At Travis Park, we believe that music is an essential component of our worship of God. We also believe that God speaks to us through many different kinds of music, so we have many different ways to participate. Our Sanctuary Choir, directed by Dr. Gary Mabry, offers inspiring choral music each week at our 8:45 a.m. worship service. The Travis Park Ringers, led by Bethany Hirota-Mabry, play handbells at the 8:45 service on a regular basis. Our Celebration Band and Singers bring exciting music each week to our 11:00 a.m. service. The children's choir, Joyful Noise! and youth choir, Emmaus Singers, sing regularly in worship.
The Celebration Band and Singers glorify God each Sunday morning with energetic, Spirit-driven music during the Celebration Worship Service at 11:00 a.m. Our musical styles include gospel, R&B, Latin, and jazz by today's most popular and influential contemporary artist-ministers, such as Israel Houghton, Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, Kurt Carr, Byron Cage, Yolanda Adams, Cece Winans, Beverly Crawford, and many more. Through our music, we seek to inspire people to develop a personal relationship to God through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Scroll down to read bios of our wonderful musicians.
We are a diverse group of professional and volunteer musicians committed to spreading God's word through music, and we are always looking for more talent. If you would like to participate, please speak with Ralph Cortez or Gary Mabry. The Celebration Singers rehearse Sundays after the 11:00 Service.
The Sanctuary Choir gives praise to God with choral music during the Liturgical Worship Service at 9:00 a.m. on Sundays. Dr. Gary L. Mabry conducts the Sanctuary Choir, and Jennifer Seighman accompanies the choir on our magnificent pipe organ (made by Hellmuth Wolff in 1985) and on our wonderful Steinway concert grand piano. The Sanctuary Choir sings a wide variety of choral anthems, ancient and new, with a focus on texts that express God's all-encompassing love. Rehearsals are on Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m. as part of Sunday Night Live. We are always looking for new singers to join our choir family, and the only requirement is a desire to sing. Please see Gary Mabry more information: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Travis Park Ringers
The Travis Park Ringers practice for seasonal musical offerings to special worship services throughout the church year. Bethany Hirota-Mabry directs the Handbell Choir. New ringers are always welcome, and no experience is necessary. If you can count to 4, you can play handbells. Contact Bethany at email@example.com if you would like to try your hand at the bells!
Emmaus Singers Youth Choir
The Travis Park UMC Emmaus Singers Youth Choir has lots of fun while praising God! The choir sings regularly in worship throughout the school year and goes on tour during the summer! Some of the places they’ve visited have been Colorado, California, Washington D.C., and Santa Fe, NM just to name a few! Dr. Gary Mabry directs the Emmaus Singers, and rehearsal is on Sundays at 5 p.m., just before Travis Park Youth.
5:00-6:00 p.m. Sundays, for children in grades 1-5, Room 206
The children do all of the following and more: sing anthems, play hand chimes and percussion instruments, learn music literacy skills, have a lot of FUN!
Joyful Noise! is led by two gifted, creative and hard-working young women. Lou Caroline Bonner is a graduate of UT Austin with a degree in Instrumental Music Studies. She is the Choir Director at Nimitz Middle School in Northeast ISD. Previously, she served as a Band Director at Nimitz. Analisa Vitola Campbell is a graduate of Texas State University and teaches English and leads the award-winning pep squad at Clark High School in Northside ISD. Caroline and Analisa grew up at TPUMC and credit their experiences in choirs here with nurturing their love of music and inspiring them to lead and teach.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet The Celebration Band
Ralph Cortez, vocals
Ralph was raised in a family of musicians. His father was a professional drummer all of his life. His mother was a professional vocalist and it was through music that they met. All of his brothers and sisters inherited the gift of being musically inclined (four brothers and three sisters.) Currently, fifteen of his nieces & nephews play music professionally or semi-professionally. Ralph graduated from Kennedy High School where he qualified for All-State choir. He attended St. Mary's University on a voice scholarship, and majored in English. He then went to Texas A & M, Kingsville and earned a Master's in Guidance & Counseling. He taught English and coached girls' sports for sixteen years and was a high school counselor for fourteen years. Ralph is now an English/ESL teacher at the South Texas Academy in Northside ISD --teaching recent immigrants. Ralph is passionate about being involved in education. Ralph started singing professionally at the age of 18 and has never stopped. He enjoys singing frequently with local bands, and once did it for a living. He travelled extensively with the military putting together bands and touring in the US and Overseas. He sang for a living for fourteen years before he started teaching. He has a passion for music, and especially enjoys using his voice to evangelize here at TPUMC. Ralph has four wonderful children (Valerie, Eric, Noelle, and Stephen) and seven grandchildren--they are the love of his life.
Jim Kalson, bass guitar
Jim has been a professional bass player since the age of thirteen. Early in his career, he was a member of The Kalson Family band that toured the country. They shared the stage with artists such as George Jones, Tammy Wynette, The Statler Brothers and Ronnie Milsap, to name a few. Jim started his solo career at eighteen, and has been playing jazz and contemporary Pop music since. He has performed extensively with jazz artists Paul English, Joe LoCascio and David Caceres, and has been featured with renowned jazz professionals including Gordon Goodwin, Bob Mintzer, Jon Faddis, Ignacio Berroa, Ndugu Chancler, Paquito D'Rivera and Kirk Whalum. Jim is no stranger to the music studio. His dozens of album credits include performances with Willie Nelson, Little Joe y La Familia, Rick Cavender, Jazz PR, Terri Hendrix, Ron Wilkins and Footprints. Other studio credits include television and radio commercials, jingles and demos for companies including Ancira, Taco Cabana, Bud Light, Red Lobster, Coca Cola, Western Sizzlin, HEB, SBC Call Notes and Hair Club For Men.
Jim has spent time in the orchestra pit, as well, with touring Broadway musicals such as Grease, Menopause The Musical, and A Chorus Line. He has had numerous San Antonio Symphony Pops performances with artists such as Martin Short, Joel Grey, Vicki Carr, Danny Gans, Clint Holmes, Patsy Torres, Broadway Rocks, and High Class Brass. He performed in 2007 at La Villita Assembly Hall in San Antonio, Texas with legendary drummer Buddy Miles. Jim served as an Electric Bass Instructor at U.T.S.A for twelve years and has been an instructor with St. Mary's University since 2002. He is excited to have joined the faculty at San Antonio College in the fall of 2010, and Northwest Vista in the fall of 2012.
Carl Spann, saxophone
Carl started playing saxophone when he was seven at the urging of his father. He was playing professionally at age 14 with a local big band called Renown Sound. Carl did a 3 year stint in the army band and used his G.I. bill to study jazz education at the University of North Texas. He moved to Austin in 1980 and played with legendary jazz bassist Gene Ramey, Toby Anderson, The Brew, Ponty Bone and the Squeezetones and eventually Little Joe y la Familia. During his time with Little Joe, Carl recorded three albums, played at the 1990 Farm Aid IV and the Smithsonian Institute and recorded Don't Mess with Texas and Coca Cola commercials. After moving back to S.A. in 1992, Carl was a co-creator of Twilight and Big Bang Theory and gigged with Joe Jamma and the Proof, and Ramiro Cevera, He did a gig with Leslie Gore at the Arneson River Theater and a Jazz Alive worship service with Kirk Whalum at Travis Park UMC. In 1994 Carl joined Ralph Cortez, Pat Carey and Michelle Garibay Carey in a band called Artwork. They played every Friday and Saturday at El Jarro de Arturo for 7 years. Now, seventeen years later, Carl is still making music with Pat and Michelle in P.M. Soul, a local jazz/r&b favorite. For the past several years Carl has been involved in the Balcones Heights and La Cantera Jazz Festivals performing with headliners Peter White, Brian Simpson, Paul Brown and Slim Man. He's been a member of the Travis Park UMC band for 13 years and is grateful to be with such talented artists who bring so much energy to the 11 am worship service.
Peter Gloria, keyboards
Peter has a B.S.Ed and M.Ed with a certification in music, K-12. His teaching career includes classroom instruction for Elementary School, Middle School, and also taught Jazz Band at Memphis State University. Peter is currently co-conductor for Crimson Jazz Orchestra, a swing big/band in San Antonio. For eight years, he was the Music Director for Grace Community Chapel in Boerne. Formerly, he toured with country entertainer Charlie Rich as his personal pianist/conductor, and enjoyed playing for various artists including Dionne Warwick, Glen Campbell, and jazz great Dizzy Gillespie. He was transferred to San Antonio from Opryland to work as a bandleader at Fiesta Texas and, after that opening season, was tired of touring and decided to stay here -- one of the best decisions he’s ever made! Peter’s whole family is involved with music and the arts. His wife, Karen, is a vocalist for Crimson Jazz Orchestra in San Antonio and the former worship leader for Grace Community Chapel. She sings with the Celebration Singers at TPUMC. All three of their sons are professional musicians. On weekends you'll find Peter playing piano around town with various jazz groups. During the week he plays solo piano at the Omni Hotel in the lobby and for their special events. Peter says “Sunday mornings with the incredible Celebration Band and Singers and the relevant messages from pastor Monte Marshall is the fuel that gets me through the week. I'm blessed to be a part of this wonderful team!”
Ruben Hernandez, drums
Ruben joined the music program in 1981 at Emerson Middle School with Honors and Awards, and on to Fox Tech High School (Marching Band/Jazz Stage Band Program). He achieved First in State competition for Jazz Stage Band. While in High School, Ruben started performing professionally with Blues great Rodney Warner (Guitar/Singer), with jazz fusion group Split Identity, and with several dance soul/funk bands. Since the 80's, he has been fortunate to work extensively, (sometimes every night of the week), with many great and legendary musicians/groups in the music business. Ruben is experienced in the music styles of jazz, big band, fusion, soul, funk, pop, retro, R&B, Brazilian, nuevo flamenco, reggae/ska, rock/punk, country, blues, smooth jazz, new age, gospel, all latin styles (cumbia, salsa/merengue, mambo) and music from around the world.
David Lodge, guitar
David has been a member of TPUMC for 13 years and is currently serving on the CMI Board, the Leadership Committee, and as a delegate to Annual Conference. He received a BA from Trinity University and an MS from UTSA. He is the owner of GardenWorks Landscape, Water Designs, & Water Garden Store in Bulverde, and Preferred Logistics Transport Services hotshot trucking company. He and travel partner Susan Croom enjoy time with six kids and six grandkids between them. Hobbies include mountain biking, zumba classes, travel, learning about wine, study and promotion of progressive theology, political and environmental activism. David’s short term goals are to spend a week in the rain forests of Costa Rica as a volunteer in rain forest research and to develop and implement a business model for a San Antonio based urban farm.
Bethany Hirota-Mabry, percussion
Bethany began her musical career playing the part of beginning percussionist in the mighty Cub Band at Brewer Middle School in Forth Worth. From there she had no other choice, really, but to continue the band life throughout her many moves between Texas and Colorado, which inspired her to help keep music education alive here in San Antonio. Bethany is the Associate Band Director at Briscoe Middle School. She has had wonderful fortune participating with ensembles including the Travis Park Ringers (which she directs), River City Ringers, the San Antonio Choral Society, San Antonio Wind Symphony, San Antonio Opera, Boerne Community Band, and her personal favorite, Down for the Count. Bethany shares these favorites with her husband Gary and their four feline children. Gary and Bethany are members of the local bluegrass/Americana group Down for the Count.