San Antonio TMEA trip!

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Peformance time!

Houston Boychoir was extremely honored to perform at this year’s Texas Music Educator’s Association on February 13th! TMEA was great– hats off to Colleen Riddle for organizing the Elementary Division. It was fantastic hearing other choirs and it really added to the development of our group.

The boys had a great time after the show,  exploring Texas history, riding the river and experiencing the fiesta of San Antonio!

Here are a few pictures of our San Antonio trip!

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Preparing for the show!

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Riding the river!

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Our awesome directors!

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Cooling down with some ice cream!

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Dinner with the spirit of fiesta!

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How Houston Boychoir can help your son!

So your son has trouble concentrating on his homework. He’s constantly in trouble at school for not listening to the teacher. He can run miles around you without taking a break and never seems to be worn out. What’s wrong with him? you think to yourself everyday. The answer is, absolutely nothing. He’s just a boy.

Jonathan&MatthewAccording to Dr. Anthony Rao, who is a nationally-known expert in child psychology, boys have more difficulties in their schooling career than girls generally do. Boys are diagnosed with ADHD three times more than girls are, and are expelled at a rate of four to five times more often than girls! Those are numbers that cannot be ignored.

Houston Boychoir challenges these statistics and creates an environment that teaches and shapes boys into young men; training them to be responsible and mature while still enjoying their youth. Dr. Rao points out the benefits of choir specifically for young boys by highlighting what choirs do.

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Your son gets lost in his own world often? A choir targets this by training him to stay focused enough to be in sync with the other voices. Maybe your son is impulsive, disorganized and easily distracted. A choir trains him to stay on note and in time to the music, he has to learn how to practice and commit to his part- all helping him to keep his concentration. He is taught to channel his extra energy in an artistic and constructive way and is positively reinforced when he is rewarded by the attention he gets when he performs.

Teaching your son how to balance his energy and work towards a common goal with his friends is probably the most important lesson in a time where boys find it easier to get distracted and have more pressure to excel in school. If your son has problems in any of these areas, enrolling him in Houston Boychoir could give him the structure and discipline that he needs! Not to mention, the outstanding vocal lessons he would receive! ChamberWinter2014

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First Tour

Being a rookie on tour can be very challenging and very rewarding. Tour is full of singing and rehearsals and calisthenics, can’t forget the calisthenics. When on tour you have to be on your toes at all times. You have to be ready to sing anything from Non nobis domine to the Glendy Burk.

Another big part of tour is the home stays. Home stays are a thing we do where nice people invite us to spend the night at their house. When I first heard the idea I was a little confused, the idea of spending the night in a complete strangers house was little scary, but once I actually met my home stay family they turned out to be very nice.

On tour we can be singing anywhere from a church to a assisted living facility. As Mrs. Nelson says, “Singing, it’s a thinking mans game.” My first tour has been a very fun experience and I can’t wait untill next season so I can do it again.

Hunter

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Touring: The Invaluable Experience

Each season Houston Boychoir embarks on a concert tour, somewhere. It could be across the state or it could be across the country. But, in this, our 50th anniversary season, 25 incredibly lucky boys traveled across the globe to South Africa.

The choristers think this is their big reward for working hard all year and being in the choir. As their director, I know their reward comes in all they learn.  If you are one of those angels who have supported Houston Boychoir in all they do and even more this season with the grand tour, here, in their voice is how much you impacted a bunch of pre-teen boys.

On Tour:

I learned how to be responsible and how to manage time wisely. These two things will get me far in life…Liam A. 8th grade

Sometimes long bus rides with your friends are more fun than short plane rides and patience and flexibility really are keys to being successful…Nicholas V. 7th grade

I learned how to pack efficiently, lead a group responsibly, and how to interact with new people with a different world view…Jonathan Z. 8th grade

On tour I learned how to quickly put on my formal uniform while still doing it correctly…Coleman H. 6th grade

I learned how to be responsible for myself! Keeping track of my stuff, waking up at the right time, spending money in controlled amounts, and making sure I keep up with the group.  I think these are important life skills that are necessary to succeed…Patrick J. 6th grade

On tour, this tour especially, I learned patience. Being with a younger person and trying to understand their position is what has helped me learn this skill. There are too many things I could write for what I learned but I will just focus on one. The greatest thing I learned was maturity, a lesson that I am grateful for…Jacob M. 8th grade

I learned on tour that many countries are as modern as America and in the choir I learned that if you work hard, you will make the group better…David G. 5th grade

I learned how to pack my bag, how to be ready when it is time to move and how to listen for instructions…Royce S. 6th grade

I have learned how to pack my own bag and how to organize myself…Elliot S. 5th grade

On tour I’ve learned about communicating with people I don’t know (strangers). The home stays challenged me socially because I have trouble catching on but from now on I have a better idea of what to do. I am less shy from this experience…Gerry M. 6th grade

The thing I learned from tour is that you have to be formal for most of the time and you can’t be rude to anyone. What I learned from the choir this year is that you always have fun and you are a professional…anon.

As the directors and staff ready for a new season and new boys we look with enthusiasm for all the learning we can do along side these remarkable boys. Thank you for all your support and see you at the concerts.Image

 

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Musings with wifi

It will be a quick post. Technology is so easy at home…life is so easy at home. On the road, life is unpredictable. So wonderful for us here. An unforgettable experience that these boys will remember forever. Today they have made new friends with South African singing boys…The Drakensberg are fantastic and lovely hospitable people.

I’m at a loss for words, South Africa is just amazing. We had a scrumptious breakfast on the balcony of our hotel, in front of a breathtaking sunrise. The warm, beaming sun isn’t the only thing that blows us away though, after about a half hour drive from the hotel, we arrived at a beautiful beach, overlooking the Indian Ocean. The water is crystal clear, and it’s a beautiful bright blue. You can actually see what’s in the water, unlike some other beaches I know….Galveston :) A crisp cold water brushed our feet as most of us ran into the water with great excitement. Now we’re on our way to Drakensberg, on a 5 hour bus ride.
Lots of the other guys are playing games on the bus. However, I think there’s something else that we’ve all learned on our journey here so far, and that is how privileged we are in America, and how on many occasions, we take these privileges for granted. Some of the really simple things we have in the US aren’t found here. Take going to school, in the US, most of our public education here is free or of a low cost, because we pay taxes and such to the government. In South Africa though, many families can’t afford to pay for their child’s education, so going to school here is a serious privilege. On some of the bus rides before, we’ve passed by some poor communities, and I think that made us all reflect on how we should all appreciate all we’ve got back home in America. We all look forward to our time in Drakensburg, and hope for a great time there.
(JZ)

After the beach in Durban, we headed for the mountains. Our stop along the way took us to a waterfall in Howick. The artisans were out selling their wares. My favorite was an artist selling batiks from Malawi. The boys were happy buying and buying, spending their Rand. Matthew bought a wooden, carved letter opener he will have check or the plane will think he has a spear!!

Lunch was relaxed under a grand old tree and for a minute, it didn’t feel like tour but more like a relaxed vacation with a big family! Ms. Holt found a wonderful shop and dragged Ms. Nelson where the two ladies got into a buying frenzy. Mr. Bey had to go and drag them out of the shop and the boys were happy at last when they reemerged and got on the bus so we could be on our way.

We are traveling through the mountains, climbing.

Musings of a Traveling Singing Boy (or chaperone)
Every day on tour, especially an international tour, brings another adventure… what will we get to eat, what mode of transportation will we get to travel by and what new stories will we get to write? South Africa is definitely better than advertised. The landscapes and cityscapes are simply remarkable and they should only get better as we transition from the coastlines to the mountains. To steal a slogan from a South African bank (that was actually used as a sermon illustration on Sunday), “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” It’s the “simplicity” of music that has brought us on this journey and that I sincerely look forward to tomorrow in Drakensberg as boys from opposite sides of the world will join in voice, mind and heart.
*mf

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The First 48 Hours or Day 1!

This is the end of day one on the ground. We are so tired having left Houston, traveled first leg to Amsterdam, a unexpected stop in Rome to end at last in our beds in Cape Town some 28 hours later.  We were awakened for calesthenics and the first thing we noticed were the hills. Beautiful for the landscape, a challenge for young tired limbs. But really , it helps wake us up and our reward is a breakfast with eggs, choices of meats, vegetables, cereals, breads, pasteries, fruits and more. The staff wants to hear us sing and we are grateful for the food and the nice rooms so we do and they are so genuinely appreciative. But, no more than we! The day took us first to a nearby mall to find our legs and spend a couple of hours before going to rehearsal. Boys are surprised to see Gap, and Woolworth's other familiar store names but Ms. Holt is sad because there is no Starbucks in the South African cities!! We meet back at the bus. Mr. Fowler has printed our programs and some of the boys managed to find lunch. There are some very large pizza boxes. In the shopping Jonathan found a new Swatch to purchase, simple and elegant. It's off to find the hall where we will be singing our first concert tonight. It's beautiful so we are happy to begin our rehearsal which what we didn't know was to occupy two hours. Every time we had a break of a chance to sit we were asleep, even on the hard wooden floor. Off to dinner at Stag's Saratoga. This is an interesting chain of stores. Might be the similar to Chili's or Friday's. Each one is a little different because in the mall we had seen Stag's Alamo!! There was a lot of food served by a waitstaff in oversized, cow-skinned, spotted cow boy hats which one side pinned up Aussie style.  Service for 33 always takes longer. Restaurants love to see us coming on tour, a bunch of boys ready to eat, but then they never realize they have to feed us at the same time. It was drizzling with a chilly rain when we scurried back to the concert to change and prepare to make new friends. We are changed and seated in the hall for the first half of what would turn out to be a most inspiring evening of music making. First the Tygerberg Children's Chorus. A group of 62, mostly girls who sang with a glorious tone and energy. Tygerberg was followed by the South African Youth Choir who wore an African costume traditional in nature and who sang with such soul and beauty. Their set was twenty minutes of singing and dancing and shouting and energy and love of what they sing. It was magical and just the inspiration the Houston Boys needed to rise from their tired bodies and show their own love of the song! What a way to make new friends. To share an evening of music together. At the end, it was time for boys to meet thier new families with whom they would spend the next 3 nights. Happy and tired they went home to bed.

This is the end of day one on the ground. We are so tired having left Houston, traveled first leg to Amsterdam, a unexpected pp in Rome to end at last in our beds in Cape Town some 28 hours later.
We were awakened for calesthenics and the first thing we noticed were the hills. Beautiful for the landscape, a challenge for young tired limbs. But really , it helps wake us up and our reward is a breakfast with eggs, choices of meats, vegetables, cereals, breads, pasteries, fruits and more. The staff wants to hear us sing and we are grateful for the food and the nice rooms so we do and they are so genuinely appreciative. But, no more than we!
The day took us first to a nearby mall to find our legs and spend a couple of hours before going to rehearsal. Boys are surprised to see Gap, and Woolworth’s other familiar store names but Ms. Holt is sad because there iscities!!
We meet back at the bus. Mr. Fowler has printed our programs and some of the boys managed to find lunch. There are some very large pizza boxes. In the shopping Jonathan found a new Swatch to purchase, simple and elegant.
It’s off to find the hall where we will be singing our first concert tonight. It’s beautiful so we are happy to begin our rehearsal which what we didn’t know was to occupy two hours. Every time we had a break of a chance
Off to dinner at Stag’s Saratoga. This is an interesting chain of stores. Might be the similar to Chili’s or Friday’s. Each one is a little different because in the mall we had seen Stag’s Alamo!! There was a lot oRestaurants love to see us coming on tour, a bunch of boys ready to eat, but then they never realize they have to feed us at the same time. It was drizzling with a chilly rain when we scurried back to the concert to change and prepare to make new friends.

We are changed and seated in the hall for the first half of what would turn out to be a most inspiring evening of music making. First the Tygerberg Children’s Chorus. A group of 62, mostly girls who sang with a glorious tone and energy. Tygerberg was followed by the South African Youth Choir who wore an African costume traditional in nature and who sang with such soul and beauty. Their set was twenty minutes of singing and dancing and shouting and energy and love of what they sing. It was magical and just the inspiration the Houston Boys needed to rise from their tired bodies and show their own love of the song!

What a way to make new friends. To share an evening of music together. At the end, it was time for boys to meet their new families with whom they would spend the next 3 nights. Happy and tired they went home to bed.

[caption id="attachment_577" align="alignright" width="640"]Waiting to board in Amsterdam Waiting to board in Amsterdam

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48 Hours Packing

This is a fraction of what we will look like at the airport. Packing light for 33, no way! The Director began packing 2 weeks ago and is now beginning the final purge and repack.

How many boys and parents began the packing yesterday, the Saturday before departing?Tour is as much an education for parents as it is for the boys. “How do I let my 10 year old pack his own suitcase so that he knows what he has and where his belongings are within the traveling closet?” vs. “How do I get it right for him?” Oh the opportunities that await, both the known and the hidden.

We hope you will join us on our journey. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter there are a numerous ways even just right here in WordPress.

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