Houston Boychoir Family Concerts
AUDITIONS, CHOIRS & WINTER CONCERT 2013
by Bernadette Verzosa
A WINTER CONCERT 2013
First Presbyterian Church, 5300 Main Street
Two Performances on Sunday, December 15: 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. & 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Resonating within the walls of the historic St. John Church is the ethereal sound of pure young voices singing in unison. On this evening, the beautiful voices that fill the sanctuary belong to members of the Houston Boychoir.
“People come from miles around to witness this unique artistic expression,” says Artistic Director Carole Nelson. “It has an important place in our city. It’s a cultural enrichment to our city.”
Nelson has been a guiding force at the Houston Boychoir for more than twenty years. She and her staff work with music teachers in elementary schools in the Houston area to identify, recruit and audition talented boys with unchanged voices who are between the ages of eight and fourteen.
“They come from a variety of backgrounds, a variety of schools. Their common bond is music,” says Nelson. “This is a place that provides belonging for the boys with their music and shared experienced. This is a second home.”
PREPARATORY CHOIR & CHAMBER CHOIR
This year, 50 boys are in the beginning Preparatory Choir. Martin Ibarra, a 9-year-old from Roberts Elementary in Southgate, started the music program last fall. “I was really excited when they accepted me. When I sing it makes me chill out and relax,” says Ibarra. “My mom likes when I sing. It feels really good when people start clapping.”
Another first-year choirboy is 12-year-old Trace Rogers who attends Carter Lomax Middle School in Pasadena. His mom, Julie Nolin, says the Houston Boychoir is refining her son’s raw talent.
“Trace is an excellent singer. Ever since he was little he loved to sing and he sings constantly,” says Nolin. “Here they learn technique and discipline. They go from boys to men. I love it.”
The boys rehearse weekly at Christ the King Lutheran Church. After some time in the Preparatory Choir, many boys move on to the more advanced Chamber Choir. Jacob Miller, a 13-year-old from Pin Oak Middle School in Bellaire, has been singing with the choir for five years. “It’s a great experience singing, getting to perform and connecting with the music. I’ve made tons of friends who are also interested in music,” says Miller. “Another benefit or reward is to see the audience during and after your performance, to see them in awe and happy.”
PERFORMANCES FOR CHILDREN & FAMILIES
Adrian Alhadidi, a 13-year-old from Lanier Middle School, has been a member of the Chamber Choir for four years, and has his own pre-show ritual: searching the audience for his mom.
Alhadidi says he loves performing at concerts but it was singing for patients at Texas Children’s Hospital that brought him special satisfaction. “When we sang for them, some of the parents were in there, too, and some of the parents were singing with us,” observed Alhadidi. “We were supposed to be looking at the conductor but whenever I looked over I saw somebody smiling. It was nice to know they were smiling because of us. That felt good.”
Nelson noted, “The kids were the same ages as the boys and younger. It was a very moving experience for all, the staff, the families and the boy singers themselves.”
The Houston Boychoir was established in 1962 by the Houston Independent School District. Back then, the group was called The Singing Boys of Houston. Over the years, the Houston Boychoir has performed across Texas, around the United States and in several countries overseas.
Here in Houston, they often sing with the city’s major performing arts organizations including the Houston Symphony Orchestra. They have also sung the National Anthem for Houston’s professional sports teams – the Dynamos, the Astros, the Rockets and the Texans.
THE OLDE BOYS CHOIR & ALUMNI CHOIR
Two years ago, the Houston Boychoir started the Olde Boys Choir because some high school age members whose voices had changed wanted to continue singing with their friends.
Kevon Bradford, a 16-year-old who now attends the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, has been with the Houston Boychoir for seven years. “They’re kind of like family. I see them all the time. We hang out together and have fun. I also enjoy music now more than I did before,” he says.
Bradford is just one of the hundreds of boys Nelson has mentored. “One of my biggest joys is the fact that I have some close relationships and friendships with boys from decades ago,” she says. “To have watched them grow up and take on responsibilities, work, families. To watch them become parents themselves and to see what fine people they are, that is one of my biggest joys.”
On a daily basis, what inspires Nelson is the singing. “The sound of boys singing is magical. It’s a great environment to be in.”
For more information on the Houston Boychoir, call 281-484-1560 or visit www.houstonboychoir.org.