DocFest 2015 Highlights
DocFest 2016 with Jason Moran
Jason Moran invites 2013 scholarship recipient, Sterling Overshown, to the stage.
DocFest will honor Pat Bonner at the concert on December 28th…Yes this Saturday! Purchase your tickets at https://docfestjazz.org/december-28-docfest-2019-presents/
We Love You Patricia Bonner
by Stephanie York Blue
Patricia Bonner has more than 50 years of HISD teaching experience, beginning at Albert Thomas Junior High and ending at HSPVA (46 years!). In that span, she inspired countless students to continue their musical journeys into college and beyond. You can find many Bonner protégés in the teaching profession and/or performing professionally. Even students who did not pursue music as a career have been touched by her guidance in some way. Ms. Bonner believes that music enhances the soul and that the arts make us better people. Her teaching has allowed her to share that sentiment with her students, and she is proud to have exposed generations of students to the beauty of the arts.
Now that she’s retired, Ms. Bonner has plenty of time to travel and to give back by volunteering in schools and at church. However, you can still find her at HSPVA assisting with setup for various programs or attending recitals in the newly named Patricia Bonner Recital Hall.
Pat Bonner holds the distinction of being the only living person to have attended every commencement since the school’s inception, and is one of only a few remaining to have taught at all three campuses.
To sum things up in her own words, “She came, she saw, she conquered, she left, but she’ll be back!!!”
As a prominent component of DocFest, Inc., the Board of Directors voted unanimously in 2014 to establish the HSPVA JAZZ HALL OF FAME, members to be highly successful and prominent alumni of the HSPVA jazz program, as selected by the Board. Recipients will be inducted annually at DocFest, and, in most cases, will headline their respective DocFest concerts.
About BASSIST, Keith Vivens
photo taken by David DeHoyos
Keith was voted “Best Bass Player in Houston,” 1998, by the critics poll in Public News Magazine. He co-leads the two-time Houston Press award-winning Funk Horn Band TKOh.
Keith is currently working on his second jazz fusion CD with the group Solar Wind. His first recording with the band will be available for sale at the concert with his original composition “Kemah Rita” on it. For the past few years, he has been hosting his steady gig every Monday evening at Eddie V’s restaurant West location on Kirby. He also has been hosting Friday and Saturday evenings at Ciro’s Italian restaurant on I-10 and Bunker Hill.
Keith is a devoted husband and father to wife Liz and kids Thalia and Matthew.
He has performed and recorded with artists Phil Woods, Wayne Bergeron, Enders Bergcrantz, Vincent Hearing, Anita Moore, Yolanda Adams, Yvonne Washington, Donny McCaslin, Shelly Berg, Bernd Konrad, Vincent Gardner, Chris Dave, Tom Garling, Dave Taylor, Mark Soskins, Dennis Montgomery, Victor Lewis, Dave Catney, Fritz Renold, Valero Ponomarev, Howard Hewitt, Shelly Carol, Bobby Lyle, Rayford Griffin, Peabo Bryson, Ricky Lawson, Paul Jackson, Jr., Everette Harp, Page Cavanaugh,Kirk Whalum, Mindi Abair, Branford Marsalis, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Randy & Michael Brecker, Joe Henderson, George Coleman, Joe Lovano, Hubert Laws, Ronnie Laws, Michael Manson, Joe Sample, Grammy Award winning “La Mafia”, Scott Gertner Band, The Franchise, Stanley Turlentine, Kyle Turner, Les McCaan, Above the Rim, Horace Alexander Young, Carl Fontana, Ben Vereen, Project KDK band, Dwight Sills, V. Michael McKay, Little Joe Hernandez, Archie Bell, Mickey Gilley, and Roy Head, just to name a few.
Keith is the first electric bassist to ever play and record with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and is currently in the recording studio working on his first CD of all original compositions.
DocFest Fall Benefit Concert, Celebrating Al Jarreau…Starring Chris Walker & Friends, was a huge success!
The full house concert took place on September 7th, in the new state-of-the-art Denney Theatre, located in Kinder High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), downtown Houston. DocFest celebrated Al Jarreau & special guests, a Kinder HSPVA Hall of Fame induction and a surprise proclamation delivered by Mayor Sylvester Turner. The evening was MAGICAL!
Kinder HSPVA Jazz Combo Performed at the Reception before the Concert
Fans, Friends & Family Gathered
Keith Vivens & TKO opened the show with amazing talent and energy!
Keith Vivens, Class of ’80, was inducted by DocFest into the Kinder HSPVA Hall of Fame. David Craig, one of last year’s recipients, presented the award.
Robert “Doc” Morgan received a proclamation from the Mayor Sylvester Turner. He proclaimed September 7th, 2019 as Robert “Doc” Morgan day in the City of Houston!
Celebrating Al Jarreau…Starring Chris Walker & Friends was magical and healing!
Among those attending the concert was Al Jarreau’s close friends, fans and family (including Al’s son, Ryan). To complete this celebration, Chris invited everyone to the stage! There is no doubt that Al was right there with us!
A special thank you to DocFest’s official photographer, David DeHoyos, for his continued support. We would also like to thank Jeff Wayt for contributing his photos.
On Friday, September 6th, DocFest Co-founder & President, Chris Walker and Friends conducted a Master Class at Kinder HSPVA with Warren Sneed’s top big band during his Jazz Ensemble I class. Warren Sneed is the Director of Jazz Studies at Kinder HSPVA and Vice President of DocFest. DocFest’s honoree, Robert “Doc” Morgan, the Jazz Studies Director at HSPVA from 1976-1999, was the moderator.
The master class opened with the students performing, followed by performance comments by the panel. The panel included *Chris Walker (bass & vocal), Joe Gordon (Al Jarreau’s manager), Larry Williams (keys & flute), John Calderon (guitar & vocal) and Alexandra Jackson (vocal). The moments were captured by DocFest’s official photographer, *David DeHoyos. Willie Jenkins, *Mollie Measher and *Jinx Hayden were some of the DocFest “family” members in attendance.
The DocFest concert, Celebrating Al Jarreau…Starring Chris Walker & Friends was held in the Denney Theatre at Kinder HSPVA the next evening on September 7th to a full house. It was a magical evening!
Upon the opening of New York’s New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music (NS/J) in 1986, there was an immediate bond between NS/J and Houston’s High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), thanks to the outreach of NS/J’s founding artistic director, Arnie Lawrence (1938 – 2005). Largely due to Mr. Lawrence’s efforts, HSPVA bassist Chris Walker was a member of NS/J’s very first student body, having been heavily “recruited” by Arnie. In the subsequent years, many of HSPVA’s best jazz students have enrolled at NS/J, virtually all with substantial scholarship support from the university.
Robert “Doc” Morgan retired in 1999 after a twenty-three year career as Director of Jazz Studies at HSPVA. To commemorate his career and the invaluable opportunities afforded HSPVA graduates by NS/J, in August, 1999, Doc and Helen Morgan, in partnership with the SBC Foundation, endowed the “Helen and Bob Morgan Jazz Scholarship” at the New School. One “Morgan Scholar” is chosen each year, with he/she receiving a substantial tuition credit from the endowment fund. The student must be a graduate of HSPVA, and, once awarded, the scholarship may be renewed to same student for a total of four years (assuming he/she remains in good standing, etc.).
Recipients of the Helen and Bob Morgan Jazz Scholarship to date include:
2000: Alan Hampton (bass/singer/songwriter)
2003: Chase Jordan (vibraphone)
2007: Corey King (trombone)
2008: Cory Cox (drums)
2011: Brenton Johnson (piano)
2013: Sterling Overshown (piano)
2017: Bryant Troy Hunter (drums) 2018: Elijah Micheaux (trumpet)
Congratulations to the 2018 scholarship recipient, Elijah Micheaux, HSPVA class of 2005!
Thus far, DocFest has contributed over $100,000 to the Helen and Bob Morgan Jazz Scholarship.
The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), recently renamed Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, is a public high school in Houston, Texas, and is part of the Houston Independent School District, the seventh-largest school system in the nation. Its founding, in 1971, can be traced to the keen visions of two legendary educators:
• Ruth Denney, Founding Principal
• Dr. George Garver, the forward-thinking HISD Superintendent of Schools, 1970 – 1974
Ms. Denney and Dr. Garver admired New York’s famed fine arts high school (LaGuardia), and felt that HISD had grown in numbers and talent to the extent that such a program could be established for the gifted youth of Houston, without adversely affecting the many excellent neighborhood high schools. This was before the now-familiar term, “magnet school,” was coined, but the concept was identical.
After many months of planning, HSPVA opened its doors in the fall of 1971 in an abandoned synagogue just south of downtown Houston. The school was successful from day one (a surprise to many), and has since evolved to become one of the most renowned arts training programs in the world, with curricula offered in Creative Writing, Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts; also with traditional high school academic offerings of the highest caliber.
Ruth Denney shepherded HSPVA through its early years, and then departed in 1976 to become Professor of Theatre at the University of Texas/Austin. She retired from UT in 1988, remaining in Austin until her death in 2007 at age 92.
Among Ms. Denney’s many significant honors:
• HSPVA’s performance hall is named, in perpetuity, The Ruth Denney Theatre
• The Ruth Denney Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Theatre at the University of Texas, established at the time of her retirement
Further information about HSPVA, including audition details, is available at the school’s website: