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LOCAL MUSIC EDUCATORS HONORED FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS AT HOUSTON SYMPHONY’S SALUTE TO EDUCATORS CONCERT

HOUSTON (April 27, 2017) – The Houston Symphony honored two deserving music educators Wednesday evening at Jones Hall during the annual Spec’s Charitable Foundation Salute to Educators concert, which featured the talented musicians of the Houston Youth Symphony performing side-by-side with the Houston Symphony.

Salute to Educators is an annual tribute concert for outstanding teachers in Greater Houston and their immeasurable contributions to the community. This year’s program recognized Gabe Musella, a veteran music teacher with nearly 30 years of teaching experience in Texas, with the Spec’s Charitable Foundation Award for Excellence in Music Education. Musella is the director of bands at Spring High School and his students have earned many awards and invitations to perform at festivals and clinics nationwide under his direction. In addition to his teaching contributions, he is an active, published composer and serves on the board of the Foundation for Music Education.

“I’ve always believed that there are no limits to how good you can be other than the limits you place on yourself,” Musella said. “That drives my philosophy on guiding my band program.”

Carolyn Vandiver received the 2017 Aubrey and Sophia Meyer Farb School Bell Award for Lifetime Achievement. She has been the director of orchestras at Stephen F. Austin High School since the school opened its doors in 1995 and was a founding member of the Arlington ISD String Program prior to that. Vandiver has been the co-conductor of the string orchestra of the Houston Youth Symphony for the last 19 years and was also a founding member and manager of the elite chamber orchestra Virtuosi of Houston, an organization designed to provide pre-professional performance opportunities for young musicians.

Brittany Xiao, a former student of Vandiver, said, “Mrs. Vandiver had a great influence on me and my fellow peers, inspiring us to treat school as more than just a class and to pursue lifelong passions of music and foster an appreciation for the arts.”

Led by Associate Conductor Robert Franz, the first half of the evening’s program included Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides” and Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, which featured 16-year old Steven Dong, first place winner at the 2016 Houston Symphony League Concerto Competition. The second half of the concert welcomed the Houston Youth Symphony to perform Debussy’s “La Mer” side-by-side the Houston Symphony.

About Gabe Musella
Gabe Musella, a native of Corpus Christi, Texas, has taught for 29 years in Texas. He is currently Director of Bands at Spring High School in Spring, Texas. A graduate of Texas Tech University, he holds a B.M. in Composition and M.M. in Conducting where he studied with the late James Sudduth.  His bands are consistent UIL Sweepstakes winners and they have placed in the finals of the TMEA Honor Band competition several times. They have performed at The Midwest Clinic in Chicago, the Music For All National Concert Festival, and placed as National Winners in the Mark of Excellence Windband Honors call for tapes. A frequent clinician and adjudicator throughout Texas he has presented sessions at The Midwest Clinic, TBA, TMEA, TCDA, and The South-Central Region Music Conference. Gabe is president of TMEA Region 33, and he serves on the board of The Foundation For Music Education.

The Spring Band has garnered five Midwest performance invitations for the Wind Ensemble (twice), Jazz Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and Saxophone Quartet since 2008. Chamber ensembles have qualified to the finals of the Coltman Chamber Competition in Austin, won the Houston Underground Saxophone Contest, and performed at the MFA National Concert Festival in Indianapolis. In 2014 the Spring Saxophone Quartet won the Junior Division Wind Prize at the prestigious Fischoff Chamber Competition in South Bend, Indiana. The Percussion Ensemble has been invited to perform at the 2017 Western International Band Clinic in Seattle. In 2016 the Spring Music Program was named a Grammy Signature School by the Grammy Foundation. Mr. Musella is honored to have the Spring Band designated as a Houston Symphony Residency School during the 2016 – 17 academic year. The Spring Band was featured in the November 2010 issue of The Instrumentalist, and the marching band has qualified to the State Marching Contest at every opportunity since 2006.

Mr. Musella is an active composer published by RBC, C. Alan, Row Loff, Boosey & Hawkes, Carl Fischer, KJOS, and TRN. His works for band, orchestra, percussion ensemble, and chamber groups have been performed internationally and at major music conferences throughout the United States.  He has served as Guest Composer-in-Residence at UTEP, Texas Tech, and Columbus State University in Georgia. His compositions are found on the Texas PML for band and orchestra, and on similar lists in several states. He has been frequently honored as a Spring ISD Distinguished Educator. Mr. Musella will receive the prestigious Lifetime Meritorious Achievement Award from the Texas Bandmasters Association in July 2017. His affiliations include ASCAP, Phi Beta Mu, TMEA, TBA, TMAA, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the Lamar University Band Camp, the Conn-Selmer VIP program, and the Texas Tech Band and Orchestra Camp where he has been on the staff for over 30 consecutive years. He is a background vocalist for the “shoo-bop” group JC and The Cruisers.  Gabe resides in the Houston suburb of Tomball with his wife Alice, also a Red Raider alum, and their cat, Shiva. Their son, Alex, is a graduate of Texas A & M – Corpus Christi.

About Carolyn Vandiver
Carolyn Vandiver has been teaching orchestra in Texas public schools since 1972.  She was one of the four founders of the Arlington ISD String Program. She has served as director of orchestras at Stephen F. Austin High School in Fort Bend ISD since the school opened in 1995. Austin opened with 16 string students but now has 198 string players.  Her orchestras have earned sweepstakes in the University Interscholastic League (UIL) competition for 38 consecutive years and have been awarded over 100 Sweepstakes awards. Austin has performed three times at the Midwest Clinic (Chicago), Carnegie Hall (NYC), and in Europe (Vienna, Salzburg, Prague). They were the first orchestra to play at a National League Baseball Game, performing for the Houston Astros. One-hundred-forty six AHS Orchestra Students have been accepted and performed in the Texas All-State Orchestras.

She was a founding member and manager of the elite chamber orchestra, “Virtuosi of Houston,” that celebrates its 21st season this year. She frequently gives Region and Recruiting Workshops, Orchestra Presentations for Music Conventions and Teacher in services. The Houston Texans Football Team and First Community Credit Union selected her as one of their twelve “Stars in the Classroom” last year.
Previously, she served as the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) vice-president and orchestra division chair.  Currently, she is the state chair of the Tri-M National Music Honor Society. University Interscholastic League awarded her the title of UIL Outstanding Sponsor in the State of Texas; this included both academic and elective teachers. She also serves as a UIL Orchestra Contest Adjudicator for the state of Texas.

Mrs. Vandiver also is co-conductor of the String Orchestra of the Houston Youth Symphony, a position that she has held for nineteen years.  She delights in watching the growth of so many incredible young musicians.  One of her greatest joys in life is assisting students to transitioning into adulthood and helping them become responsible young people with stellar character and a remarkable work ethic. Many of her former students are now professional musicians and orchestra directors. All four of her children played in orchestra (HYS), and her three daughters are professional musicians and graduates of the New England Conservatory of Music.  She has been married to Jack L. Vandiver, a high school choir director, for 42 years. They are involved, active members in their church.

About the Houston Symphony
During the 2016-17 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its third season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada, and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 87 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston. For tickets and more information, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713-224-7575.

Rejuven8 Medical celebrated their Grand Opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, April 25th at 19875 Southwest Fwy, Suite 260 in Sugar Land, TX.  The Central Fort Bend Chamber welcomed their new member and business with friends and Chamber members joining in on the networking and fun. Rejuven8 Medical’s mission is to provide nonsurgical skin and weight loss treatments that have lasting results. Their main goal is to enhance lives through aesthetic medicine. Aesthetic medicine is an inclusive term for specialties that focus on improving cosmetic appearance.   Rejuven8 Medical offers a wide range of treatments that will restore skin’s youthful glow and procedures including injections like Botox and dermal fillers.  Rejuven8 Medical also offers help to manage weight by prescribing appetite suppressants and providing Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) and Lipo-B injections.

After her son was born, Rosangela Ramirez, Owner, Rejuven8 Medical, went through a period of depression and as a result gained a significant amount of weight.  “I realized that I was only 28 years old, overweight and had serious problems including being diagnosed as pre-diabetic, that’s when I decided to make a change”.  Rosangela shared, “I went back to school to become a nurse practitioner so that I could learn as much as I could to help prevent others from suffering with weight problems, heart disease and diabetes”.  Ms. Ramirez is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner and provides free consultations for Rejuven8 Medical’s patients to find out exactly what works best for each individual.

Rosangela thanked everyone for coming to the ribbon cutting celebration stating, “It’s been a blessing to be a part of the Chamber, I have learned so much and have met so many people through your networking events”.

For more information, you can call Rejuven8 Medical, 281-394-4899 or visit their website http://www.rejuven8medical.com.

The Central Fort Bend Chamber is a 106 year old non-profit membership organization dedicated to creating a strong local economy where businesses can prosper. The Central Fort Bend Chamber advocates for over 1,000 local businesses led by a volunteer board of directors who are dedicated to sustaining Fort Bend County’s quality of life, and keeping our community and economy vibrant. 

For more information on the Chamber or its programs, call 281-342-5464 or visit www.CFBCA.org.

Houston-area Ys will assess children’s swim abilities, offer sample swim lessons

HOUSTON – In Texas, drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 14. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency care for nonfatal submersion injuries. Of the 107 child drownings in Texas last year, Harris County experienced the most with 18 children losing their lives.

All YMCAs in the Greater Houston area are participating, and parents are encouraged to go on-line or visit their closest Y to register their children and secure a spot. Walk-ins are welcome if space is available. Times of the swim classes will vary from center to center.

“May is National Water Safety Month, and the YMCA treats the risk of drowning very seriously,” said Paul McEntire, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Houston. “We are looking forward to having parents bring their children to our centers and having positive experiences with our swim instructors. The more children who learn how to swim, the fewer drownings we will have.”

So far this year, one child has drowned in Harris County.

ASSESSING SWIMMING ABILITY

“We find that parents tend to overestimate their children’s swimming abilities, so it’s important to have your child’s skills assessed. Often, parents realize their children need to work on the basics that will allow them to remain safe when they are in any body of water,” said Rosemary Lengefeld, district executive director of Aquatics at the YMCA of Greater Houston.

Children who enroll in swim lessons at the YMCA this year will experience a new approach to learning how to swim. The YMCA has adopted a new swim model that stresses personal safety and also allows each child to set his or her own pace.

In addition to teaching more than 30,000 children how to swim each year, the YMCA has joined forces with the City of Houston Fire Department, City of Houston Health and Human Services, Texas Children’s Hospital Center, Houston Apartment Association, The Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, and the Texas State Alliance of YMCAs to form the Houston Drowning Prevention Coalition, which is dedicated to eliminating drowning.

During the YMCA’s FREE Swim Class Weekend, members of the coalition will provide literature and giveaways that focus on how to prevent drownings and perform water rescues. Members of the Houston Fire Department will also visit some Y locations to talk about drowning prevention and the importance of learning CPR.

“The YMCA of Greater Houston has identified eliminating drowning as one of its strategic initiatives,” Lengefeld said. “We believe that by collaborating with other leaders in our community, we can do more.”

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR SWIM LESSONS

In many underserved communities, staying safe around water can mean keeping kids away from water, but water safety and swimming are important life skills that need fostering in all children. This year, the YMCA will offer financial assistance for swim lessons to children in high-risk and underserved communities across the Greater Houston area.

In addition, the YMCA will offer free aquatics safety programs for all day camp participants who cannot pass its swim test.

The YMCA also provides free swim lessons to children at participating schools and apartment complexes through a program called Safety Around Water.

For more information on the May 6-7 FREE Swim Class Weekend, please visit www.ymcahouston.org or your nearest YMCA.

Also, test your knowledge about drowning and ways to protect your children by going to https://www.ymcahouston.org/water-safety-swim-skills-quiz/ to take our 5-question quiz. You might be surprised at your score!

Did you know that Wharton County Junior College (WCJC) offers continuing education training using grant dollars for your employees?  And that Workforce Solutions can help you locate the right employees for your business needs at no charge to you? Sharing the benefits from partnering with WCJC and Workforce Solutions on these types of employer needs was the focus of the Working Lunch Series hosted by Central Fort Bend Chamber and held at Workforce Solutions – Rosenberg on April 20th.

Tamara Sealy, Continuing Education Corporate Training Coordinator at WCJC Richmond campus, and De’jashatun “DJ” Williams, a certified Workforce Expert at Workforce Solutions, were the guest speakers at the business luncheon. They presented on the various resources available to area employers, such as, tax credits for hiring new employees, training grants, work-based learning programs, human resources support, labor compliance laws, and more.

“No matter the size of your business, we [WCJC] can develop a curriculum that provides the necessary development skills training fit for your business,” says Sealy.  “We utilize many of the courses that are already offered in our normal accredited curriculum and develop additional skills training that is right for the job at hand,” she states.

Williams provided an overview on how partnering with Workforce Solutions works. “We help employers build a strong workforce and help people build careers,” he says. “If you are looking to hire employees to do a specific job, Workforce Solutions can put candidates through a work-experience program at no cost to the employer for a period of time,” explains Williams. “Once they are hired and receiving on-the-job training, the employer will still benefit from a 50% reimbursement of the new hires’ wages during the duration of the training,” he states.

For more information about how to apply for training grants, call 281-239-1530. For further details on the benefits that Workforce Solutions has to offer, call 281-334-0279, ext. 2451.

The Central Fort Bend Chamber’s Working Lunch Series focuses on technical education topics for small businesses and is held the third Thursday of each month. The next Working Lunch Series will be held on May 18th at Fort Bend Country Club and focused on sales revolution and keeping competitive.

The cost of the luncheon is $25 for Chamber members and $35 for non-members.

For more information or to register, go to www.CFBCA.org or call Debbie Kilen at 281-342-5464.

The Central Fort Bend Chamber is a 106 year old non-profit membership organization dedicated to creating a strong local economy where businesses can prosper. The Central Fort Bend Chamber advocates for over 1,000 local businesses led by a volunteer board of directors who are dedicated to sustaining Fort Bend County’s quality of life, and keeping our community and economy vibrant.

 

(Columbus, TX)  Live music returns to the Columbus Farmers’ market this week when the duo or Waddell and Prause perform on Saturday, April 29th at 9:30 am.  Larry Waddell, originally from Columbus and Eagle Lake, lived in Michigan for several years where he was lead singer in several bands.  He moved to Brenham a few years ago where he now resides.  Russell Prause was born and raised in Columbus and has played in several bands over the last 30 years.  He opened for several Nashville recording artists and has also played in some of their bands.  Prause has performed for Columbus area functions for many years.  Waddell and Prause will play a variety of music from country to rock and roll.

The Columbus Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday from 9 am to Noon on the Historic Courthouse Square at the corner of Walnut (highway 90) and Travis Street.  Vendors sell everything from breakfast tacos, tamales, hot coffee, fresh produce, homemade baked goods, fresh gulf shrimp, local farm raised beef and poultry, to jewelry, crafts, pies and cakes, plants, jams, jellies, local olive oil, local honey, berries, greens, carrots, beets, squash, handmade soaps, homemade soups, tomatoes, herbs, yummy Filipino egg rolls and lots more.

Visitors may enter a weekly drawing for $50 in Farmers’ Market Merchandise Certificate.  It’s free to enter. One new winner is chosen every week.

On April 28, school district Superintendents of Fort Bend County will give a State of the School Address to the community at Safari Texas Ranch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Hosted by Central Fort Bend Chamber, Dr. Thomas Randle, Lamar CISD Superintendent; Dr. Charles E. Dupre, Fort Bend ISD Superintendent; and Curtis Rhodes, Needville ISD Superintendent will share the latest improvements, district goals, and upcoming changes in the academic programs they oversee.

Each school district is managed by a Superintendent that is hired by and reports to the local elected school board.  Superintendents work with school leaders to serve the needs of students and meet the district goals.  They also respond to the demands of all the other constituencies and interest groups in the district – teachers, students, parents, staff, advocates, and the community at large – and consider how to use the financial and human resources of the district in order to achieve the best results.

As one of the fastest growing counties in the United States, Fort Bend County’s academic success impacts the economic success and the quality of life in the community.

Attending the upcoming Chamber luncheon is a great opportunity to hear from Randle, Dupre and Rhodes about the mission and vision they have for the school districts they serve.

For questions about this event, contact Debbie Kilen at 281-342-5464. To register by April 25, go to www.cfbca.org/events.

Candidates vying for the mayor position for City of Richmond answered questions and spoke with voters at the Candidate Forum hosted by the Central Fort Bend Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee. The forum was held Tuesday, April 18, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the George Memorial Library and attracted a full house of interested voters. The Central Fort Bend Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman, Matt Breazeale, acted as the moderator for the evening’s event.

Candidates Tres Davis, and Mayor Evalyn Moore were asked questions regarding preparations for the expected growth of Fort Bend County infrastructure, and bringing tourism to the City of Richmond.  “I will work for all of Richmond….and we have begun the engineering plans for silencing the train horns.” said Moore.  “I have no problem standing in the gap and making hard decisions when they are needed.” said Davis.  The candidates also shared what they believed was best for Richmond and its citizens giving their reasoning as to why they should be elected.

Early voting begins April 24, 2017 and the general election for City of Richmond is May 6, 2017.

The Central Fort Bend Chamber is a 106 year old non-profit membership organization dedicated to creating a strong local economy where businesses can prosper. The Central Fort Bend Chamber advocates for over 1,000 local businesses led by a volunteer board of directors who are dedicated to sustaining Fort Bend County’s quality of life, and keeping our community and economy vibrant.

For more information on the Chamber or its programs, call 281-342-5464 or visit www.CFBCA.org

James Williams Elementary School recently did a program with 36 specially chosen 5th grade students who trained, applied and blasted off to space in an elaborate NASA ceremony. The students wore spacesuits which included helmets and life support packs. They made a homemade shuttles and were scheduled to spend from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. experiencing various space simulations while attempting to survive in space on their mission.
The students and the staff spent 10-weeks after school learning about space and building their own shuttle for the event that took place on April 13th. As part of the program John Gruener from NASA came out to speak to the children and give some examples of space and distances of the Moon and Mars from the Earth and asked the children lots of questions. Several of the students came very close to the correct answers. Gruener is a Houston native who was born in 1961 which was the same year that human spaceflight began.
Space-themed movies and television shows were a staple in his life growing up in Spring Branch.
Gruener has been at NASA’s Johnson Space Center since 1986 and currently works in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division. Most of his work is in advanced mission planning for the future human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars, specifically focusing on science goals, objectives, and surface operations.
Past efforts involved working in Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division Soil Chemistry. He also worked in the Mineralogy laboratories developing a mineral-based substrate for plant growth in regenerative live support systems, and supporting Mars Exploration Rover missions of Spirit and Opportunity.
Gruener’s wide range of activities in the space program have included working as a rocket scientist, systems engineer, space farmer and planetary scientist.
Gurener’s background made him uniquely qualified to speak to JWE’s fifth grade explorers. He had a slide presentation which explained the things that happen in space. He used an example of the location the earth is to the Moon and to Mars. He used a Cantaloupe to represent the earth, an orange to represent the Moon and a Lime to represent Mars. He then had the students estimate how far each would be apart and the students came very close to the correct positions. The students paid apt attention to all he had to say. After his slide presentation the students went on to present their home-made shuttle.
Check out www.thekatynews.com for a photo gallery and audio from the events. Thank you JWE for inviting The Katy News to be part of this production event.

On Saturday, April 8, over 3,500 Houston-area residents participated in the fifth annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. Families with children of all abilities were on hand for the non-competitive 1K and 3K courses. Following the race, participants enjoyed the Family Fun Zone, presented by H-E-B, which featured more than 40 attractions including food, refreshments, activities and games.

 

 

On April 6, 2017 the Volunteers of OakBend Medical Center held their second Power of the Pur$e fundraiser to raise money to help with the renovation of the hospital’s Skilled Nursing Unit.

The event, held at Safari Texas, included lunch and a silent auction of 31 purses ranging in value from slightly less than $100 to over $1,000. The keynote speaker for the event was LaDonna Gatlin, Texas humorist, singer and song writer, motivational speaker and sister to the Gatlin Brothers. LaDonna sang a couple of songs and spoke about each of the attendees having a song in their hearts and encouraged them to find that song and live their life to the fullest.

“This is the second year for this event,” stated Donna Ferguson, VP and COO of the OakBend Medical Group and Volunteer Liaison, “and one of the largest fundraisers the volunteers sponsor. This event adds a new dimension to their fundraising efforts and brings lunch and shopping together for a fun reprieve in the middle of the day.”

With over 100 attendees, the event took in almost $14,000.