Houston Choral Society celebrates three decades of cultural influence locally, internationally


Kevin Klotz, artistic director for the Houston Choral Society, said music has played a significant role in his life since he was a young boy. His father played the guitar, his uncles performed in a country band and his grandmother sang opera music.

Before long, he found himself learning to play various instruments and performing in groups at school. He would go on to study piano performance at Houston Baptist University and later study choral directing at the University of Houston.

“Music is all I’ve ever known,” he said. “It’s something I go to because it brings me a lot of joy.”

A couple of years ago, members of the Houston Choral Society approached Klotz asking him to direct the singers when Betty Devine, long-time friend and founder of the group, retired after 29 years directing.

Devine founded the group in the fall of 1987 with 30 community members and Houston Community College students in an effort to advance the choral arts through educational experiences and collaborations with other groups.

In its 30 years of existence, the group has made five international tours, singing in major European cities such as London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Berlin, Rome, Vienna and Budapest. In Houston, the group opened the Republican National Convention in 1992 and has performed for children in local hospitals at Christmastime.

“Dr. Devine has built a very successful and professional ensemble that has clearly established itself as a powerful force in the choral community,” Klotz said. “My vision is to continue these things as well as the high excellence already established by the ensemble, and to continue to perform great masterworks.”

Today, Houston Choral Society has nearly 75 members who perform a variety of music—from major classical works to Broadway reviews and folk music—alongside a live orchestra. With an average of six performances every year, which take place at The Foundry Church on Jones Road, Klotz said there are eight to 10 rehearsals for each concert.

Houston Choral Society is funded by ticket sales, donations, grants and contributions from the chorus members themselves. Those interested in getting involved can audition by appointment Jan. 7 from 9 a.m.-noon or Jan. 9 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at The Foundry Church, 8350 Jones Road, Houston.

“I think the community knows the hard work the singers put into presenting professional-level concerts that not only sound great, but also communicate emotion and passion,” Klotz said. “The singers really become the music and connect to their audiences.”

The Foundry Church, 8350 Jones Road, Houston

1987 – Betty Devine founded Houston Choral Society tied to Houston Community College
1990 – Nonprofit called Friends of the Houston Choral Society was chartered to raise funding
1992 – The chorus performed for the opening of the Republican National Convention in Houston
1996 – The group moved performances to Foundry United Methodist Church
1999 – Houston Choral Society became a nonprofit organization independent from the college system
2001 – The group’s first international tour took place in England and Scotland
2004 – In response to an invitation from the Vatican, the group sang at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome
2008 – “Set Me on a Rock” was commissioned and performed for Hurricane Katrina victims
2015 – Houston Choral Society makes its fifth international trip to perform in Germany

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Danica Smithwick
Danica joined Community Impact Newspaper in May 2016 after graduating with a journalism degree from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. She covers public education, local government, business, demographic trends, real estate development, nonprofits and more in the Cy-Fair community.
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