Houstonians are well aware of the talents of the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music Concert Chorale. In the past five years, the acclaimed choir – led by Betsy Cook Weber – has taken its talents across the Atlantic three times to dazzle international audiences. Soon, it will return to Europe to perform and compete in the Grand Prix of Nations in Magdeburg, Germany.
The Chorale will perform July 5 – 12 in Germany, but audiences don’t have to purchase airfare to enjoy its music this summer. The group is performing a series of free send-off shows prior to its departure. A concert schedule is as follows:
- 6 p.m., June 29 – Zion Lutheran Church (3606 Beauchamp St.)
- 7:30 p.m., June 30 – All Saints Catholic Church (215 E. 10th St.)
- 7:30 p.m., July 3 – Moores Opera House at UH (Entrance 16 off Cullen Boulevard)
During these special concerts, the Chorale will spotlight works that will be performed in Germany. Songs range from country classics (“If You’re Gonna Play in Texas”) to American folks standards (“Old Joe Clark”) and spirituals (“Down in the River to Pray”). Classical masterpieces by the likes of Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck and Francis Poulenc also will be performed.
The Chorale also will spotlight a piece from one of its biggest supporters, David Ashley White, UH professor of composition and former director of the Moores School of Music. UH’s singers first performed White’s “I Saw Eternity” in 2009 at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales.
Earlier this year, Weber was notified of the Chorale’s acceptance into the exclusive Grand Prix. Its participation was made possible following a stellar performance at a previous German festival, the 2013 International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf. The group earned first prize and the award for best interpretation of a religious work.
In addition to performances in Wales and Germany, the Chorale performed at the Florilege Vocal de Tours in France in 2011.
While the increased support of international audiences is encouraging, Weber said there is no substitute for hometown applause.
“The students have worked very hard to prepare for this important competition, and it is so gratifying to have our community come listen to us and then cheer us on from afar,” she said.
The Moores School of Music is one of the premier music schools in America. Offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, it serves approximately 600 students annually. Areas of study include composition, conducting, performance, theory and musicology. Its faculty consists of internationally recognized performers, composers and scholars. Among its ensembles are the Moores School Symphony Orchestra, Moores Jazz Ensemble, Moores Opera Center, Concert Chorale, Concert Women’s Chorus, Spirit of Houston Cougar Marching Band, Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. A majority of the school’s concerts are performed in the 800-seat Moores Opera House. For more details on the Moores School of Music, visit http://www.music.uh.edu/.