DocFest, Inc. was conceived during the summer of 2013 by Chris Walker and Ashley (Tamar) Davis, both alumni of Houston’s High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), to honor the career of Robert “Doc” Morgan, HSPVA Director of Jazz Studies (1976 – 1999) and music department chair (1978 – 1992). Under Dr. Morgan’s guidance, the HSPVA jazz program became internationally known as an exceptional model for the successful training of young jazz aspirants, a reputation continuing today under the supervision of Warren Sneed, himself an HSPVA alumnus. The program’s effectiveness is evidenced by the many alumni currently enjoying significant international success, including pianist/composer Jason Moran (recipient of a 2010 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant”) and pianist/composer Robert Glasper (recipient of a 2010 Grammy).
The primary activity supported by DocFest, Inc., is a concert/reunion/jam session (“DocFest”) held annually during the late-December holiday season at a major Houston concert venue. In consultation with Dr. Morgan and his wife, Helen, it has been established that funds generated by DocFest will be dedicated to the Helen and Bob Morgan Jazz Scholarship Fund at New York’s New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, endowed by the Morgans (with assistance from SBC Foundation) in 1999.
As DocFest matures, it is anticipated that additional beneficiaries will be considered (for example, there are also Morgan endowed scholarships at the University of North Texas, Berklee College of Music, and University of Illinois), but it is the DocFest founding board’s intention, and the Morgans’ wishes, that New School/Jazz will be the primary beneficiary in perpetuity, noting that both Chris Walker and Robert Glasper attended New School/Jazz.