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Houston Symphony

Happy 70th Birthday, Houston Symphony Chorus!

A love letter and audio birthday card to the Houston Symphony Chorus in honor of its 70th Anniversary

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  • Initially known as the Houston Chorale, the Chorus sang its first official concert with the Houston Symphony & conductor Efrem Kurtz in April 1949. (Photo Credit: Bob Bailey Studios/Houston Symphony Archives)
    Initially known as the Houston Chorale, the Chorus sang its first official concert with the Houston Symphony & conductor Efrem Kurtz in April 1949. (Photo Credit: Bob Bailey Studios/Houston Symphony Archives)
  • Program from the Houston Chorale's first official concert with the Houston Symphony (Photo Credit: Houston Symphony Archives)
    Program from the Houston Chorale's first official concert with the Houston Symphony (Photo Credit: Houston Symphony Archives)
  • Houston Symphony, chorus & soloists; exact date unknown (Photo Credit: Harper Lieper Studios/Houston Symphony Archives)
    Houston Symphony, chorus & soloists; exact date unknown (Photo Credit: Harper Lieper Studios/Houston Symphony Archives)
  • The Houston Symphony Chorale in 1966 (Photo Credit: Roger Powers/Houston Symphony Archives)
    The Houston Symphony Chorale in 1966 (Photo Credit: Roger Powers/Houston Symphony Archives)
  • Houston Symphony and Chorale in the "Symphony Olympics," April 1984 at First Baptist Church, Houston (Photo Credit: Houston Symphony Archives)
    Houston Symphony and Chorale in the "Symphony Olympics," April 1984 at First Baptist Church, Houston (Photo Credit: Houston Symphony Archives)
  • The Houston Symphony & Chorus in concert with current Music Director, Andrés Orozco-Estrada at Jones Hall (Photo Credit: Wilson Parish)
    The Houston Symphony & Chorus in concert with current Music Director, Andrés Orozco-Estrada at Jones Hall (Photo Credit: Wilson Parish)
  • Dr. Weber is the 8th Director in the Chorus' history.  She began her tenure in the 2014-2015 season, after having served as Assistant & Associate Director and chorus member. (Photo Credit: Claire McAdams Photography)
    Dr. Weber is the 8th Director in the Chorus' history. She began her tenure in the 2014-2015 season, after having served as Assistant & Associate Director and chorus member. (Photo Credit: Claire McAdams Photography)
  • Today's Houston Symphony Chorus in concert at Jones Hall (Photo Credit: Jeff Fitlow)
    Today's Houston Symphony Chorus in concert at Jones Hall (Photo Credit: Jeff Fitlow)

It began with a rehearsal on October 29, 1946, and the seeds were sown for the Houston Symphony Chorus.

Now 70 years later, this official choral arm of the Houston Symphony is celebrating its rich and colorful history of memorable performances, working with legendary conductors, forming friendships and making beautiful music.

Here's a sound portrait of the Houston Symphony Chorus' past and present, as told by Chorus Director Betsy Cook Weber.

Music used in this segment:

Carmina Burana by Carl Orff (excerpts)
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Houston Symphony
Colombian Youth Philharmonic
Houston Symphony Chorus & high school students
Recorded July 17, 18, 2015

"Ode to Joy" from Symphony No. 9 by Ludwig van Beethoven (excerpts)
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Houston Symphony & Chorus
Recorded March 18 – 20, 2016

Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein (excerpts)
Andrés Orozco-Estrada, conductor
Houston Symphony & Chorus
Recorded March 18 – 20, 2016

Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Senior Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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