Travis Angel draws on 40 years of conducting to direct Texas A&M University’s Century Singers and Women’s Chorus.
As Travis Angel entered A&M Consolidated High School (AMCHS), the old stomping grounds where he worked for 32 years as choir director before retiring in 2015, he was greeted with smiles and hugs, his former colleagues excited to see that this musical icon was back to volunteer asa choir mentor. “It’s hard to stay away after investing so many years in the program,” Angel said, “and I enjoy sharing the insight with the new director and her students.”
For the past two years, however, Angel has spent the majority of his time and talent conducting Texas A&M University’s Century Singers and Women’s Chorus. He also directs two smaller Texas A&M singing groups—Century Sounds and One- A-Chord. The two smaller groups, which include about eight singers, focus on contemporary acapella. Each group focuses on a wide arrange of musical types. As Angel puts it: “They go from Bach, to Brahms, to the Beach Boys!”
40 Years of Music
Originally from Snyder, Texas, Angel attended West Texas State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in conducting. For 40 years he directed the Spearman High School and later A&M Consolidated high school choirs, during which time he traveled across the United States and parts of . Angel is not the only choir director in the family, his wife, Charlotte Angel, is the choir teacher at College View High School. Angel and his wife are also involved in the music programs at Christ’s Way Baptist Church. They have three children: Holland, Bryce, and Courtney who graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in Agricultural Leadership and Development.
Angel is the recipient of Outstanding Festival Awards in five states, including five of those awards in Texas. He also has won the International Award for Choral Performance and the International Championship High School A cappella in New York City. In 2014 he was the recipient of the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development Dean’s Outstanding Educator award.
Music to Make People
Student singers have the opportunity to serve as officers who direct fundraising, plan concerts, travel, and assist with setting a long-term vision for the groups. Angel enjoys being at Texas A&M because it gives him an opportunity to put the majority of his musical focus on the music. “These student singers are the people doing most of the extra work that comes with hosting a performance, whereas in high school, it was the director’s job to do it all. In addition to the rehearsals and performances, which sharpen our students’ musical abilities, the leadership experiences stick with them long after graduation and make them better parents, employees, and human beings.”
Kambrie Kissman ’18, who is studying forensic and investigative science, sang for Angel at AMCHS and is now with the Century Singers. Kissman has enjoyed the opportunity to learn from him and to grow with him as he now directs a larger group of university students who sing more challenging pieces and have more diverse and mature voices compared to his high school students.
“From very early on in our relationship, Mr. Angel has instilled the values of patience and persistence into my everyday life,” said Kissman, who is the Century Singers’ historian. “He’s always got a plan, and he is always working to do what he can to help us succeed.”
Angel says there are two kinds of conductors: “The conductor who uses people to make music and the conductor who uses music to make people. I like to say that I am the latter, and I have no doubt that the musical experiences I help to create are shaping these Texas A&M students in positive ways.”
Photos and story by Athlyn Allen ’19