In the fall of 1985, I was approached by Dudley Cavenaugh after church one day. Dudley was the “Early Service” choir director at Kingwood United Methodist Church, of which I was a member. He told me that he was putting together a choral group to perform classical choral music with orchestral accompaniment and felt that it should be organized legally in order to qualify for tax exempt status in order to seek contributions from the community. He wanted to call it the “Kingwood Musical Arts Society”. As I was a practicing lawyer at the time he asked if I would be willing to draw up the legal documents for the organization. I excitedly agreed but with two important conditions—that he allow me to sing with the chorus and, that he permit me to support the organization financially for the rest of my life. He excitedly agreed (with some reservation about the singing part).
While there have been occasional hiatuses over the many ensuing years, I’ve participated with what we named the “Kingwood Chorale” ever since. For those thirty plus years the Chorale has performed twice a year (with the rare exception—the Covid year being the most notable) and has established a reputation in the Greater Houston area as one of the premier choral ensembles in the area.
For many of these years I have served, off and on, as a member of the Board of Directors and for quite a few of those years as its Chairman.
During these years the Chorale performed a very wide range of classical choral music—most of the numerous “Requiems” and “Masses” by the worlds most famous composers, as well as more contemporary material from modern “Americana” to traditional folk music. We have traveled on tour in Italy, Austria the U.K. and Canada, and performed at Carnegie Hall in 2007.
Sadly, Dudley passed away after a long and heroic battle with cancer in the year 1996. The organization suffered in silence for a while but was ultimately revived when we were graced by Dr. Todd Miller joining our organization as our new Artistic Director and Conductor. Dr. Miller quickly showed his mastery at being able to take a bunch of community people that just “like to sing” to new levels of excellence.
Being able to be a part of the life of this organization has been one of the great joys of my life. I’ve not otherwise experienced the tremendous pride and satisfaction of completing a spectacular concert of glorious music to a full audience of our friends and neighbors. And, yes, we’ve been able to keep our heads above water financially over the years as well, thanks to our loyal and dedicated community of supporters and advertisers.
I will be retiring this year as Chairman and because of the numerous plans we have made for our retirement will not be able to continue with any regularity as a member of the chorale. I will miss it, but I leave knowing that we have created something very worthwhile and something that will remain a very important part of me for the rest of my life.