The Home Stay

As we have discussed on many occasions, travel is a tried and true teacher for a young person to learn about the world around him, to gain insight on the human experience and to test the mettle of his personality in an expansive but safe environment. For the organization, the home stay is a way of helping make that travel affordable. For the boy, the home stay is that growth opportunity in spades. For a boy to converse with new people and learn home customs of other families and other country customs is one of those light bulb moments and the boys steps onto the threshold of manhood.

From the kindness of strangers in Denham Springs, LA came new friendships and memories that  spilled out of the boys upon their return to the bus.  The new “mamas and brothers and sisters were beaming at their new “son” and didn’t really want to see him go.

Here is what a few of the boys shared about their evening after the concert:

We went swimming in a crystal clear pool with a diving board and slide and we competed for the coolest moves. At breakfast I learned that one of my fellow choristers is Canadian…Coleman

My homestay was amazing. The people who kept us were very nice and friendly. It was my first time to do a homestay. The family was very welcoming and we had so much in common. I can’t wait for the next one…Diego

My homestay was awesome. At night we got to go to the pool and the lady said that if we go to the pool we don’t have to take a shower!. But the best part was the morning when we got beignets and donuts and played basket ball…..Ayush

My homestay was great. The family there was very nice and helpful. I hope very much that I can do homestays again…Jesse

My homestay was very kind and generous. They opened up their beautiful home to us and fed us and cared for us as if we were their own children. I love homestays because it is a chance to meet new people and make new friends….Royce

If you ever have the opportunity to keep a young person from another country or another city or state,  I hope you will consider it. You won’t regret it!

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On the Road Again

A director’s work is never done. There is never enough time.

What goes into a concert tour? Months and months of phone calls and emails to venues, hotel reservations or homes for boys to sleep, meals, hours and hours of teaching music,  establishing rules of the road for safety and sanity. Gifts for hosts along the way, new music for church services, uniforms, itineraries to take and to leave behind and this is just a scratch on the surface.

But what comes out of a concert tour? Deepened friendships through shared adventures, greater self reliance from packing and unpacking one’s own bag for 6 nights, empathy for people who we meet as strangers but who, with the common bond of music, quickly become simpatico. We learn to be gracious by the grace we are presented and of course we become seasoned performers who approach life with a flexibility to withstand even the strongest wind.

And it’s only day one. With a bus that was two hours late and a little rain on the bus, we are warriors collecting stories.

Panis Angelicus with new friends.

Panis Angelicus with new friends.

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How to audition for Houston Boychoir!

It’s audition season for Houston Boychoir and we want to help make it as easy as possible for you to join our awesome team! So we sat down with Carole Nelson, Artistic Director to take you through the audition process, step by step!

Carole Nelson with the Houston Boychoir

Carole Nelson with the Houston Boychoir

1. When boys enter the audition, the first thing we do is have a conversation. This helps us get to know the boys and it also helps the boys relax. The questions mostly consist of personal knowledge about the boys, such as the school that they attend and what they like to do when they’re not singing.

2. After the interview, we vocalize, singing through some simple scales and passages to see how high or low they can sing at this point, and it gives us a general idea on the quality of their tone.

3. We then sing and play a few short passages and ask the boy to  sing them back. What we evaluate is the boy’s ear for music, or his tonal memory. The audition process is simple. We are looking for a boy’s innate musical talent. If he is accepted into the choir, he will learn all the skills he needs and so much more.

4. Following the audition, boys receive a letter in the mail telling them whether or not they have been accepted into the choir. It is up to the parents to respond and let us know if their boys will be accepting the offer. Some boys may not be developmentally ready and, in those cases, HBC will ask them to wait a year before trying out again. There is also a limit as to how many boys we can accept, and so other boys might be placed on a wait list.

Come and sing for us!

Come and sing for us!

Although the audition process is simple and straightforward, there are certain things that the choirmasters of Houston Boychoir are trained to look for. Below, we listed certain qualities a boy might demonstrate:

1. a passion and excitement for music

2. intelligence and an eagerness and enthusiasm for learning

3. the ability to focus in educational settings

4. a sense of humor and generally a pleasant demeanor that will allow him to function well in a group

Houston Boychoir provides boys with an unparalleled and unforgettable experience. If your son or someone you know has the qualities and talent to be a part of this awesome program, we encourage you to come and audition! Houston Boychoir, it’s a game changer!

Making friends for life!

Making friends for life!

To arrange an audition go to our website: auditions or for more information call 281-484-1560.

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The Man Behind The Arts in Houston

The Houston Boychoir will be honoring Jonathon Glus, President + CEO of the Houston Arts Alliance, at our 4th Annual Scholarship Luncheon. We sat down with Jonathon, to discuss growing up in an artistic family, the Houston Arts Alliance and the cultural atmosphere of our city!

1.WhaIMG_5371t is your background in the arts?

I am not an artist. I grew up in a family of business people who placed a great emphasis on the arts. My father played about 12 different musical instruments, owned a jazz club at one time and both of my sisters are singers. In fact my father’s great dream was to have a family band. We grew up with art around us, it has been an integrated part of my life. In fact, I never knew that it wasn’t part of everyone’s life until I went to college. I do what I do now, because I realized not everyone has access.

  1. How did you get involved with Houston Arts Alliance?

I was recruited for the Houston Arts Alliance in 2007 when the board was looking for someone who was very eager to build a new model for a public-private local arts agency. I was eager to take on the challenge. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to work with a very smart invested board who wanted to build a new organization to serve the entire city.

  1. In your opinion, what is the fundamental purpose of Houston Arts Alliance?

My main purpose is to ensure that every American should have complete access to arts. In a country as affluent as the United States, it should be a natural and fluid part of our lives.

The work of the Houston Arts Alliance on a daily basis, in a very practical sense, is investing in arts organizations and artists through grants; helping to produce stronger arts organizations through capacity building; beautifying our public spaces through civic art; and elevating the cultures of our very diverse city. Ultimately the purpose of HAA is to advance the city in the best way possible through its arts culture.

  1. What is the biggest challenge regarding the public’s perception of arts in Houston?

The perception of Houston as a cultural city is quickly evolving, we’ve had great institutions for a long time. However, I don’t think Houston has done a great job of talking about them because we’ve been busy building them. In addition to that, we need to talk about Houston- not as a great cultural city- but as a city of great art. We need to start changing our narrative so that we’re talking about the fact that this is a vibrant active city that has so much theatre going on. People know that Chicago is a theatre city, people know that London is a theatre city. People don’t think of Houston as a theatre city and we need to tell that story a lot more.


  1. What are you most proud of achieving in and through HAA?

I’m most proud of strengthening, reinvigorating and bringing additional resources to our HAA capacity building programs.  We brought the Arts & Business Council to Houston to provide a variety of resources to the field; we’ve partnered with the Houston Endowment to expand our incubation services to start up organizations; and we will soon be launching the new Jamail Family Innovation Grant and the Heimbinder Program Support & Expansion programs soon.


  1. What advice do you have for anyone who would like to get involved with the arts community?

CEO’s say that their biggest need is creative thinking, so training as an artist is giving you skills that- in addition to your craft- can take you to many places in life that are important. As a culture, America is waking up to the fact that the forces of being trained as an artist is really important to the way we function in communities now. I think there’s never been a better time to be an artist in this country than right now! And I say it with great envy because I am not an artist. I took dance for years, clarinet for years, piano for years! When you train as an artist there is a fundamental way of looking at life that  drives everything that you do. You may make a career of it or you may not, but it will always be a part of you enhancing your world and the world of your community.

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Houston Boychoir Parents!

Our parents involved at our boychoir picnic!

Our parents involved at our boychoir picnic!

One of the most valuable resources in our organization is- hands down our parents! Without parental input and support we would never be able to run a successful choir and help create responsible men out of the boys who come to us. At Houston Boychoir we know and appreciate the value of our parent volunteers. They are awesome caring people who have a multitude of talents that include: sewing, photography, writing, art design, costuming, marketing, video, sales, organizational skills, accounting and book-keeping, cooking, nursing, event planning, communications, design, business, musical skills, sales, computer skills, and so much more.

Parents provide the backbone to our community and it can frequently be seen in the success of the boys whose parents are involved most! But now, scientific studies prove that parental involvement is beneficial to the child, to the parents and to the entire family.

1. Parents are able to be involved in more after-school programs than in-school programs because it usually coincides with their work schedules. Milton J. Little, Jr., President of United Way Atlanta says, “Research shows that students are better off in after-school programs linked to their school activities and where their families are involved and engaged with what they are learning and how they are spending their afternoons.”

Parent pic 1

Our parent fetching water for boys!

2. By being more involved in these programs, parents are more able to monitor their child’s progress and have regular correspondence with the teachers to ensure their child is receiving the right attention for his specific needs.

3. Parents are also educated about the specialized activity their child is involved in, which in our case, is being in a choir and singing. Parent’s musical knowledge and ability can even be built up as they become more involved in what their child is doing.

4. Parents involvement also makes it possible for the organization to do more with less. When parents volunteer less money is spent on staff and more resources are available in direct programming for boys, allowing provision for as many learning opportunities as possible.

Parent pic 2

Parents getting together to plan future meals.

5. Parents involvement can also support more positive parent-child relationships at home (Priscilla Little, Research and Strategy Consultant). Children feel more encouraged when they can see their parents involved in the after-school program, and can go home and discuss it with their parent.

We know parents and their children have many opportunities for after school engagement, “But all these innovative programs and expanded opportunities will not, in and of themselves, make a difference if each of us, as parents and as community leaders, fail to do our part by encouraging excellence in our children.”
– President Barack Obama

So here’s to our parents, we salute you!

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San Antonio TMEA trip!


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!


Preparing for the show!


Riding the river!


Our awesome directors!


Cooling down with some ice cream!


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.


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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