Our Stories

image: many smiling faces of International Voices Houston

Being part of this choir allows me to combine my love for singing with meeting people from a huge variety of cultures, countries, and backgrounds. You find out that music spans all cultural, language, political, religious and any other boundaries that have a tendency to divide us in our regular lives. International Voices Houston brings out the best of all these talented people.

— Leo Valk, Bass, The Netherlands

Making music with this amazing group of people is the primary reason I am not homesick for Chicago. I never sang in a choir before I moved to Houston four years ago. I came to a rehearsal on the last day of auditions with the friend who was showing me around the city. The director told me ‘everyone has a voice’ and proclaimed me to be an alto. I joined International Voices Houston then, and have been a member ever since.

— Susan Nerlove, Alto, USA

When I moved to the U.S. many years ago, I stopped singing, because I was unfamiliar with the English language and with the lyrics of popular songs. This choir brought back to me my greatest passion in life. Thanks to International Voices Houston, I started to sing again and I enjoy it greatly! I learned how to sing in many other languages of the world. It is an extraordinary group and extraordinary experience!

— Roma Polanska, Soprano, Poland

When I was working on a degree in international business, I learned how deeply many people fear the effects of globalization. Our choir gives globalization a human face that everyone can relate to. Ours is collectively an essential voice to foster collaboration, growth, and peace.

— Rex Gillit, Baritone, USA

To me, Monday nights mean great music, learning experience, friendship, fun, lots of laughter and positive energy. I leave the rehearsal reenergized and happy every week no matter what my mood is before the rehearsal. I am grateful to be a part of this choir.

— Birnur Guven, Alto, Turkey

My life is so much fuller since this geek geologist has been able to raise her voice with such a great group of people!

— Bonnie Milne, Alto, USA

I had been looking for a choir to sing in for a while and joined one in the Woodlands which Mark happened to be conducting. His amazing talents and leadership style caused me to follow him to International Voices Houston. What a joy and blessing it has been to be a part of this amazing choir.

— Kenneth Jacob, Tenor, India

The joy of singing is a wonderful thing, and those of us who have been given this great gift have been allowed to sing with the most amazing group of singers: International Voices Houston.

It has been so long since I left a rehearsal with such joy in my heart, and I am so looking forward to returning to next week’s meeting with Mark Vogel. What a pleasure and honor to sing for him. This choir is certainly headed in the right direction.

We have an opportunity to bring joy and happiness to so many people in the Houston area. Let us show the world and all who come to our concerts that we are united in love, faith, and knowing that we are created to work together in the brotherhood of mankind. I want to work in making our group more accessible to those who may not have had the opportunity to come to our concerts and show them the great music that we can produce. As one friend once told me, "We are all given gifts and those gifts are not ours to keep but to share in the circle of life. Let us all come together to show the community our gifts of love and beauty through music."

Thank you, Mark Vogel. You are a true inspiration, and I know that you will help guide this choir to our highest potential. Love and remember to keep your heart open to everyone. You never know how much your singing is going to help someone in their darkest hour. And that, my friends, is a true hero.

Peace and Love,

— Beverly Ladnier, Soprano, USA

When I am at an International Voices Houston rehearsal, I find it almost impossible to stop smiling. There is something sublimely powerful about the fact that despite anything else that may be happening in our lives, people from all over the world choose to come together every week to create something magical.

When I sing a song from another country, it’s not the linguistic challenge or the ethnic melody that makes me fall in love with the song; it’s knowing that I am giving life to this music that transcends language and is a fundamental, joyous part of the human experience. No other choir but International Voices Houston can do that.

— Doreen Lee, Soprano, Taiwan

Last night was the first rehearsal for the 2016-2017 season for International Voices Houston, and the first with our new Director Mark Vogel.

What a wonderful evening it was! The energy level and excitement were palpable from long before the rehearsal began. Mark welcomed many new members from his other choirs and associations, auditions and returning members. We started with a great warmup that ended with the most beautiful tone for the choir. Then it was a quick tour through the many lovely pieces lined up for the Holiday Concert. It is evident we have a fun and exciting season ahead.

Thank you very much to Mark for getting us off to such a great start. Thank you very much to all the hard working volunteers who planned and organized throughout the summer to make this season a success.

— Jennifer Monopolis, Soprano, New Zealand

Thank you so much for providing me the unique (and unforgettable) opportunity to sing and tour with International Voices Houston this past season and summer. The choir trip to Vienna, Bratislava, and Prague was absolutely incredible, and I truly appreciate your scholarship that allowed me to participate. I've sung (and traveled) with many choirs, but there's something very special about the people in International Voices Houston! They're warm & welcoming & funny & just fantastic! It was a true joy singing with the choir again this year, and I enjoyed getting to know everyone better this spring and on the trip. Again, thank you so much for this very memorable experience & opportunity. I look forward to seeing all the good things International Voices Houston has in store for the future.

— Megan W., Soprano One, Choral Scholars Program, USA

Let me tell you a little about my choir, and why I love it. I joined this choir before we had even found a house in Houston. It instantly made Houston feel like home. It allowed me to meet people and make lifelong friends. I felt like I had found a piece of myself I didn't know was missing. Of course, the music is inspiring, but it is so much more than that. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the nation, and this choir EMBRACES that diversity. We have close to 100 singers from 30 different countries that speak 15 different languages. It is truly incredible to have that many people, from so many backgrounds, united for a single purpose. It is a beautiful thing, and something we need more of in the world. There is no where else I would rather spend my Monday evenings, I love making music with these wonderful people.

— Lindsay Reilly, Soprano, USA