Music Musings: The Houston Chamber Choir

For a singer and lover of all types of music, the recent resurgence of choirs has been a stunning event to witness. Of course choral groups have always had their fan base, but the broad-based popularity is something new, at least for the millennial generation.  No doubt it’s due to in part to shows like Glee and The Sing-Off… people have discovered that something magical happens when voices come together in song.

It’s been especially great to experience this resurgence as a member of one such group… the Houston Chamber Choir, under the direction of Robert Simpson. Now in its eighteenth season, the ensemble has firmly distinguished itself as a national leader in classical choral music. The choir has performed with a diverse group of artists, including singing sensation Jackie Evancho, Grammy Award winning Gospel star Cynthia Clawson, and the late great Dave Brubeck.

One way this group sets itself apart is not just through beautiful sound, but a commitment to innovative and relevant concert programs. Just in 2013, Houston Chamber Choir concerts celebrated the election of Pope Francis, and commemorated the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Members of the ensemble will also perform for the 2014 inauguration of Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Controller Ronald Green, and the Houston City Council.

Along with stunning musical performances, the Houston Chamber Choir is equally committed to educational outreach. The choir is currently hosting a multi-year residency at Rusk Elementary school, working with young, economically- challenged students to foster music appreciation and creativity. 

To kick off 2014, here is the choir singing a brilliant new piece… O Magnum Mysterium by composer Wayne Oquin. Enjoy the sounds of the Houston Chamber Choir. 

For information on upcoming performances, visit

TPA’s 2013 Texan of the Year

Texas Progressive Alliance Names Senator Wendy Davis 2013 Its ‘Texan Of The Year’

AUSTIN—The Texas Progressive Alliance, the nation’s largest state-based association of online and netroots activists, today named State Senator Wendy Davis recipient of its Texan of the Year Award for 2013.

“Senator Davis’ actions this year made her a clear choice. Our vote was unanimous,” said Vince Leibowitz, Chair of the Alliance. Leibowitz said Senator Davis’ June filibuster of Senate Bill 5 on behalf of Texas women and the preservation of reproductive rights was a courageous action that served to galvanize and energize Texas Democrats. “Senator Davis’ courage to stand up and block this outrageous legislation helped raise awareness in Texas of the assault on a woman’s right to choose that our legislature has waged for the last decade, as well as the extraordinary measures right-wing Republicans in Texas will take both to trample the rights of women and their own colleagues in government,” Leibowitz continued.

Not only did Davis’ actions draw national attention to Texas, but her filibuster and subsequent campaign for Texas Governor have galvanized Texas Democrats. “We have not seen this kind of excitement for a non-presidential election in Texas in many years. We see Democrats are energized, organized, and ready to take back our state for the people. To a great extend, we have Senator Davis and her courageous actions to thank for this; she served as a unifying figure for our party to rally around, and her actions will both strenghten the party in the long run and serve to expand our base,” said Charles Kuffner, Vice Chair of the Alliance.

Previous Texan of the Year recipients are: Carolyn Boyle of Texas Parent PAC (2006); Texas House Democratic Leaders State Reps. Jim Dunnam, Garnet F. Coleman, and Pete Gallego (2007); the Harris County Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign (2008); Houston Mayor Annise Parker (2009); Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns (2010); and the protesters of the Tar Sands Blockade (2012). There was no award given in 2011.