Support Choral Music in Houston
Houston Chamber Choir
Countless studies have proven that exposure to the arts benefits students in many ways, including improved achievement in reading, math, and social studies. Houston Chamber Choir is proud to play a vital role in the lives of choral students across the Greater Houston Area.
Our current education initiatives are composed of three main components: Youth Ambassador Outreach, Hear the Future Choral Festival, and our Choral Music Internship focusing on artistic and nonprofit administration.
The state of Texas is well known for its choral music programs at the high school level in many districts, with major UIL competitions being at the forefront of Texas music educators’ calendars. However, not all districts can afford to provide opportunities outside of the classroom for professional development and artistic experiences. Houston Chamber Choir will play a major role in supporting area music educators and their students with the roll-out of the Youth Ambassador Program and facilitate beneficial opportunities for all parties. As one of the premier professional choirs in the United States, Houston Chamber Choir values the opportunity to connect with educators and students with the understanding that outreach can have lifelong impacts.
The Youth Ambassador initiative started as a pilot program in September of 2018, and has since evolved into a multifaceted program that benefits students and their music educators. We are proud to present multiple opportunities during the school year that will further our mission of increasing the awareness, appreciation, and esteem of choral music and musicians through performance, outreach, and education.
Private rehearsal viewings for educators and their students mixed with professional group instruction for the visiting students.
Four area choir directors have been selected to bring their chamber choir students to private Houston Chamber Choir rehearsals during the 2019-2020 school year, allowing professional development experiences for the directors as well as their students. At the conclusion of each rehearsal, Houston Chamber Choir artistic leadership and singers will coach the visiting students in a brief masterclass setting on a pre-selected piece the participating school is currently rehearsing for UIL competition. This initiative will be completely free for participating schools and give our local music educators valuable support.
Up to ten choir directors will be invited to bring their students to two different ticketed Houston Chamber Choir concerts during the season.
Approximately 150 students and chaperones will be served at each concert. Students will participate in a pre-concert lecture with composers, singers, and artistic leadership, enjoy the call-time private rehearsal prior to doors opening to the public, and be served dinner in a gathering space that will allow students and directors to meet peers from other local schools. Each evening will be fully subsidized by the Houston Chamber Choir and will provide networking and professional development opportunities critical to ensuring Houston Chamber Choir’s mission of promoting the appreciation and esteem of choral music.
Houston Chamber Choir offers ongoing opportunities for all area high school choral students to enroll in the Youth Ambassadors Subscription package.
The Youth Ambassador ticket package gives students access to ticketed concerts, dinner, and pre-concert lectures and rehearsal viewing for $10 per concert. Area music educators will have the opportunity to nominate deserving students for this program, at no cost to the selected students. Additionally, participating students can apply to volunteer with the Chamber Choir as student leaders and secure necessary National Honor Society volunteer hours.
Hear the Future
Each year, the Houston Chamber Choir invites three outstanding choirs from the Greater Houston area to participate in our annual invitational choral festival, Hear the Future. The school choirs that are featured serve to acknowledge and encourage high standards for all school choirs. Now entering the festival’s 21st year, thousands of students from over 40 of the area's finest school choral programs have participated in Hear the Future.
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 and provides the exciting opportunity for our community’s youth to perform alongside the award-winning professionals of the Houston Chamber Choir. Professional development opportunities abound!
In 2019 Houston Chamber Choir expanded the festival to include a Saturday clinic for eight Title I high school choirs. Due to the incredible success of the expansion, the Choir will be continuing this new tradition for its 2020 Hear the Future Festival. Leading this year’s clinic will be Dr. Kristina Caswell MacMullen, Associate Professor of Choral Studies at The University of North Texas College of Music, who will provide expert coaching and masterclass techniques to the high schools participating.
CHORAL MUSIC INTERNSHIP
Houston has several major universities with choral music programs that would benefit from enhanced experiences at the professional level. In 2018 the Houston Chamber Choir introduced a paid internship program for doctoral level students that provided hands-on training in nonprofit administration and executive management, and the opportunity to conduct and learn under the leadership of Houston Chamber Choir Founder and Artistic Director, Robert Simpson. Brian Cook, a DMA candidate from the University of Houston was the selected intern for the 2018-2019 season. Mr. Cook enjoyed spending 2.5 hours per week with Houston Chamber Choir executive and operations staff and additional 4 hours per week with the Artistic Director and singers, conducting rehearsals, working one-on-one with artists and ultimately conducting one to two pieces at each ticketed concert during the 2018-2019 season. The experience was phenomenal for the staff and for the singers and provided remarkable learning experiences for all parties. Houston Chamber Choir is excited to continue the internship program and will host a new DMA student for the 2019-2020 season.