I am a Soldier
Photos & Video by Lynn Lane
Mark Buller, composer
Sam Schultz, baritone
Welcome to the Veterans Songbook!
HGOco began the Veterans Songbook community initiative in 2014, under the guidance of HGOco’s Founding Director, Sandra Bernhard. This program took a broad view of community to one of shared experience – military service to one’s country. An outlet for creative self-expression for Houston veterans, the project also sought to raise awareness of the commitment and challenges faced by this diverse, resilient and growing group. With the involvement of over 10 partner organizations, 150 participants and 12 composers, a new Houston songbook of some 30 pieces has been created from the stories of our city’s veterans.
Mark Thomas as the Younger Thomson in Glory Denied.
Photo by Lynn Lane
7 p.m. Wednesday, October 25, 2017 , free
Syndicated columnist and freelance writer Tom Philpott will stop by Brazos for a reading and Q&A Wednesday night in advance of Houston Grand Opera and HGOco’s presentation of the chamber opera Glory Denied by Tom Cipullo, based on Philpott’s book, Glory Denied: The Vietnam Saga of Jim Thompson, America’s Longest-Held POW, in November. Philpott documented the history of Thompson, and the opera draws from it to tell the story of a man returning home to a country he barely recognizes, set of course during the society-shifting days of the Vietnam era.
VETERANS SONGBOOK PROJECT FINAL CONCERT
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Christ Church Cathedral
Free and open to the public
HGOco’s Veterans Songbook Project (2014–17) gives voice to the stories of Houston-based men and women who have served our country and to their loved ones, sparking a community-wide conversation about conflict, courage, strength, sacrifice, and hope.
HGOco partners include Goodwill, Grace After Fire, U.S. VETS, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Carpetbag Theater Company, Multicultural Education and Counseling through the Arts, and Writers In The Schools. This concert will feature the music set to the text resulting from the storytelling and writing workshops held at these organizations, as well as additional works created from interviews and archival research of wartime efforts.
In addition, this capstone event includes spoken-word performances by veterans, created in partnership with Applied Theatre at the Alley and Max Rayneard from The Telling Project. Selected works to be featured by the following composers:
Mary Carol Warwick
Ryan Adam Wells
Jonathan Booker is a composer with an interest in social and political conditions. He has composed for AURA Contemporary Ensemble, Da Camera Chamber Music and Jazz, HGOco and the Flute Studio at the Lamont School of Music. His work has been performed atthe Robert Avalon International Competition, the Other Competition, the 2017 Composer Conference at Wellesley College, Thailand International Composition Festival, and the Oregon Bach Festival. Jonathan is currently pursuing a D.M.A. in composition from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and holds a master’s degree in composition from the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music.
Dr. Henry Darragh graduated from the University of Houston Moores School of Music in 2015 with a DMA in conducting. His composing, piano and trombone playing, and singing focus mostly on jazz. He has released two recordings as a leader and is currently arranging and coproducing big band and small group recordings of iconic Houston rap. The first single, “Sittin’ Sidewayz,” will be released in the spring of 2018, featuring Paul Wall (the original artist). He teaches privately and at the University of Houston–Clear Lake.
Ryan Adam Wells is an alternative country singer-songwriter and vaudeville comedian. He has performed to sold-out crowds in Texas, California (Los Angeles), Canada, Scotland, and Australia, and garnered several awards and commendations along the way. He is currently based in Houston, where he opened for HGOco’s popular 2017 production of Das Barbecü. He is also the emcee for the burlesque troupe The Moonlight Dolls and is one-third of the comedy troupe Sound & Fury.
Kate Wasserman has played many different instruments since she was a child, but she mainly loves to sing. She did that a lot as a kid, and only dabbled in songwriting. She obtained a degree in music therapy to work with kids with autism, and then she relocated to Houston for work. After a traumatic hand injury brought on by a frantic, busy lifestyle, she started focusing on her own life’s healing and music. She still spends time with kids of all ages, every day, sharing the journey of healing through music.
Dr. Mary Carol Warwick is a composer and librettist whose works have been widely performed in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Republic of Singapore. Dr. Warwick—who received bachelor of arts and bachelor of music degrees from Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., and master of music and foctor of musical srts degrees from Florida State University—did her post-doctoral work at the University of Houston with Carlisle Floyd. Warwick has written nine operas for children commissioned by Houston Grand Opera, including two bilingual operas, Cinderella in Spain and Rapunzel. Warwick was the recipient of an Opera New World Grant and a National Endowment for the Arts Challenge Grant.
Madeline Styskal is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in music composition at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, where she has studied composition under Robert Smith and David Ashley White, and piano performance with Tali Morgulis. Highlights from the start of her career include multiple collaborations with HGOco, WITS, and area primary schools through the MyVoice project in 2015; a commission by the Kingwood Park High School Chamber Orchestra in 2016; the Veteran’s Songbook Project in 2016; and writing for the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception choir in Moscow. Whether texted or instrumental, her works typically find their grounding in storytelling.