The University of Houston Magazine

UH Moores Concert Chorale 

by Mike Emery

If they had jet lag, it didn’t show. The members of the University of Houston Moores School of Music Concert Chorale had journeyed eight hours by plane and four hours by bus to participate in the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Wales. Travel fees were aided by donations from Continental Airlines and others.

When it came time to perform for an international audience, the chorale’s singers were not short on energy. Under the direction of Betsy Cook Weber (D.M.A. ’95), their voices rose to the occasion –– dazzling audiences and impressing the event’s esteemed adjudicators. By the festival’s climax, the UH Moores Concert Chorale was among five top groups competing for the distinction of Choir of the World.

“It was exhilarating to be competing in that very select group,” says Weber, undergraduate choral studies director. “Our singers were ‘brilliant’ that night.”

The Moores Concert Chorale was the only choir at the festival to emerge as a finalist in all of its competitions, which deserves a standing ovation.

The chorale took first place in the Chamber Choir Competition. As the top chamber choir, they qualified to compete for the Choir of the World. UH also earned second place in the Mixed Choir Competition and third place in both the Youth Choir and Folk Choir competitions.

The chorale also won over the people of Wales. Upon their arrival, the Cougar singers participated in a parade. As Texas’ sole choir, the UH chorale donned cowboy hats and Lone Star shirts. It was a winning combination that captured the hearts of the Welsh spectators, who exclaimed “Go Texas” or “Yeee-ha” as the chorale marched past them.

Moreover, the chorale was the only U.S. choir to perform in the festival’s opening night Peace Concert.

Among a host of UH supporters were President Renu Khator and husband Suresh, UH industrial engineering professor; Moores School of Music director David Ashley White (’68, M.M. ’74), who composed one of the songs performed by the chorale, “I Saw Eternity;” and Texas Music Festival director Alan Austin (’91, M.M. ’93). And, UK-based UH alumnus James Murray (’72) proudly displayed his Cougar pride.

“I am so proud of all of you,” President Khator told the chorale at the festival’s conclusion. “You not only represented UH but also the U.S. This has been a great week, and I am so glad to have been here to witness this. GO COOGS!” 

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