Houston Boychoir Receives Prestigious Award from Mid-America Arts Alliance

Through a competitive application process, Houston Boychoir has been selected by the Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) to participate in a unique project called ENGAGE Houston. In a two-year time frame, with hands on guidance, HBC will strengthen its governance, planning, resource development, and civic engagement capacity, which will enable HBC to grow its mission now and for the future. The award, which coincides with Houston Boychoir’s 50th Anniversary Season, is designed to assist staff and board members in building capacity as a cultural leader in Houston, empowering HBC to strengthen and sustain itself for the next 50 years.

As a cultural organization, Houston Boychoir has a strong history of partnership with and service to the Houston community. Working with HISD and the schools, with Texas Children’s Hospital and its commitment to arts in medicine, with Writers in the Schools and with Houston’s greatest cultural treasures: Houston Bach Society, Bay Area Chorus, Hope Stone Dance, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Mercury Orchestra and many more.  Houston Boychoir brings  unique resources of children and the arts to the Houston cultural landscape.

M-AAA, a nonprofit regional arts organization serving Texas and four other states, worked in formal partnership with Houston Endowment to provide 30 arts and cultural organizations in the Houston area the opportunity to address the unique needs of Houston’s cultural infrastructure, “using an outcome-based evaluation approach to ensure effectiveness, ultimately resulting in strengthened cultural institutions – a benefit to all residents and visitors of the Houston area.” Houston Endowment supports nonprofit organizations and educational institutions that produce and maximize enduring benefits for the people of the greater Houston area. Jesse H. and Mary Gibbs Jones established Houston Endowment as a private philanthropic foundation in 1937 to help create a community where the opportunity to thrive is available to all.

The Big Dam Bridge

Boys arrived in the morning at the church eager to swap stories about where they stayed and what their families were like.  After hearing their stories and watching them bask in their new-found royalty, it is easy to see why they enjoy the event. Some of the boys were taken to the Big Dam Bridge, which they liked saying over and over and over again. Two of the boys saw fireflies for the first time. Now there’s a reason to get out of the city!! Boys are treated to baskets of snacks in their rooms and a few were taken to Five Guys for burgers, though they already had eaten dinner! Michael said his family’s home was like a palace and I am wondering if perhaps the adults might not like to billet in homes and be indulged in the manner to which they would like to become accustomed. After endless one-up-man-ship, it was time to settle in to the purpose of our business. Warm up the body, mind, and spirit and be prepared to enhance a congregation’s worship experience through music as only they can sing it.

A congregational point of view.

The rest of the day was spent in play. Work hard play hard. A beautiful countryside estate afforded the boys swimming, canoeing, tennis and their beloved basketball!! Then began a water game where one small tennis ball entertained 17 boys for hours!

All in all, a good day where the sun shone down on boys who sing and home they went, exhausted and happy.

First adventure off the bus

So, forty-five minutes outside of Houston Ms.Nelson says,”ooh look, that’s pretty, where are we?” The Woodlands replied Mr Fowler…45 said Ms. Holt. 45…45…45… Oh no we’re supposed to be on 59.  So we got off  I45 at HiWay 150 and went to New Waverly. Then jumped to FM 222 to Livingston, over the dam to FM 3278 to FM 1988 to Pan American drive to 59!!!

OK so we only lost 45 minutes but thanks to Ms Holt we saved 3 hours. She is now the designated navigator! Every tour needs one. Boys are happy just being together, didn’t know the difference! All they care about is lunch! First stop Nacogdoches!

Jonathan, Cem and Keaton first lunch of the tour.

Back on the bus it is time for rehearsal. Boys are ready and off we go with a little Exultate  Justi. When a good dose was finished the staff at the front of the bus spent a goodly portion of time singing in close harmony at the front of the bus. Who are the choir nerds now!

Travel, travel, travel. The countryside is lush and green with rolling hills and at last we arrive in Little Rock, at six o’clock. We disembark the bus and jog around the parking lot a few times to get the kinks out and at last we are let into the church. Mr. Bey leads a rousing rehearsal for Praise His Holy Name as families enter the sanctuary in anticipation of picking up their very own choir boy for a night or two.

Ms. Nelson continues the rehearsal, willing their voices to hold for just a few days more. It has been a huge semester of growth. Yes, make that physical growth, which means disaster for a choir made up primarily of trebles. But these are smart boys and good musicians and we make it work.

Boys are home with families making new friends and the staff has earned some well deserved rest. The morning will come quickly.

Traveling for 30

Image

Preparing for 30 to hit the trail for a concert tour is a bit like packing up a three-ring circus. In one ring you have boys: energetic, enthusiastic, enigmatic, ever-loving, voice changing boys!! In one ring you have stuff: med forms, snacks, props and costumes, gifts and cards, first aid,  kit, water, extra music, notes, notes and notes about where to go and what to do and of course, lists!!  In the third ring you have the adventure waiting to happen: friends to meet, concerts to sing, sites to see and memories to make.

In the morning bright and early we will hit the road.