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He doesn’t sing in the shower too much, for fear of waking his wife, but he has been known to break into song in the car on the way to lunch, and he will sing “Happy Birthday” at the office when the occasion calls for it. With a self-described “as-low-as-they-go” voice, David Knoll, a shareholder in the Houston office of Winstead Sechrest & Minick, has spent almost as much time singing as he has lawyering — maybe even more. He’s been with the Houston Symphony Chorus for 17 years, a volunteer job that requires two-and-half hours of practice each week, and he pays his own way when the chorus travels to such destinations as Mexico City and London. “It’s not the kind of thing you can do on a Saturday night in your living room with 150 of your closest friends,” he says of singing in the chorus. “It takes a little more planning than that.” But he’s been belting out tunes even before his stint as second bass with the chorus. The Erie, Pa., native grew up singing in his church choir. In college at Gannon University in Erie, he joined the glee club. With a law degree from Villanova University, Knoll moved to Texas in 1973 to work for American General Insurance. At Winstead Sechrest, where he’s been for nine years, Knoll works in the corporate practice group, focusing on acquisitions and mergers. On stage, Knoll says he enjoys classical works the most, such as Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem Mass” and Hector Berlioz’s “Damnation of Faust,” one of his all-time favorites. The chorus, which performs 12 to 14 times a year, occasionally performs pops, mostly during the holidays, which Knoll says he also enjoys. While most of the group’s performances are in Houston, one of Knoll’s favorite things about the chorus is the opportunity to perform abroad. Because that happens only occasionally, Knoll says he incorporates chorus travel into his vacation. Last summer, for instance, the chorus was invited to perform with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in the historic Royal Albert Hall in London. “It’s been a great experience,” Knoll says. “We have traveled around the world performing.” CAR TUNES Knoll also has combined his love of music with his legal skills, helping to found singing groups such as Houston Masterworks Chorus and Revels Houston. In addition to lending his singing talent to the groups, Knoll helped establish their nonprofit status. Knoll’s gift of song is no secret at the firm, says Mark Guthrie, another shareholder and ear- and eyewitness to Knoll’s car-singing. “It’s unusual,” he says of Knoll’s hobby. “You don’t hear too much about lawyers doing that.” Guthrie, whose father was a trained classical singer, particularly appreciates his colleague’s talent. “We encourage our lawyers to get involved in the community in whatever way they enjoy,” he says. “I think the firm gets a benefit from David doing that.” Bob Fisher, a shareholder who’s been with the firm 26 years, has seen Knoll perform in the chorus. “It seemed perfectly natural,” he says about seeing Knoll in his tux on stage. Fisher also recalls seeing Knoll on a smaller stage — at the firm retreat last fall. During a musical performance act, Knoll sang the Jimmy Buffet tune “Volcano” and happened to do it “better than most,” Fisher recalls. “I enjoy seeing it because I like to see lawyers that have a life, as opposed to just practicing law,” Fisher says of Knoll’s musical leanings. Approaching the end of his third decade as a lawyer, Knoll says he doesn’t know what he would have done professionally had he not chosen law. But whatever it would have been, one thing’s for sure, he says. “Whatever I would do, I would always hope to find a place to have music in my life.”

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