Staff and Board of Directors
Ms. Nelson was on the faculty of the Music Department at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts for 25 years as a choir director and the voice teacher. She left HSPVA to serve as the Artistic Director for Houston Boychoir. She has prepared choirs for work with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera, the orchestra and opera program of the Moores School of Music, Opera in the Heights and the Houston Bach Society. Prepared works include: Karl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Boito’s Mephistopholes, Bizet’s Carmen, Puccini’s La Boheme and both of Mahler’s Choral Symphonies No. 2 and No. 8.
She has led Houston Boychoir in concert tours of Washington DC, Chicago, New York, St. Louis and various cities throughout the United States. Foreign tours have included a fourteen-day tour of the Republic of China and most recently a concert tour of East Germany including Leipzig, Berlin and Dresden and led the choir in its debut in Carnegie Hall in 2008. Mostly recently the choir toured South Africa serving as youth ambassadors of Houston’s Cultural Arts.
Ms. Nelson is on the Board of the Southwest ACDA and she has presented choirs at national and state conferences. She is in demand as a clinician and director of Honor Choirs both locally and throughout the United States.
In addition to performing as a freelance pianist throughout Houston, John Markert also serves as director with the Houston Boychoir and as director of choral activities at Northbrook High School. He has performed internationally with instrumentalists and choral groups including international choral festivals in Manila and Bangkok, sponsored by the Association of South East Asian Schools, and in performance with flutist Catherine LeGrand in a cultural exchange concert at the Göethe Institute, Bangkok, under the auspices of the US Embassy. After receiving a Master’s degree in organ performance from Indiana University, John began teaching choir in Houston, Texas. Shortly thereafter, John also became the music director at Zion Lutheran Church in the Heights and spent a great deal of energy developing the music program there. He started several new outreach programs including a Scholarship Singer program in which high school juniors and seniors served as weekly paid singers. Additionally, John began an annual children’s hymn fest where area elementary students work with renowned choir directors and organists from throughout the country in a weekend workshop and children’s hymnfest. In the summers John likes to spend his time attending seminars and workshops, and traveling to Thailand.
Ms. Holt has been the music teacher and elementary choral director at The Rice School/La Escuela Rice where she was voted “Teacher of the Year” in 2003. Over her career, she has been guest clinician/director for the Spring ISD Elementary Honor Choir for several seasons, and a presenter at the 2006, TMEA convention. Her choirs have been invited to perform in and around the city of Houston at such venues as the Hear the Future 2006 concert with the Houston Chamber Chorus, and the 10th anniversary celebration for the Center for the Healing of Racism. More recently, she directed The Rice School Honors Choir at the 2007 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) convention.
Ms. Holt holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Southwest Baptist
University, where she graduated Cum Laude, was voted Most Outstanding Music Graduate, and was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda. She has also earned a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance from Baylor University and is Kodaly Certified.Graduate, and was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda. She has also earned a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance from Baylor University, in Waco, Texas, and is Kodaly Certified.
Vasti Cantú Adkins
Vasti Cantú Adkins received her Bachelor‘s degree in Music Education from Houston Baptist University and is a graduate of Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Mrs. Adkins has taught at both the elementary school and the middle school levels having served as the elementary music specialist at Harvard Elementary School and as a choir director at the Meyerland School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She teaches piano, general music and voice at St. Addrew‘s School of Fine Arts (SOFA) and has held staff musician positions at various churches in the Houston area including Iglesia Fe y Poder, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and Christian Tabernacle. Vasti is in high demand as a singer and a teacher and she just released her first EP, Emanuel found on Apple Music.
Keith Dixon graduated from Northwestern State University. He has taught in Houston area school districts such as Spring Branch, Alief, Humble, and Klein, and continues to teach public school music part time. He was a founding director of the Spring Branch Boy Choir, conducted the Bay Area Chorus for 19 years, and has filled an interim teaching position at LSU. He sings with the Houston Symphony Chorus and acts as a rehearsal conductor. His membership with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers greatly influenced his teaching method. He grew up in Anacoco, Louisiana where his interest in music began.
An advocate for high-quality music education programs, Haley Bartell serves on the Houston Boychoir staff to facilitate program development and communication. Haley began working with the Houston Boychoir as an accompanist in 2017 after completing her Master of Music degree in Musicology at Northwestern University. She earned her undergraduate degree in Piano Performance at Baylor University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with distinction for work in music theory and musicology. Outside of Houston Boychoir, Haley is a church musician at Sojourn Heights and she volunteers for visual arts programs in the greater Houston area. Additionally, Haley runs a piano studio in the Heights, and she is on faculty at Trinity Classical School, teaching general music, choir, and fine arts. She enjoys traveling, studying languages, and staying active with her dog.
Board of Directors
Fred Nevill, President
Jayne Fowler, secretary
*Brittain Cunningham, treasurer
* Matthew Fowler
* Paul Roch
* Scott Allen
* Neeki Bey
*Gene McKelvey, Past President
Dr. Wendell Mendell
Dr. Robert Nelson
Dr. Michael Remson
*Houston Boychoir Alumnus