Houston Ebony Opera Guild, a company of classical singers based in Houston's African American community is committed to the expansion of opportunities for participation in and exposure to opera, traditional Negro Spirituals and other classical music genres. Its singers are selected by audition. Talent, formal training, and experience are important prerequisites for qualified singers.
Founded by the late Dr. Robert A. Henry (19161996), the Guild presented occasional concerts in Houston and elsewhere during the late 1980's. During its early years, HEOG was well known nationally for the large number of outstanding, professional soloists included in its membership. Through its parent body, Houston Ebony Music Society, Inc., Ebony Opera Guild became a formal, tax-exempt organization in 1992 and produced Porgy and Bess, its very first opera. All cast members of the production were local singers. Since then, productions have come to include superb artists from Houston, and around the United States.
Today, Houston Ebony Opera Guild is acclaimed by audiences and critics for its productions. Its ability to satisfy the demands of such a complex programmatic agenda has been greatly enhanced by the services of several distinguished conductors: Robert A. Henry, founding conductor and artistic director (19841996); Clyde Owen Jackson, interim music director (19961999); Moses Hogan, guest choral conductor (2000); Nathan Carter, guest choral conductor (1996); Roland M. Carter, principal guest choral conductor (1995-2005); Charles Clency (20002002); Willie Anthony Waters, opera conductor and artistic director (1995-present). Stage directors for opera productions have been Buck Ross, Kate Pogue, Talmage Fauntleroy and Ellen Douglas Schlaefer.
Because Houston Ebony Opera Guild has limited administrative personnel, it is heavily supported by volunteers. In addition to the Board of Directors and Advisory Board, the primary source of essential volunteer power is its auxiliary: Friends of Houston Ebony Opera Guild (FHEOG). FHEOG was founded in November 1991 for the purpose of making the excellent programs of the Guild available to diverse audiences.
The parent body of Houston Ebony Opera Guild is Houston Ebony Music Society, Inc., which is governed by a 15-member board of directors. Because the Society is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, contributions to Houston Ebony Opera Guild are tax-deductible.