We had the good fortune of connecting with Gonzalo Ramos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gonzalo, why did you pursue a creative career?
Throughout my journey, I have sought opportunities to work with diverse community organizations. I am constantly inspired and driven by the humanistic joy that is generated when artists come together and create art. My mission is to grow, learn, and develop communal opportunities where people of all cultures and ages can enjoy the musical, visual, and literary arts. Collaborating with artists alike while working closely with organizations to create shared experiences of joy, reflective beauty, and peace paved the way for my ambition to pursue a life’s path in the arts. Receiving my Bachelor in Music from the University of Houston Moores School of Music and Master in Sacred Music from the University of St. Thomas provides me with a strong foundation and the tools to support my artistic career.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My passions, goals, and ambitions are centered and driven by the musical, written, and visual arts. Having the opportunity to experience, produce, and be a part of natural humanistic expression and creation ignites an unexplainable excitement and joy within myself. Working in the field of music allows me to be a part of cultural diversity through several organizations. It is fulfilling to work with the Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir as their Artistic Director and Conductor in presenting choral music that crosses artistic and cultural borders that spans through the centuries. Alongside, I also work as a Music Director for All Saints Catholic Church and Artistic Director for the Bravura Concert Series at All Saints where I have embraced the cultural beauty and indigenous elements of the Spanish speaking community and the diverse elements and history of sacred music within the English community. It is truly gratifying to have the opportunity of practicing English, Spanish, Latin Chant, traditional hymnody, choral works of all styles, and indigenous folk songs. The field of sacred music opens doors to many shared experiences across many cultures. In one day alone, I have experienced the various elements of music alongside the Vietnamese, Spanish, English, Filipino, and Latin speaking communities. Working with the Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir has provided performance opportunities at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, The Toyota Center and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion where Houston Cecilia was the performance chorus for the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience, concerts held in out of state Cathedrals, and Art focused venues. Looking ahead, I’m most excited to have set plans to visit several cities and towns in Italy with Rome being the final destination in 2022 with a traveling chorus. Through this tour of Italy, the traveling chorus will perform my sacred compositional setting of Ave Verum Corpus. My passion for creativity continues to fuel my personal ambition in music composition. My personal and commissioned works span across the sacred and secular realms written for performance and liturgical use. My inspirations stem from reading poetry, visiting the museum of fine arts, meditating, engulfing in conversation with friends, and current events. While commissioned works are driven by the programmatic nature and performance intent, I actively seek for ways to expand the elements of my art while collaborating with like minded individuals. There is nothing more rewarding and gratifying than connecting with other artists and sharing the art of creating music, especially when it’s your own music. Developing and growing as an artist remains at the forefront of my individualistic goals. Gratefully, my current state continues to be fruitful and rewarding. Sure, challenges and barriers arise every now and then but I move forward and seek for ways to overcome them. If I need advice, I’ll seek it. Quieting my mind through gardening or cooking helps greatly in developing new ideas. Ultimately, it’s my wife and three year old son who empower me to keep moving forward. I have learned the importance of embracing and surrounding yourself with those who support you. Mentors and friendships are important along with helping and supporting those within and outside of your social bubble. Grow and help grow. Be kind. Seek adventures, face the unknown, and enjoy life by living in the moment.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Houston is a fantastic melting pot of diversity and has way too many great places to check out. Our city has it all, great food, places to relax outdoors, and it embraces culture and the arts in so many levels. Some of my go to hang out places include the Museum of Fine Arts, Memorial Park, the Houston Zoo, the Houston Arboretum, Houston Grand Opera, Ballet, and Symphony. When it comes to food, that can be tough to narrow down. A few of my top favorites include, Hugo’s, Xochi, Mellow Mushroom, Govinda’s, Fadi’s Mediterranean Grill, East Wall, Peking Cuisine, Uchi, 13 Degrees Celsius, and a 2nd cup . Throw all of those options in a hat, let the random draw set the itinerary and make a week out of it. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to give a shoutout to the Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir and Catholic Literary Arts; two Houston based non-profit organizations that share a focus on expanding their artistic developments while giving back to the Greater Houston community. The Houston Cecilia Chamber Choir strives to build community relationships while maintaining its mission to embrace the cultural beauty and future of choral music at the forefront of their vision. 2021 year marks my third year as Choral Conductor and Artistic Director for Houston Cecilia. I am continuously energized by the plans that Houston Cecilia’s board members execute for both the community and the organization. This year Houston Cecilia will present the Sing for Joy vocal performance scholarship that will become available for the selected recipient to utilize during the scholastic Fall semester of 2021. The “Sing for Joy” scholarship will be presented once a year in honor of Houston Cecilia’s late chorister and Martin Luther scholar, John Krueger. In addition, Houston Cecilia is seeking for unique volunteer opportunities while embracing a “think outside the box” perspective for choristers, board members, and friends who would like to join along. The organization has remained resilient during the Covid season and has worked together to create music through several virtual platforms. It was exciting and rewarding to lead Houston Cecilia through the holiday virtual presentation Songs of Good Cheer where the focus was to implement diverse musical elements. Houston Cecilia maintains the energy, a passion for music, and a community focus to further develop their engagement with our wonderful city. Catholic Literary Arts is another non-profit organization that maintains the engagement and community involvement at the forefront of their goals. Catholic Literary Arts develops a wide variety of writing opportunities for poets and artists across the United States. The organization works closely with published writers in executing diverse programing that spans from interactive youth writing camps, poetry contests, supportive writing workshops, and guest speaker presentations. My involvement as a board member has been met with enthusiasm and support for further developing the artistic integrity of the organization. This truly fulfills my passion for the literary arts. Catholic Literary Arts has embraced the evolution of virtual platforms while finding unique ways to stay engaged with their writing community.
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