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Houston Chamber Choir Receives Prestigious Margaret Hillis Award For Choral Excellence From Chorus America

Houston Chamber Choir Receives Prestigious Margaret Hillis Award For Choral Excellence From Chorus America Houston Chamber Choir has received the prestigious Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence from Chorus America, the advocacy, research and leadership development organization that advances the choral field. The award will be presented at Chorus America's 2018 Conference in Chicago June 20-23.

The Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence honors the memory of Margaret Hillis, founder of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, for her more than 40 years of professional achievement and outstanding contributions to the choral field. The award is presented annually to a member chorus that demonstrates artistic excellence, a strong organizational structure and a commitment to outreach, education, and/or culturally diverse activities.

In its description of this honor, Chorus America noted that "the Houston Chamber Choir has excelled in presenting a daring breadth of repertoire at the highest level throughout its 22-year history, from historically-informed performance of Bach's Mass in B Minor to rich celebrations of Mexico's choral heritage to collaborations with jazz musicians Christian McBride and Dave Brubeck. Through commitments to commissioning new works and partnerships with guest conductors, the ensemble maintains a fresh approach to its art, while achieving steady organizational growth. In addition, the Chamber Choir's educational efforts in the Houston community have brought music back to three of the district's most disadvantaged schools and established an annual choral festival that is in its 19th year."

"The Chorus America Margaret Hillis Award is one of the highest accolades an American choir can receive," says Houston Chamber Choir Artistic Director Robert Simpson. "I am thrilled that the extraordinary work of our musicians, staff and board has been recognized in this way."

"There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in this tremendous organization," says Houston Chamber Choir tenor and Board member, Jack Byrom. "I am grateful to the Board and to our artistic director, Robert Simpson, for their unending support of the art of choral music. Most importantly, however, are the efforts of each and every one of our singers, to whom this award truly belongs, for helping to create something that is much more than the sum of its parts."

"It is a dream come true to be part of such a phenomenal organization that is continually adding to the vibrancy of our great city," says Mariam Khalili, Managing Director for Houston Chamber Choir. "This award is further proof that Houston has some of the best artists and arts organizations in the country."

Simpson, Khalili and Houston Chamber Choir Manager of Operations Grace Roman will travel to Chicago to receive the award at Chorus America's annual conference, scheduled for June 20-23.

The Houston Chamber Choir has established itself as one of the premier professional choirs in the United States, serving Houston through concerts and educational initiatives that enlighten, entertain, and educate people of all ages. It has been described by The Tallis Scholars founder Peter Phillips as "one of this country's leading ensembles."

Led by Artistic Director Robert Simpson, the Houston Chamber Choir is comprised of 26 professional singers, most of whom have studied at the top music schools and conservatories in the United States including Julliard, New England Conservatory, University of Houston, and the University of Texas. These musicians are selected through rigorous auditions from the finest singers in our region and are compensated for all rehearsals and performances.

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Chorus America serves more than 6,000 choruses, individuals, businesses and organizations with a wide array of programs, publications, research and personal services. These services strengthen their ability to build strong organizations that foster quality choral performances.

Chorus America is governed by a diverse board of accomplished arts leaders from across North America, and the executive staff is headquartered in Washington, DC. It was founded as the Association of Professional Vocal Ensembles in 1977 to gain recognition for professional choruses and today represents hundreds of choruses of every kind throughout North America and beyond.

Photo Courtesy of Houston Chamber Choir

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