“The shopping mall can be one of the most dreaded places to visit during the holiday season as shoppers race about,” writes Lawrence Elizabeth Knox in Sunday’s (11/26) Houston Chronicle. “Memorial City Mall, however, has a calming room of music tucked down a side hallway near Target. During a recent Thursday, musicians ages 11 to 18 filled the room, and … conductor Andrzej Grabiec was leading them through Mozart’s Symphony No. 31 … The evening marked the first rehearsal of the season for the chamber orchestra known as Virtuosi of Houston. Co-artistic directors Grabiec and Franz Anton Krager … founded Virtuosi in 1996… As many as 150 children audition each year, but only about 50 are accepted…. Zarine Boyce … has volunteered her services as president and CEO of the music organization for the past 18 years…. Once a child is accepted into the orchestra, he or she is never turned away for lack of being able to afford it…. Each year, [Virtuosi] ensembles present about 105 concerts, a majority … in venues like hospitals and senior living facilities. Another program, A Touch of Music, is an after-school collaboration between Virtuosi and the Houston Independent School District.”

Posted November 30, 2017