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We build men of character

How do we do this?  There are the rehearsals of course, each of which is a demanding 90 minutes of focused concentration. This is where an 8 year old begins his tenure in the choir, taught by music experts who understand the learning styles that are unique to boys. He will  tackle all the elements of music (rhythm, melody and harmony) and how to sing and how to blend as one voice. But this is only the “visible” part of the program.13177494_1192337600799295_1422001380546164117_n

Building anything of value takes time, attention to detail, opportunity and experience. At Houston Boychoir we offer those opportunities and experiences. Most recently boys attended Houston Grand Opera’s production of Carousel at the Wortham Theater Center. Here they experienced great singing, high quality production and the opportunity to interact with Houstonians who care about the arts. Boys dressed up for the theater and conducted themselves as gentlemen do.

On the first Saturday in May our Preparatory Choir took their annual Day Tour. On this trip they sang at a retirement community and witnessed how their gifts  of music impacted others on a personal level. From there, they stopped in Galveston at The Children’s Center, a place that operates to serve the homeless, the neglected, the abandoned, the abused or forgotten. They sang yes, but they have also spent weeks collecting gift cards, diapers, clothing, personal hygiene products, school supplies and more. Through this experience these boys they experienced the joy of giving as well as gained a deeper appreciation for their life circumstances.

These were two completely different experiences, each one designed to influence various aspects of the life of a man of character. I invite you to join us in our mission. You can volunteer, you can donate or perhaps you know of a boy who could benefit from a program such as this. The Houston Boychoir, it will change your life!

Visit our website and see how to audition.

Young men with a mission.

 

They Are Warriors

Caroling14He might be 8 years old or he might be 18, but every day he gets up and goes to school and then, 1 or 2 days a week after school he attends choir rehearsal where he learns the art of self discipline, of mental gymnastics, of precision  to detail, of nuance of language (both his own and foreign tongue), and of the physical stamina required to stand for long hours of rehearsal. He develops drive and the ambition to be better than he is. He learns how to be a team member, how to support his fellow choristers by knowing his part and by knowing what he is a part of. He learns how to take direction and he learns how to ask questions.

In addition to all of this, the boy gives up one Saturday a month to continue to add to his understanding of music, of teamwork and of himself. He must maintain excellence in all things: his grades, his conduct and his health. Then, come late November and December his schedule becomes the battlefield. He will participate in up to 20 performances, he will still have to take final exams or end of course work and when school is over and the concerts are done, he will take one more day to give to his community by spending 8 hours in the Houston Medical Center to give the gift of his music for patients, families, doctors, nurses and all hospital support staff.

In a few days these boys will begin the process again. They will happily come to rehearsal eager to see what new adventures will lie before them, adventures in music, in friendship, and in the journey we call life.

These are our future parents, educators, and leaders. We salute you singing boys everywhere!

Two Locations make Houston Boychoir twice as accessible and twice as fun!

 

Houston Boychoir is conveniently located in two areas of our city, making it even more accessible.

Houston Boychoir is conveniently located in two areas of our city, making it even more accessible

If you live outside the 610 Loop or north of Westheimer or 290 or I10, you will find our West Campus most convenient. It is a great place for multi tasking.  Run errands while your son is rehearsing or add steps to your Fitbit mall walking! We share our beautiful space with the Virtuosi of Houston Studio.

Memorial City Mall
303 Memorial City Way #235
Houston, TX 77024
Virtuosi Studio is in Memorial City Mall at the Target entrance near Macy's

Virtuosi Studio is in Memorial City Mall at the Target entrance near Macy’s

West Campus

Or you might find our Central Campus more convenient. In the heart of the city, it is located adjacent to Rice University and the West University Village at Christ the King Lutheran Church. The area is rich with opportunity.

Central Campus

Which ever campus you attend, our directors are top notch, the best in the field of elementary music and specialists working with young boys. You will find that when your son is engaged in singing, he is a healthier, happier boy and who doesn’t want that!

A Season in Preview

Fun in Robes at Bayou Bend

Fun in Robes at Bayou Bend

The upcoming 2015 – 2016 Season is taking shape

 October 4th 6:00PM Sunday – St. Thomas University, Sister Cities Opening Ceremony

October 11th, at 11:00 AM, First Lutheran Evangelical Church,

December 2nd 5:00PM Wednesday – MFAH Donor Party at Bayou Bend

December 10th 7:00PM Thursday – Texas Children’s Hospital Holiday Party at First Presbyterian

December 12 & 13 5:30 to 8:30 PM for the Heritage Society Annual Candle Light Tours atSam Houston Park in the St. John’s Church

December 20th 4:00 & 7:00PM Sunday – Winter Concert at First Presbyterian

January 31st 8:00AM Sunday – Church services at Gloria Dei Lutheran

February 6th 4:00PM Saturday – Sing 4 Life Concert at Grace Presbyterian

March 26, 2016, 5thAnnual Status of Boys Scholarship Luncheon, Junior League

April 10th at 5:00 PM, Concert for St. Philip Presbyterian Concert Series

May 15th 4:00 PM Sunday – Spring Concert at Moores Opera House, U of H

Church services at Christ the King, First Presbyterian, Grace Presbyterian

National Anthems for Houston Rockets and Houston Astros

Houston Boychoir Parents!

Our parents involved at our boychoir picnic!

Our parents involved at our boychoir picnic!

One of the most valuable resources in our organization is- hands down our parents! Without parental input and support we would never be able to run a successful choir and help create responsible men out of the boys who come to us. At Houston Boychoir we know and appreciate the value of our parent volunteers. They are awesome caring people who have a multitude of talents that include: sewing, photography, writing, art design, costuming, marketing, video, sales, organizational skills, accounting and book-keeping, cooking, nursing, event planning, communications, design, business, musical skills, sales, computer skills, and so much more.

Parents provide the backbone to our community and it can frequently be seen in the success of the boys whose parents are involved most! But now, scientific studies prove that parental involvement is beneficial to the child, to the parents and to the entire family.

1. Parents are able to be involved in more after-school programs than in-school programs because it usually coincides with their work schedules. Milton J. Little, Jr., President of United Way Atlanta says, “Research shows that students are better off in after-school programs linked to their school activities and where their families are involved and engaged with what they are learning and how they are spending their afternoons.”

Parent pic 1

Our parent fetching water for boys!

2. By being more involved in these programs, parents are more able to monitor their child’s progress and have regular correspondence with the teachers to ensure their child is receiving the right attention for his specific needs.

3. Parents are also educated about the specialized activity their child is involved in, which in our case, is being in a choir and singing. Parent’s musical knowledge and ability can even be built up as they become more involved in what their child is doing.

4. Parents involvement also makes it possible for the organization to do more with less. When parents volunteer less money is spent on staff and more resources are available in direct programming for boys, allowing provision for as many learning opportunities as possible.

Parent pic 2

Parents getting together to plan future meals.

5. Parents involvement can also support more positive parent-child relationships at home (Priscilla Little, Research and Strategy Consultant). Children feel more encouraged when they can see their parents involved in the after-school program, and can go home and discuss it with their parent.

We know parents and their children have many opportunities for after school engagement, “But all these innovative programs and expanded opportunities will not, in and of themselves, make a difference if each of us, as parents and as community leaders, fail to do our part by encouraging excellence in our children.”
– President Barack Obama

So here’s to our parents, we salute you!

San Antonio TMEA trip!

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Peformance time!

Houston Boychoir was extremely honored to perform at this year’s Texas Music Educator’s Association on February 13th! TMEA was great– hats off to Colleen Riddle for organizing the Elementary Division. It was fantastic hearing other choirs and it really added to the development of our group.

The boys had a great time after the show,  exploring Texas history, riding the river and experiencing the fiesta of San Antonio!

Here are a few pictures of our San Antonio trip!

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Preparing for the show!

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Riding the river!

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Our awesome directors!

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Cooling down with some ice cream!

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Dinner with the spirit of fiesta!

Touring: The Invaluable Experience

Each season Houston Boychoir embarks on a concert tour, somewhere. It could be across the state or it could be across the country. But, in this, our 50th anniversary season, 25 incredibly lucky boys traveled across the globe to South Africa.

The choristers think this is their big reward for working hard all year and being in the choir. As their director, I know their reward comes in all they learn.  If you are one of those angels who have supported Houston Boychoir in all they do and even more this season with the grand tour, here, in their voice is how much you impacted a bunch of pre-teen boys.

On Tour:

I learned how to be responsible and how to manage time wisely. These two things will get me far in life…Liam A. 8th grade

Sometimes long bus rides with your friends are more fun than short plane rides and patience and flexibility really are keys to being successful…Nicholas V. 7th grade

I learned how to pack efficiently, lead a group responsibly, and how to interact with new people with a different world view…Jonathan Z. 8th grade

On tour I learned how to quickly put on my formal uniform while still doing it correctly…Coleman H. 6th grade

I learned how to be responsible for myself! Keeping track of my stuff, waking up at the right time, spending money in controlled amounts, and making sure I keep up with the group.  I think these are important life skills that are necessary to succeed…Patrick J. 6th grade

On tour, this tour especially, I learned patience. Being with a younger person and trying to understand their position is what has helped me learn this skill. There are too many things I could write for what I learned but I will just focus on one. The greatest thing I learned was maturity, a lesson that I am grateful for…Jacob M. 8th grade

I learned on tour that many countries are as modern as America and in the choir I learned that if you work hard, you will make the group better…David G. 5th grade

I learned how to pack my bag, how to be ready when it is time to move and how to listen for instructions…Royce S. 6th grade

I have learned how to pack my own bag and how to organize myself…Elliot S. 5th grade

On tour I’ve learned about communicating with people I don’t know (strangers). The home stays challenged me socially because I have trouble catching on but from now on I have a better idea of what to do. I am less shy from this experience…Gerry M. 6th grade

The thing I learned from tour is that you have to be formal for most of the time and you can’t be rude to anyone. What I learned from the choir this year is that you always have fun and you are a professional…anon.

As the directors and staff ready for a new season and new boys we look with enthusiasm for all the learning we can do along side these remarkable boys. Thank you for all your support and see you at the concerts.Image

 

Musings with wifi

It will be a quick post. Technology is so easy at home…life is so easy at home. On the road, life is unpredictable. So wonderful for us here. An unforgettable experience that these boys will remember forever. Today they have made new friends with South African singing boys…The Drakensberg are fantastic and lovely hospitable people.

I’m at a loss for words, South Africa is just amazing. We had a scrumptious breakfast on the balcony of our hotel, in front of a breathtaking sunrise. The warm, beaming sun isn’t the only thing that blows us away though, after about a half hour drive from the hotel, we arrived at a beautiful beach, overlooking the Indian Ocean. The water is crystal clear, and it’s a beautiful bright blue. You can actually see what’s in the water, unlike some other beaches I know….Galveston 🙂 A crisp cold water brushed our feet as most of us ran into the water with great excitement. Now we’re on our way to Drakensberg, on a 5 hour bus ride.
Lots of the other guys are playing games on the bus. However, I think there’s something else that we’ve all learned on our journey here so far, and that is how privileged we are in America, and how on many occasions, we take these privileges for granted. Some of the really simple things we have in the US aren’t found here. Take going to school, in the US, most of our public education here is free or of a low cost, because we pay taxes and such to the government. In South Africa though, many families can’t afford to pay for their child’s education, so going to school here is a serious privilege. On some of the bus rides before, we’ve passed by some poor communities, and I think that made us all reflect on how we should all appreciate all we’ve got back home in America. We all look forward to our time in Drakensburg, and hope for a great time there.
(JZ)

After the beach in Durban, we headed for the mountains. Our stop along the way took us to a waterfall in Howick. The artisans were out selling their wares. My favorite was an artist selling batiks from Malawi. The boys were happy buying and buying, spending their Rand. Matthew bought a wooden, carved letter opener he will have check or the plane will think he has a spear!!

Lunch was relaxed under a grand old tree and for a minute, it didn’t feel like tour but more like a relaxed vacation with a big family! Ms. Holt found a wonderful shop and dragged Ms. Nelson where the two ladies got into a buying frenzy. Mr. Bey had to go and drag them out of the shop and the boys were happy at last when they reemerged and got on the bus so we could be on our way.

We are traveling through the mountains, climbing.

Musings of a Traveling Singing Boy (or chaperone)
Every day on tour, especially an international tour, brings another adventure… what will we get to eat, what mode of transportation will we get to travel by and what new stories will we get to write? South Africa is definitely better than advertised. The landscapes and cityscapes are simply remarkable and they should only get better as we transition from the coastlines to the mountains. To steal a slogan from a South African bank (that was actually used as a sermon illustration on Sunday), “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” It’s the “simplicity” of music that has brought us on this journey and that I sincerely look forward to tomorrow in Drakensberg as boys from opposite sides of the world will join in voice, mind and heart.
*mf

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The First 48 Hours or Day 1!

This is the end of day one on the ground. We are so tired having left Houston, traveled first leg to Amsterdam, a unexpected stop in Rome to end at last in our beds in Cape Town some 28 hours later.  We were awakened for calesthenics and the first thing we noticed were the hills. Beautiful for the landscape, a challenge for young tired limbs. But really , it helps wake us up and our reward is a breakfast with eggs, choices of meats, vegetables, cereals, breads, pasteries, fruits and more. The staff wants to hear us sing and we are grateful for the food and the nice rooms so we do and they are so genuinely appreciative. But, no more than we! The day took us first to a nearby mall to find our legs and spend a couple of hours before going to rehearsal. Boys are surprised to see Gap, and Woolworth's other familiar store names but Ms. Holt is sad because there is no Starbucks in the South African cities!! We meet back at the bus. Mr. Fowler has printed our programs and some of the boys managed to find lunch. There are some very large pizza boxes. In the shopping Jonathan found a new Swatch to purchase, simple and elegant. It's off to find the hall where we will be singing our first concert tonight. It's beautiful so we are happy to begin our rehearsal which what we didn't know was to occupy two hours. Every time we had a break of a chance to sit we were asleep, even on the hard wooden floor. Off to dinner at Stag's Saratoga. This is an interesting chain of stores. Might be the similar to Chili's or Friday's. Each one is a little different because in the mall we had seen Stag's Alamo!! There was a lot of food served by a waitstaff in oversized, cow-skinned, spotted cow boy hats which one side pinned up Aussie style.  Service for 33 always takes longer. Restaurants love to see us coming on tour, a bunch of boys ready to eat, but then they never realize they have to feed us at the same time. It was drizzling with a chilly rain when we scurried back to the concert to change and prepare to make new friends. We are changed and seated in the hall for the first half of what would turn out to be a most inspiring evening of music making. First the Tygerberg Children's Chorus. A group of 62, mostly girls who sang with a glorious tone and energy. Tygerberg was followed by the South African Youth Choir who wore an African costume traditional in nature and who sang with such soul and beauty. Their set was twenty minutes of singing and dancing and shouting and energy and love of what they sing. It was magical and just the inspiration the Houston Boys needed to rise from their tired bodies and show their own love of the song! What a way to make new friends. To share an evening of music together. At the end, it was time for boys to meet thier new families with whom they would spend the next 3 nights. Happy and tired they went home to bed.

This is the end of day one on the ground. We are so tired having left Houston, traveled first leg to Amsterdam, a unexpected pp in Rome to end at last in our beds in Cape Town some 28 hours later.
We were awakened for calesthenics and the first thing we noticed were the hills. Beautiful for the landscape, a challenge for young tired limbs. But really , it helps wake us up and our reward is a breakfast with eggs, choices of meats, vegetables, cereals, breads, pasteries, fruits and more. The staff wants to hear us sing and we are grateful for the food and the nice rooms so we do and they are so genuinely appreciative. But, no more than we!
The day took us first to a nearby mall to find our legs and spend a couple of hours before going to rehearsal. Boys are surprised to see Gap, and Woolworth’s other familiar store names but Ms. Holt is sad because there iscities!!
We meet back at the bus. Mr. Fowler has printed our programs and some of the boys managed to find lunch. There are some very large pizza boxes. In the shopping Jonathan found a new Swatch to purchase, simple and elegant.
It’s off to find the hall where we will be singing our first concert tonight. It’s beautiful so we are happy to begin our rehearsal which what we didn’t know was to occupy two hours. Every time we had a break of a chance
Off to dinner at Stag’s Saratoga. This is an interesting chain of stores. Might be the similar to Chili’s or Friday’s. Each one is a little different because in the mall we had seen Stag’s Alamo!! There was a lot oRestaurants love to see us coming on tour, a bunch of boys ready to eat, but then they never realize they have to feed us at the same time. It was drizzling with a chilly rain when we scurried back to the concert to change and prepare to make new friends.

We are changed and seated in the hall for the first half of what would turn out to be a most inspiring evening of music making. First the Tygerberg Children’s Chorus. A group of 62, mostly girls who sang with a glorious tone and energy. Tygerberg was followed by the South African Youth Choir who wore an African costume traditional in nature and who sang with such soul and beauty. Their set was twenty minutes of singing and dancing and shouting and energy and love of what they sing. It was magical and just the inspiration the Houston Boys needed to rise from their tired bodies and show their own love of the song!

What a way to make new friends. To share an evening of music together. At the end, it was time for boys to meet their new families with whom they would spend the next 3 nights. Happy and tired they went home to bed.

[caption id="attachment_577" align="alignright" width="640"]Waiting to board in Amsterdam Waiting to board in Amsterdam

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48 Hours Packing

This is a fraction of what we will look like at the airport. Packing light for 33, no way! The Director began packing 2 weeks ago and is now beginning the final purge and repack.

How many boys and parents began the packing yesterday, the Saturday before departing?Tour is as much an education for parents as it is for the boys. “How do I let my 10 year old pack his own suitcase so that he knows what he has and where his belongings are within the traveling closet?” vs. “How do I get it right for him?” Oh the opportunities that await, both the known and the hidden.

We hope you will join us on our journey. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter there are a numerous ways even just right here in WordPress.

Events

A Concert with the Bay Area Youth Singers

Houston Boychoir Chamber Choir and Olde Boys will join forces as guests of the Bay Area Youth Singers on their annual February concert. This season the concert will feature in addition to Houston Boychoir, Barbara Johnson Tucker and Michael Pickett in celebration of Black History Month and the musical tradition  that has become legacy. Bring the whole family for this choral celebration.  

Hear the boys with Barbara & Michael