” from the cycle Don Quichotte a Dulcinee by Maurice Ravel.  The final song was “Blue Skies,” a favorite of the Choir and a theme noted by Simpson about the bright present and future of the organization he founded in 1995.


Andreea Muţ served as keyboard accompanist for the singers.


WHEN:                 Sunday, Sept. 16


WHERE:               Greenwood King Properties

                                3201 Kirby Dr., 77098



Board Members

William McKenzie, President

Dr. Warren Ellsworth IV and wife Dr. Rachel Ellsworth 

Rick Kellogg

Jack Byrom

Frank Hood



Robert Simpson and wife Marianna Simpson

Mariam Khalili

Grace Roman


Additional Guests


Mariquita Masterson

Judy and Tom Cronin

Martha Palmer

Kathy and Andre Jackson

Eliza Nicholson

Mary and John Arnesdorf

Nancy and Carter Hixon

Judy and Harry Bristol

Nancy Younger Kruka and Veet Kruka

Pat Hardesty

Raphaële Malandain

Charlotte Jones

Cindy and David Lestage

Betty Cody

Enrique Barerra

Floyd Robinson

John Lay

Jose Cortez

Joseph LoCicero, Jr.

Beth Braun

Alphonso Seals

Bryan Depan

Clipper Hamrick

Elizabeth Hoard

Fiorella Velez

Jennifer Crippen

Joshua Chavira

Kelli and Scott Lawless

Lauren Lestage

Lindsey and Joshua Wilson

Patrick Schneider

Rameen Chaharbaghi

Randy Murrow

Rebecca Castillo

Ryan Stickney


PHOTOS:             Jeff Grass Photography


MORE INFO:                                                                        


About Houston Chamber Choir

The Houston Chamber Choir has established itself as one of the premier professional choirs in the United States, serving Houston through concerts and educational initiatives that enlighten, entertain, and educate people of all ages. Winner of Chorus America’s 2018 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, it has been described by The Tallis Scholars founder Peter Phillips as “one of this country’s leading ensembles.”

Led by Artistic Director Robert Simpson, the Houston Chamber Choir is composed of 20 professional singers, most of whom have studied at the top music schools and conservatories in the United States including Julliard, New England Conservatory, University of Houston, and the University of Texas. These musicians are selected through rigorous auditions from the finest singers in our region and are compensated for all rehearsals and performances.

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