Robert Simpson, founder and artistic director of Houston Chamber Choir, conducts his Grammy-nominated choir.

When the Houston Chamber Choir presents its 21st Annual Hear the Future Festival on Sunday, Robert Simpson, its founder and artistic director, won’t be there. That’s because he’ll be living it up at this year’s Grammy Awards, where the Choir has been nominated in the category of Best Choral Performance.

Simpson says he was surprised and honored by the nomination—the Choir’s first since it was founded in 1995—which it received for the album Duruflé: Complete Choral Works.

While Simpson is in L.A., Houston audiences can listen to remarkable choirs much closer to home. As in previous years, the Choir’s yearly showcase will feature some of the Houston area’s best school choirs.

“Choral groups don’t often get to perform outside their communities,” explains Simpson, “so this is a wonderful opportunity not only for the participating choirs, but also for audiences to hear what great talent we have here in the region.”

Hear the Future Festival isn’t just about the groups who perform for Simpson. It’s about singing, itself.

“Singing is a natural human response,” he says. “Whether you’re singing because you’re happy, or you’re singing over something sad, singing is part of being human. Everyone is born with the ability to sing, and it is our birthright to sing and express ourselves.”

Jan 26. Free. South Main Baptist Church, 4100 Main St. More info at houstonchamberchoir.org

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