Apollo Chamber Players to Present Free 'Holiday Voyage' Program Benefiting Healthcare For The Homeless

The concert will take place on Saturday, December 16, 2023, at First Congregational Church Houston.

By: Dec. 06, 2023
Apollo Chamber Players to Present Free 'Holiday Voyage' Program Benefiting Healthcare For The Homeless
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Houston's Apollo Chamber Players presents their sixth annual holiday program Holiday Voyage on Saturday, December 16, 2023 at 7:00pm CT at First Congregational Church Houston.

Featuring new music by John Cornelius, Isabelle Ganz, Brian Nabors, and Muyassar (Maya) Kurdi, along with vocalists Kenneth Gayle, Armando Hernandez and GRAMMY winner Wayne Ashley, Holiday Voyage celebrates the idea of religious pluralism as a means of fostering compassion and cultural harmony. With works spanning the traditions of Kurdi, a Palestinian-American, and Ganz, a composer of Sephardic/Israeli heritage, the program includes music celebrating Christmas alongside Jewish, Palestinian, African-American, Brazilian and Ukrainian faith traditions. A new work by Kurdi, titled A Lullaby for the Children of the Sun, epitomizes the theme by drawing on her own cultural background while exploring multicultural holiday music and faith traditions from around the globe. Embedded in this program is the conviction that despite historical and ongoing censorship in our society, the holiday season can remind us that the arc of history "bends towards justice." Nabors' Kwanzaa Suite, commissioned by Apollo and premiered in 2021, is the first work of its kind in the classical canon to celebrate this culturally rich holiday. The piece is composed as a suite in seven short movements, each inspired by the principle of the Nguzo Saba (one for each of the seven days of Kwanzaa).

This is the third of four free concerts that Apollo will present throughout Houston this season. The Satellite Series Community Concerts is an outreach series that brings free and low cost programming experiences to diverse audiences in and around the Greater Houston Area. All concert proceeds for Holiday Voyage will benefit the Healthcare for the Homeless - Houston (HHH) organization. Contributions to Healthcare for the Homeless - Houston are also gratefully accepted the Holiday Voyage donations webpage.

"Apollo's commitment to honoring and celebrating every culture really speaks to us, and mirrors Healthcare for the Homeless - Houston's mission of treating every patient with health, hope, and dignity," said Paige Taylor, HHH Board Chair for 2023-2024. "Their annual Holiday Voyage program is a beautiful collaboration that has contributed thousands of dollars to help provide health services for some of Houston's most vulnerable and marginalized community members."

Program Information
Saturday, December 16, 2023 at 7:00pm
Apollo Chamber Players Presents Holiday Voyage
First Congregational Church Houston | 10840 Beinhorn Rd, Houston, TX
Tickets: Free (Donations encouraged)
Link: www.apollochamberplayers.org/satellite-series.html

New music by John Cornelius, Isabelle Ganz, Brian Nabors, and Muyassar (Maya) Kurdi

Apollo Chamber Players
Matthew J. Detrick, Founder, Artistic & Executive Director, violinist
Anabel Ramirez-Detrick, violin
Aria Cheregosha, viola
Matthew Dudzik, cello

Special Guests:
Wayne Ashley, tenor
John Cornelius, composer/arranger
Isabelle Ganz, composer-performer
Kenneth Gayle, tenor
Armando Hernandez, tenor
Muyassar Kurdi, interdisciplinary artist and composer

About Apollo Chamber Players

Celebrating its 16th season, Houston-based Apollo Chamber Players "performs with rhythmic flair and virtuosity" (The Strad) and "recasts music for a diverse and multi-ethnic generation" (Strings Magazine). The ensemble's globally-inspired programming and multicultural new music commissions have garnered international acclaim, including sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and in Havana, Cuba. Apollo has also been recognized with a Chamber Music America Residency Partnership award and regular features on American Public Media's Performance Today. Ensemble members include Matthew J. Detrick, violin; Anabel Ramirez Detrick, violin; Matthew Dudzik, cello; and Aria Cheregosha, viola.

Released on the GRAMMY-winning Azica Records label, Apollo's fifth studio album, With Malice Toward None, reached No. 1 on Amazon's Hot New Release chart. Strings Magazine praised the album's message, which tackles "politics, identity, and what it means to be a citizen of a nation balanced between an idealized past and a just and multicultural future." The ensemble's catalog of records has been featured on hundreds of radio and media stations worldwide.

A passionate advocate for contemporary music and underrepresented composers, Apollo successfully concluded a bold initiative to commission 20 new multicultural works by the end of the last decade. 20x2020 features a diverse roster of the world's leading composers and instrumentalists including Jennifer Higdon, Libby Larsen, Pamela Z, Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate, Hector Del Curto, Vân Ánh Võ, and Tracy Silverman.

Apollo's community partners include schools and universities, at-risk youth centers, refugee and veterans service organizations, and public libraries. The ensemble's vanguard Library Voyage project is the first of its kind in the nation. Apollo was founded in 2008 by violinist and music entrepreneur Matthew J. Detrick. Learn more at www.apollochamberplayers.org.

About Healthcare for the Homeless - Houston

Founded in 1999, HHH emerged in response to a critical need for accessible and holistic healthcare services for some of Houston's most vulnerable people. Healthcare for the Homeless - Houston is an organization promoting health, hope and dignity for those affected by homelessness, and providing care for more than 100,000 men and women over the past two decades.

About Muyassar Kurdi

Muyassar Kurdi (b. 1989 in Chicago) is a Palestinian-American New York City-based interdisciplinary artist. Her work encompasses sound art, extended vocal technique, performance art, movement, painting, analog photography, and film. She has toured extensively in the U.S. and throughout Europe. She currently focuses on interweaving electronic instruments into her vocal and dance performances, stirring a plethora of emotions from her audience members through vicious noise, ritualistic chants, and meditative movements.

Kurdi was a finalist in the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship for Combined Disciplines 2023, and was awarded a Roulette Intermedium 2020 commission and artist residency in 2022 (with support from the Jerome Foundation). She is also a recipient of the Queens Fund New Works Grant, NYFA City Artist Corps grant, and Puffin Foundation grant. Recent residencies include Harvestworks and The Watermill Center with OPERA ensemble. Love is Blue, Kurdi's solo exhibition, opened in 2023 at LaMaMa Gallery in NYC. Performance highlights include Roulette Intermedium, Center For Performance Research, Lincoln Center, The Rubin Museum of Art, Issue Project Room, Cafe OTO, and Chicago Cultural Center.

About Isabelle Ganz

An international performing and recording artist and one of the pioneers in the field of Sephardic music, Isabelle Ganz and her New York-based ensemble have produced four CDs of Judeo-Spanish music. She holds a D.M.A. in Voice and Music Literature from the Eastman School of Music, has been a Fulbright scholar to Jerusalem and received a Solo Recitalist grant from the N.E.A. to perform works of living composers. She has recorded "Ryoanji for Voice and Percussion" by John Cage (composed for her) and "Sequenza III" by Luciano Berio, included on a four-CD set of the Sequenzas that was cited by The New York Times as "one of the best classical recordings of 2006."

About Brian Nabors

Brian Raphael Nabors [Nay-berz] is a composer of emotionally enriching music that tells exciting narratives with its vibrant themes and colorful harmonic language. Nabors' music has been performed by the Boston, Atlanta, Nashville, Cincinnati, Detroit, Fort Worth, and Munich symphonies, as well as by Apollo Chamber Players, ROCO Chamber Orchestra, the American Youth Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic and Chineke! Orchestra.

About John Cornelius

Dr. John L. Cornelius' works are garnering increasingly frequent performances throughout the United States. Currently, he is a professor and faculty composer at Prairie View A&M University. Having been the music director/arranger/composer for a number of theaters including the Great Caruso, the Ensemble Theater, Adventure Theater in Glen Echo Park, Main Street Theatre and Theater Under the Stars' Humphries School, he has also written, along with his collaborator, Michael J. Bobbitt, several works for the lyric theater, including Mirandy and Brother Wind, Say It Ain't So!, The Yellow Rose of Texas and his latest project, an adaptation of the Negro Baseball League classic Bingo Long and his Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings.

About Kenneth Gayle

Tenor Kenneth Gayle's national credits include performances with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Ravinia Music Festival, Grant Park Music Festival, Seattle Opera, Seattle Symphony, Opera Omaha, Omaha Symphony, Opera Idaho, and Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival. A Seattle native and Houston resident, his local performance credits include appearances with the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, Mukuru: Arts for AIDS Series, Three Mo' Tenors and the Southwestern premiere of the chamber opera Fragments from Augustine the Saint at Rothko Chapel.

About Wayne Ashley

Wayne Ashley is a versatile artist known for his charismatic vocal tone and appreciation for many genres. A native of Arkansas, Ashley was raised in a stellar musical environment surrounded by Gospel, Delta Blues, Zydeco and R&B musicians, many within his own family. A graduate of Henderson State University and the University of Houston, he has previously sung in the choir of St. Paul's United Methodist Church - Houston. He was also a founding member of the Cloudburst Vocal Jazz Quartet and a soloist/collaborator with celebrated organizations including the Apollo Chamber Players and Houston Ebony Opera Guild. Ashley has been a proud member of the internationally acclaimed Houston Chamber Choir since 2008, and can be heard on the 2020 GRAMMY Award-winning album Duruflé: Complete Choral Works.

About Armando Hernandez

Armando Hernandez is a versatile tenor with professional classical training and theatrical performances in lyrical studies at Universidad de las Artes (formerly Instituto Superior de Arte) in Havana, Cuba. He is a member of The Voices of Houston and Houston Ebony Opera Guild in Houston, TX. Hernandez left Cuba seeking freedom of expression and freedom of speech, and to pursue the dream to continue his music career.

Photo Credits: Apollo Chamber Players by Lynn Lane.