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Harmonious Legacy: UST alumni family spreads music through generations

The Lopez Family, L to R: Lester, Michelle, Allyson, Amanda, Annaliese, and AngelicaDull moments don’t happen in the Lopez residence.

“Our family dinners are an experience!” UST alumna Michelle Lopez ’99 in Education said. “Some nights are a musical chaos! There is always singing, laughing, and then dancing while cleaning up. From Christian music to Broadway tunes, our house is blessed with the gift of music!” 

Michelle is not exaggerating. The lively former music teacher and then fine arts administrator has been doing music, theatre, and dance all her life. She is married to another University of St. Thomas-Houston alum — Lester Lopez ’99 in Music Education — the orchestra director at Alief Taylor High School. Brilliantly talented, Lester is accomplished on violin, piano, and guitar, and he sings. But the musical river that runs through their Sugar Land home does not stop with these two.

In this UST-loving legacy family, four daughters contribute to the delightfully creative cacophony at home. Amanda, a Biology junior at St. Thomas, is a vocalist and dancer. UST Nursing major Allyson is a cellist, dancer and vocalist. Still in high school, the two youngest — Angelica and Annaliese — express themselves on the clarinet and drums, respectively.

Lopez Family Builds Musical Bridges

“Within our family and outside our family, we experience music as a connector,” Lester explained. “Language doesn’t matter. Music sparks something in people, makes them feel something. Even kids who aren’t doing well in other school subjects often excel in music class.”

During COVID, the Lopez family took that “connector conviction” online, posting singing videos on Facebook to cheer people up. It was a way to “shine their little light” on people they couldn’t reach any other way. Not surprisingly, the entire family is in music ministry, and Annaliese is also an altar server, at their home church, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in Sugar Land.

UST’s Enduring Bond with the Lopez Legacy

The Lopezes have another family — UST.

Michelle said, “Before Lester and I had our family, we had a family at UST. The Education professors would do anything for us. You could feel it. There was a love there—same thing with Music. One of the students I sang a duet with is on the UST Board now. We built a bond.”

Such a strong bond exists that when Michelle was ready for a career change away from her position in Fine Arts Administration and managing large events for the Alief Independent School District, she accepted her current role as Catering Coordinator at UST. But she continues to use her gift for teaching.

“This semester, I’m teaching a Freshman Symposium class,” she said. “Making it my own by teaching core content using the arts. Freshman Symposium is about making sure they know they belong here so they stay in college. I make that connection so they feel comfortable coming to me if they need a resource for something.”

Update on those Celt Daughters

Both of their older Celt daughters live on campus, with Amanda enjoying daily Mass and her involvement in clubs.

Always ready to share their beautiful UST experience, Michelle and Lester recently volunteered to speak with the parents of a new flock of freshmen.

And what about the two youngest Lopez daughters? What university campus will they attend?

“We told the other two they don’t have a choice,” Michelle chuckled like the proud Celt mom she is.