Meet our team.

Artistic Staff

Carole Nelson

Artistic Director

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.

John Markert

Associate Director

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.

Holly Holt-Cabrera

Director, Preparatory Choir

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.

Vasti Cantú Adkins

Associate Director, Preparatory Choir West and East Campus & Office      Assistant

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. Andrew‘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

Director, Olde Boys

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.

Haley Bartell

Executive Associate and Accompanist

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. She enjoys traveling, studying languages, and staying active with her dog.

Administrative Staff

Pam Henjum

Executive Director

Erta Gervais

Administrator West Campus

Jayne Fowler

Administrator Central and East Campus

Ariel Workeneh

Accompanist East Campus

Malachi Boyle

Alumni Associate Central Campus

Brent Campbell

Alumni Associate Central Campus

Caleb J. Martinez

Alumni Associate West Campus

Brendon Jiang

Alumni Associate Central Campus

Douglas Parada

Alumni Associate Central Campus

Jacob Parada

Alumni Associate West Campus

Board of Directors

Fred Nevill, President
*Brittain Cunningham, treasurer

Jayne Fowler, secretary
* Matthew Fowler

Mindy Harper
Nancy Haywood
Pamala Henjum
Louise Magruder

Gene McKelvey 
Carole Nelson
Barbara Quackenbush
* Paul Roch

*Jeremy Simmons

Advisory Board

* Scott Allen
* Neeki Bey
Rick Erickson

Dr. Wendell Mendell
Dr. Robert Nelson
Dr. Michael Remson
Sally Schott

*Houston Boychoir Alumnus

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