A shout out to Queen: Houston Chamber Choir gets down for Bohemian Rhapsody
It may be the big four that anchor the city's art scene. But in addition to the Houston Symphony, Houston Ballet, Alley Theatre and Houston Grand Opera, it's the smaller groups that add their own tune to the Bayou City's cultural score and paint the town with artful diversity.
Among them is the Houston Chamber Choir, whose second fundraising gala on Sunday grew from last year's affair. The choir welcomed 170 donors to the Czech Center Museum Houston for a buffet supper, mini concert and both silent and live auctions.
This isn't a spirit fingers glee club, although the 24 professional choristers don't shy away from belting notes that reach beyond their classical training. A selection by Czech nationalist composer Antonín Dvořák sure was fitting as the opening number, but tongue-in-cheek songs such as The Who's "Pinball Wizard" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," which showed off alto Ryan Stickney and soprano Kelli Shircliffe, had guests smiling and wiggling in their chairs.
Robert Simpson honored Moores School of Music director David Ashley White, whose compositions have become a standard in the repertoire of many choral ensembles.
Artistic director Robert Simpson honored University of Houston Moores School of Music director David Ashley White, whose compositions have become a standard in the repertoire of many choral ensembles. In fact, Houston Chamber Choir's first ever commissioned piece, The Blue Estuaries, was by White.
On the auction block was a painting of Simpson by Huntsville native David Adickes, a sparkly Baccarat vase bundle with a fresh monthly flowers courtesy of Aubrey Sellers and trips to New York City and New Mexico. Former board chair and funny man John McCoy's auctioneer skills cleaned up some wallets to help raise $78,000 for the nonprofit, setting a record for the Houston Chamber Choir.
Luck was on the side of Adele and Dr. Anthony Gorody — the door prize, a floral arrangement also by Sellers, was theirs to keep.
In the melodious affair with executive director Becky Tobin and hubby Stephen were Laura and Michael Puzio, Stefanie and Philip de Gruyter, Sally and Mike Clark, board chair Frank Hood, Alan Austin, Paul English, Effie and Bill Rosene, Melissa McCrimmon and Eric Larson, Stephanie Dory, Robin Angly, and David Whorton.