Board and Staff


Vicki Merwin- Board Chair

Emily Schulz - Secretary

Karen Burgos - Treasurer

Emily Schulz - Chorus President

Bruce Sealy - Director

David Stix - Director

Traci Twardowski- Director


Dr. Paulo Gomes - Artistic and Music Director

Paulo Gomes, Director

Paulo Gomes  is the Director of Vocal Division and Choral Activities at Lone Star College CyFair, Artistic Director and Conductor of Houston Masterworks Chorus, and Founder of Houston Camerata. In 2022, Dr. Gomes was appointed the President of the Texas Two-Years College Choral Directors Association (TTCCDA).


Formerly, he has served as the Graduate Assistant Director of the Houston Symphony Chorus, during his studies in Houston, and the Director of Choral Music at Blinn College District. Under his direction, the Blinn Chamber Choir had its first trip abroad, in the Andalusia region in Spain, where they received great reviews and audience ovations. Dr. Gomes also led the Houston Masterworks Chorus at their performance of the 80th Anniversary Commemoration of Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii 2021, representing the City of Houston.


Dr. Gomes was born in Brazil and has conducted in his country as well as Spain, Hawaii and in Italy. In 1992, he received a second prize on the “Premio Vicenzo Valenti” conducting the orchestra and choir Josquino Salépico in Molffetta City, Italy. Paulo has conducted at Boston University, University of Houston, and University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Earlier posts include Interim Director of Choral Activities at Clark University and Worcester State University, in Massachusetts. Dr. Gomes has taught at the high school level in Worcester, MA and Crosby, TX. He has been a presenter for the America Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Conference in Salt Lake City, lectured for Massachusetts ACDA on Brazilian Choral Music, and serves as a clinician for colleges, high schools, and churches.


Dr. Gomes holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Houston, and Master of Music degree from Boston University, where he received the Departmental Honor Award for outstanding achievement. His mentors include Dr. Ann Howard Jones, Dr. Charles Hausmann, Dr. Eph Ehly, Dr. Katalin Kiss, Maestro Roberto Duarte, Maestro Sergio Magnani, and Maestro Carlos Alberto Pinto Fonseca.


Paulo is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, Texas Choral Director Association, Texas Music Educators Association, Chorus America, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, the College Music Society, America Guild of Organists, and the national music honor society Pi Kappa Lambda.





Julie Sacks - Accompanist

Julie Sacks enjoys a varied musical career in Houston and is thrilled to be part of Houston Masterworks Chorus this season. She currently serves as pianist for Congregation Beth Yeshurun and as a performing artist for the Houston Methodist Hospital System as part of the Center for Performing Arts Medicine. For 23 years, Julie served as staff pianist and coach at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music, where she collaborated with all instruments and voice types in recitals, competitions, and one-on-one coachings. She has performed as keyboardist with the Houston Symphony, and throughout her career has also been fortunate to work with the Houston Symphony Chorus, Houston Camerata, UH Choral Artists, Houston Grand Opera’s Opera To Go program, Meadowmount School for Strings (NY), Young Texas Artists Competition, Encore School for Strings (OH), TUTS, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, Opera in the Heights, Gilbert and Sullivan Society, First Unitarian Church, and others. She has been presented in recital in New York, Washington, California, Georgia, Washington DC, Michigan, Ohio and Texas.


While working at UH, Julie also taught music at the Becker Early Childhood Center for ten years, Helfman Religious School for five years, and spent three years as the Early Childhood and Elementary music specialist at Beth Yeshurun Day School. She was on the piano and chamber music of the American Festival for the Arts in Houston from 2004-2014, and was the choral pianist during the inaugural summer of AFA’s Choral program in 2003. Since childhood, Julie has had a particular fondness for performing at retirement communities in Houston and Cleveland, Ohio, and also loves being the volunteer pianist at any school where one of her children is active in a choir program.


Julie has written many pieces of music, primarily for use in Early Childhood music classes, or in Jewish liturgical settings. Her song, “Count on Shabbat” was published in 2021 by Transcontinental Publishing Company.


Julie holds a Master’s degree in Collaborative Piano from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where she studied with Anne Epperson and Linda Jones. Upon graduation, she was awarded the Gwendolyn Koldofsky Prize in Collaborative Piano. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Texas, in the studio of Dr. William Race. As a student she spent her summers at Eastern Music Festival (Greensboro, NC), Texas Music Festival and Music Academy of the West (Santa Barbara, CA). Other important musicians who helped on Julie’s journey include pianists Jean Deutsch, Ruth Tomfohrde, Danielle Martin, Dana Burnett, Gustavo Romero, Patricia McPherson, Anita Pontremoli, mezzo-soprano Katherine Ciesinski, and choral conductor Dr. Charles Hausmann