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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!

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

 

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.

Two Weeks to South Africa

The start of an adventure. It has been years in the making. It was summer tour 2010 on tour in Baltimore when we said let’s go to South Africa for the 50th Anniversary Summer Concert Tour of the Singing Boys of Houston, now Houston Boychoir. So for the next two seasons we did a little extra fundraising and worked ahead and then the real planning began in the spring of 2012.

Thank goodness for the internet. We had our dear Jannie to send the names of choirs to contact and so it began. A wonderful agenda has been put together for the education of the boys both musical, geographical and social. But before we leave there is the packing.

Now as a traveler, I believe in going it light but not when traveling with HBC. Then it is traveling for 35. What do we need? Med forms, uniforms, gifts, first aid kits, extra ties, extra music, permissions and passports. New communication accessories and lists and more lists.

It’s 13 days until we leave. It is 8:30 PM as I write this and 13 days from now, we will be half way to Amsterdam and less than a third of the way to our first destination of Cape Town.

I hope you’ll join us as we go. If you want to send advice on travel, do so before July 16th. By then we will be up in the air and off and running.

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2010 on tour when we decided to go to South Africa. Look everybody likes the news

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

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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.

A Boy and his Spoon!

Mr. Fowler surveys the playing field.Going Deep.The Winner!

You can imagine that with 50 years of singing boys, there are many traditions in Houston Boychoir.  The most honorable award is the Singing Boy of the year, but my personal favorite is the Spoon Award.

One of the fun things about being in Houston Boychoir  [are] that we have many opportunities to eat out; that is where the Spoon Award comes in. In order to win this award you have to eat every thing on your plate and be neat, (or as Mr. Fowler is quick to remind us, ” it is quantity and quality”)  but the spoon is always watching!

In my 2 years of going on tour with HBC, after our formal dinner we’ve always gone to get ice cream. Every boy gets whatever he wants and then the 4 boys, that have been neat and have eaten every thing on their plate, year round, are chosen to participate in the competition.

At the competition Mr. Fowler orders a lot of ice cream. The four boys sit at a table with the ice cream. They have a specified limit to eat but, there’s one more twist, you don’t get to eat with regular utensils, you must eat with an item that has something to do with tour (this year it was a miniature minor’s hat keyring or it could be a guitar pick like the year we were in Nashville). Eventually after all that, the boys start eating. When the time limit ends they are judged on neatness and amount eaten. Who ever wins gets the special spoon for the year and his name on a plaque. If the same person gets it for 3 years the spoon is retired.

Going Deep.

Adrian Alhadidi, 7th grade

The Winner!

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