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Meet our team.

Artistic Staff

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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

Mrs. Holt Cabrera has been a music teacher and elementary choral director in Houston since 1996, serving at The Rice School for nineteen years, and most recently at Presbyterian School.  Over her career, she has been named Teacher of the Year twice, has been a guest clinician for area Elementary Honor Choirs, and has been a presenter at the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) convention and the ACDA Children’s Choir bi-annual retreat.  Her choirs have had the privilege of performing at TMEA as an invited group on three occasions, as well as in and around the city of Houston at such venues as the Hear the Future concert with the Houston Chamber Chorus, the 10th anniversary celebration for the Center for the Healing of Racism, and Mahler’s 3rd Symphony with the Texas Medical Center Orchestra. 

Mrs. Holt Cabrera 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 South Campus

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.


Phillip Jackson

       Director, Olde Boys

Phillip Jackson, Director of the Olde Boys is the Choir Director at Deer Park Junior High. Choirs under his direction have received only superior ratings and his program has grown to be one of the largest in thconce state of Texas. Phillip is a product of the TMEA All-State Mixed Choir and has sung solos with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He is a highly sought-after clinician for the male voice in the Greater-Houston area. He has a beautiful girlfriend, Caitlin and three wonderful pets, Bruce, Chloe and Sadie.


Haley Sabaka

Managing Director

An advocate for high-quality music education programs, Mrs. Sabaka serves on the Houston Boychoir staff to facilitate program development and administration. Mrs. Sabaka began working with the Houston Boychoir 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 research 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. She lives in the Heights with her husband and vizsla.

Administrative Staff

Pam Henjum

Executive Director

Louise Magruder

Director of Marketing and Design

Erta Gervais

Administrator West Campus

Jayne Fowler

Administrator Central and East Campuses

Tim Smale

Accompanist West Campus

Bakri El-Hakam

Alumni Associate Central Campus

Noah Court

Alumni Associate Central Campus

Will Konko

Alumni Associate West Campus

Board of Directors

Mindy Harper, President

*Jeremy Simmons, Vice President
*Brittain Cunningham, treasurer

Jayne Fowler, secretary
* Matthew Fowler

Allison Gower
Nancy Haywood
Pamala Henjum

Kirk Kveton
Louise Magruder
Carole Nelson

* Paul Roch

Jeff Vyner

Advisory Board

* Scott Allen
* Neeki Bey
Rick Erickson

Dr. Wendell Mendell
Dr. Robert Nelson

David Quackenbush
Dr. Michael Remson
Sally Schott

*Houston Boychoir Alumnus

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