Houston Chamber Choir Unveils 2024-2025 Season Featuring a World Premiere & More

Season subscriptions are now on sale to the public at houstonchamberchoir.org, with single tickets for all concerts available on August 1

By: Jun. 17, 2024
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Houston Chamber Choir Unveils 2024-2025 Season Featuring a World Premiere & More The Grammy Award-winning Houston Chamber Choir has revealed its 2024-25 program lineup for “30th Anniversary Season: From Startup to Standout.” Season subscriptions are now on sale to the public at houstonchamberchoir.org, with single tickets for all concerts available on August 1. Of the eight concert events, six are part of the choir’s subscription series, while two are free community concerts.
 
This marks the farewell season for Simpson, who is stepping down from his position at the end of the 2024-2025 season. Having built the Grammy® Award-winning Choir into one of the finest vocal ensembles in the world, Simpson leaves a legacy of musical brilliance that has enriched the Houston-area community and left a lasting mark on the choral community at large.
 
Dr. Betsy Cook Weber, internationally renowned choral conductor and now Houston Chamber Choir Artistic Director Designate, will collaborate with Simpson for the 2024-25 season, conducting four concerts and co-conducting two. She assumes the podium as Artistic Director and Conductor beginning with the 2025-2026 season.
 
“It has always been my goal to create a professional choral ensemble that would become an established and essential part of Houston's rich arts scene, while reaching an international audience through recordings and performances beyond our city,” says Simpson. “Thanks to the hard work, talent and generous support of so many over the years, I believe we have made great strides toward that goal. The coming season, co-directed by Betsy Weber and me, is the gateway to the Houston Chamber Choir's continued growth and success for years to come. What an exciting year we have ahead of us.”
 
“I think Bob and I have crafted a wonderful season designed to interest, entertain, and inspire,” says Weber. “We look forward to seeing all of our choral friends in the audience for the 30th anniversary season starting in September.”
 
The 30th season opens September 21 with the world premiere of “The Son of Man,” followed by the fun and exciting “I Just Want to Celebrate! Songs from the ‘70s,” on October 19 at Miller Outdoor Theatre. This concert is free and open to the public.
 
In November, the Houston Chamber Choir presents ”This Sky,” pondering the heavens, while December brings “Glory in the Highest: Christmas at the Villa,” a return to Villa de Matel for four concerts the weekend of December 7-8. This event has been a favorite holiday tradition for Houstonians for many years.
 
The “Hear the Future” Invitational Choral Festival returns in January with performances featuring school and community choirs. In February,  love will be on everyone’s mind with “Love Songs and Sonnets.”
 
April brings “From Darkness to Light,” exploring works from the 17th century (Gregorio Allegri) through the 21st century (Ēriks Ešenvalds). Closing out the season will be “Gather ‘Round,” the final concert conducted by Simpson, which will perform some of its favorites from over the years.
 
Details for the Houston Chamber Choir’s “30th Anniversary Season: Fron Startup to Standout” concert lineup include:
 

1.      “The Son of Man” (Robert Simpson conducting)

Saturday, September 21; 7:30 p.m.
Location: South Main Baptist Church, Houston
 
The Choir launches its 30th season with the world premiere of “The Son of Man,” a brilliant new work by renowned English composer Patrick Hawes for choir, soloists and orchestra. Based on iconic texts from the Old and New Testaments, its memorable melodies, imaginative choral and orchestral writing and deep sense of drama result in a powerful experience which is very much of our time, yet reminiscent of Handel's Messiah. Be the first to hear a work that promises to become a favorite of audiences around the world.
 

2.      “I Just Want to Celebrate! Songs from the ‘70s” (Robert Simpson and Dr. Betsy Cook Weber conducting)

Saturday, October 19; 7:30 p.m.
Location: Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston
 
For many, there is no better pop music than that created in the ‘70s. The Houston Chamber Choir will take you through the decade with music by Roberta Flack, the Bee Gees, Carly Simon, ABBA, the Jackson 5, and many others. Come rock and roll and sing along at this free concert at beautiful Miller Outdoor Theatre.
 

3.   “This Sky” (Dr. Betsy Cook Weber)

Saturday, November 16; 7:30 p.m.
Location: St. Philip Presbyterian Church, Houston
 
Humans have always looked to the sky for answers to the big “Why?” And composers have done the same. The Houston Chamber Choir offers a stellar compilation of pieces that ponder the heavens. The centerpiece of this program, in addition to music by Heinrich Schütz, Venezuelan-Texan Carlos Cordero, Johannes Brahms, and others, is the breathtaking “Consolation of Apollo.” Written in 2014 by American composer Kile Smith, “Consolation” has important connections to Houston, with texts pulled from the philosopher, Boethius, as well as from the astronaut crew of Apollo 8. Accompanied by breathtaking projections of images from and about space, this concert is sure to engage the imagination aurally and visually.
 

4.    “Glory in the Highest: Christmas at the Villa” (Robert Simpson)   

Saturday, December 7; 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 7; 5 p.m.
Sunday, December 8; 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 8; 5 p.m.
Location: Chapel at the Villa de Matel, Houston
 
The soaring sounds of voices, organ and brass will ring throughout the beauty of the Chapel of the Villa de Matel as the Houston Chamber Choir presents “Christmas at the Villa – Glory in the Highest.” This year, special guests are the outstanding instrumental ensemble Paragon Brass, along with the return of the Treble Choir of Houston at Christ Church Cathedral directed by Marianna Parnas-Simpson. Join with family and friends in this Houston holiday tradition.
 

5.      25th Annual “Hear the Future” Invitational Choral Festival (Robert Simpson and Dr. Betsy Cook Weber)

Sunday, January 26, 2025; 4 p.m. (Free community concert)
Location: South Main Baptist Church, Houston
 
The Houston Chamber Choir has a long tradition of featuring some of the Houston area’s most outstanding school and community choirs. This year features the Chamber Choir with McCullough Junior High School, The Treble Choir of Houston and The Woodlands High School. The public is invited to enjoy these four fine ensembles in a free concert amid the impressive acoustics of South Main Baptist Church.
Location: South Main Baptist Church, Houston
 

6.      “Love Songs and Sonnets” (Dr. Betsy Cook Weber)

Saturday, February 22, 2025; 7:30 p.m.
Location: South Main Baptist Church, Houston
 
How do I love thee? Composers have counted the ways through the centuries. The Houston Chamber Choir will take the listener on a romantic journey that begins in the Renaissance period with madrigals — searing and saucy. Next, are two important pieces from the Romantic period —the Brahms’ Vier Gesänge for treble choir, horns, and harp and Schubert’s Ständchen for tenor-bass chorus, followed by Sven-David Sandström’s “Four Songs of Love.” Finally, the Choir adds jazz, pop, and barbershop to round out the program.
 

7.    “From Darkness to Light” (Dr. Betsy Cook Weber)

Saturday, April 5, 2025; 7:30 p.m.
Location: South Main Baptist Church, Houston
 
In 1638, Gregorio Allegri composed a setting of Miserere mei, Deus (Psalm 51) for the Sistine Chapel. The apocryphal story is that the Vatican allowed there to be only three copies in existence, and they were locked away for safe-keeping so that no one could copy or perform the work. Fast forward to 1764-65, when a young Mozart heard a performance of Allegri’s composition, went back to his inn, and flawlessly copied it from memory.
 
Fast forward again, this time to 1989, when Estonian composer Arvo Pärt set the same text. Pärt’s Miserere is described as one of his “most dramatic and contrasting pieces…”  From these two pieces of darkness, we move to hope and light, working our way through a Latvian “Plaudite, Psallite” and American spirituals, including Thomas Dorsey’s “Precious Lord.” The concert closes with the gorgeous “Amazing Grace,” arranged by Ēriks Ešenvalds.
 

8.“Gather ‘Round” (Robert Simpson

Saturday, May 31, 2025; 7:30 p.m.
Location: St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Houston
 
On this special night, the Houston Chamber Choir family will come together to honor Simpson as he concludes his 30-year tenure as Founder and Artistic Director. The Choir will perform some of its favorites from over the years while also previewing the program it will take on tour to Sweden, Latvia and Estonia in June 2025. As the Houston Chamber Choir prepares for the continued growth and artistic success of its next 30 years, this evening will celebrate the love, leadership and luck that has propelled this Grammy®-winning ensemble from “Start-up to Standout.”
 
Season subscriptions start at $57 for students up to $222 for the six-concert option. For information about ticketing and subscriptions, visit the Houston Chamber Choir website.
 
For more information on the Houston Chamber Choir go to HoustonChamberchoir.org or call 713-224-5566.




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