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Jeff Rice

Amy Allibon

Pam Elrod


Past President


Mark Rohwer

Kari Gilbertson

Phyllis King

High School

Middle School/Junior High


Greg Shapley

Karen Gonzalez

Sharon Lutz



Executive Director

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NON-PROFIT U.S. Postage Paid Austin, Texas Permit No. 789

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More than 700 online stores are now part of the® network, where you can shop for just about anything you need and feel good knowing that a portion of every purchase will be donated to TCDA. is FREE for you and free for TCDA. You can shop for everyday items at hundreds of the web’s best stores, including, Lands’ End, eBay, Staples, Victoria’s Secret, Best Buy, Pottery Barn and PETsMART. Up to 26% of the value of each purchase benefits our organization. Just go to

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T DA TEXAS SINGS! Volume 28 Number 1 Fall 2011




President’s Page

Jeff Rice, Waco


56th Convention – Outstanding! by Jeff Rice



Pam Elrod, Dallas

TCDA Scholarships and Awards


Suggestion Box


by Sharon Lutz



Lest We Forget


Melva Sebesta – Life Lessons by Grace Littlefield

Kari Gilbertson, Richardson ELEMENTARY VICE PRESIDENT

Phyllis King, Killeen

In Memoriam


Dr Robert Young by Dr Donald L Bailey


Officer Comments

Greg Shapley, Hurst



Karen Gonzalez, Rowlett

On the Cover:


The 2011–2012 TCDA Board of Directors

Sharon Lutz, Austin

The TCDA Board includes newly elected members Mark Rohwer, High School Division VP; Kari Gilbertson, Middle School/Junior High Division VP; and Karen Gonzalez, Secretary/Treasurer.



Jeff Rice assumes the office of President and Amy Allibon will serve as Past President. Continuing in office are Pam Elrod, College/Community Division VP; Phyllis King, Elementary Division VP; and Greg Shapley, Church VP. Sharon Lutz takes the reins as the new Executive Director.

James A Black, Coppell



Official Publication of the Texas Choral Directors Association 7900 Centre Park Drive, Suite A Austin, TX 78754 512/474-2801 Copyright 2011 by Texas Choral Directors Association. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the Executive Director. TCDA is an affiliate of ACDA

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TCDA Members On-Line Watch your email for TCDA’s new, informative electronic newsletter – Choral Notes. This exciting new service will be filled with carefully selected articles and stories specifically related to choral music. TEXAS√SINGS!


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President’s Page

2011 Convention – Outstanding! by TCDA President Jeff Rice


ongratulations to Past President Amy Allibon and the TCDA Board of Directors for an outstanding 2011 TCDA Convention! It was truly a world class offering of workshops, music reading sessions, master classes, panel discussions, and performances. It was encouraging to see new faces alongside our legendary veteran choral directors with their talents and knowledge on display for us all. Thank you to all who attended for making TCDA a priority. In spite of recent budget woes, choral music remains alive and well in the State of Texas! Thank you to all the men of TCDA who joined to sing in the Directors Chorus! What a privilege to meet so many new folks and sing with many longtime friends and colleagues. Our time with Dr Jonathan Reed, Craig Hella Johnson, and David Brunner was magical. Thank you to Alan Raines and Marcus Bradford, accompanists, for going the extra mile to ensure a great performance. That experience filled my inspiration tank to begin the school year. The inaugural Church Division Festival Chorus was a tremendous success! Thank you to Greg Shapley, TCDA Church Division VP, for your vision and guidance in making this happen. The Thursday evening worship experience was awesome! Professor Don Neuen provided inspirational leadership for chorus members representing churches from across the state. Many of you dubbed this the “All-State Church Choir.” Please make plans for 2012 when this will be offered once again! It makes most of us nervous to be in a room with 200 middle school students. Not Dianna Jarvis, outgoing TCDA MS/JH Vice President. Thank you, Dianna, for your outstanding work organizing and executing, along with your able volunteers, a wonderful experience for our MS/JH Honor Choir. 4

impressed me the most. It would be so easy for this group to say “been there, done that” and leave it all to the up-and -coming directors. If we are to continue to grow as an organization AND maintain the quality of choral music education for which Texas is known, we must stay current, fresh, relevant, and connected to all generations.

Y President Jeff Rice

The performance was amazing! This is a significant time in the history of TCDA. We have said our goodbyes to our long tenured Executive Director, Dan Wood. After 28 years of devoted service to TCDA, Dan retired following the summer Convention. On behalf of the TCDA Board of Directors, I would like to thank Dan for his commitment to nurturing and developing this organization for these many years. Best wishes, Dan, on your retirement. Sharon Lutz began working in the TCDA office in June and, as of August 1, has taken the reins as TCDA Executive Director. Sharon worked the Convention alongside Dan and was introduced in the Convention business meeting in July. You will want to get to know Sharon and welcome her to TCDA.


t is both an honor and a privilege to be elected to serve as President of TCDA. After 25 wonderful years of teaching it is a pleasure to give back to a profession that has been so very good to me. As I mentioned above, I was refreshed by the number of new faces I encountered serving as President Elect. However, it was the presence and involvement of our veterans that TEXAS√SINGS!

ou may have noticed the wave of retirements that struck our profession this past year. We all felt the ripple effects of one or more of these choral legends who decided to leave their position as a public school choral director or administrator. We are fortunate that several of these veteran educators will still be available as conductors, clinicians, adjudicators, and consultants. These folks have touched the lives of thousands of students and colleagues during their teaching careers. Though they have retired, their presence will be felt in their classrooms for years to come. Their passion and dedication will continue to impact generations of students and directors. Congratulations and best wishes, retirees. There may have been many changes in your life and work since this time last year. Most teachers in my district are just thankful to have a job after the education finance debacle of spring 2011. Some of you may have been required to take new teaching assignments and may have even lost your job as part of district budget cuts. Gratefully, my district was able to make cuts without a significant effect on the Fine Arts. This has been a truly difficult time for many and my heart goes out to those of you who are struggling as a result of these developments. The network of support provided by TCDA is a valuable resource during times like this. Please let me know if we can help support you and your choral music program. In the midst of these changes, there Fall 2011

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are some constants. Children still need great music teachers to be there for them every day. Music, particularly choral music, is an integral part of any well developed Fine Arts program. There will

always be children and there will always be music. We cannot always predict or control the educational environment on the state or national level, but we can be involved in what happens in our school

and community. No matter the circumstance, be positive, promote choral music, and be there for your students. I hope you all have a productive and rewarding school year! √

Convention 2011

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Greetings from TCDA’s New Executive Director


ello TCDA members! I am delighted to be here working with all of you and your Board. You continue to impress me with your amazing talents. I admire what you do and am grateful for the opportunity to serve. I am pleased to have been selected and hired as a result of a very competitive process. A degree in Business Administration in Marketing from Texas A&M and a background in both the business and education world have afforded me opportunities and experiences that will be useful to TCDA. Most recently, I was in managerial positions with the University of Houston and the University of Texas, both in their colleges of business. I’ve been involved in a wide range of collaborative and strategic duties involving administration, faculty, students,


Sharon Lutz, Executive Director

alumni and a variety of corporations. Opportunity is tremendous for TCDA. Our association is already well known as a leader among choral groups. This year the focus will be on improving technology to better serve you. The Board and I share some


common goals for the organization, namely, to fully automate membership renewal and Convention registration so these processes are online and available to you at all times. Our website will become more useful and informative to our members. We want to ensure continued good financial standing and be able to offer our members tremendous value at the lowest possible cost, along with improved services and benefits. Having served on association boards for many years, I understand the challenges we face for the future, primarily managing costs, attracting exhibitors and seeing our membership grow. I believe my experience in finance, marketing, and systems planning are well suited for this time in TCDA’s history. Thank you for the opportunity. I’m thrilled and excited to be here working for you. √

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2011 Scholarship Recipients

Elizabeth Bongat Texas State University Jackie Cocke Scholarship

Clinton Kimmel Baylor University TCDA General Scholarship

Lauren Knebel Baylor University TCDA General Scholarship

Aaron Lucero Texas Tech University TCDA General Scholarship

Elizabeth Dixon Mayer Texas Woman’s University Liz Volk Scholarship

Rita Outtrim University of North Texas Bill Gorham Scholarship

Matthew Perez Lamar University Gandy Ink Scholarship

Jonathan Pilgrim Baylor University Carroll Barnes Scholarship

Angela Rosenblatt University of North Texas Past Presidents Scholarship

Mary Anne Thompson Southern Methodist University TCDA General Scholarship

Matthew Carey Texas Tech University Jim and Glenda Casey Professional Scholarship

Colleen Petty Midway ISD Abbott-Ipco Professional Scholarship

Not pictured: Debra Seitter, Baylor University, Cloys Webb Scholarship; and Justin West, Lamar University, TCDA General Scholarship



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2011 TCDA Awards Young Director of Distinction The Young Director of Distinction award was established by the TCDA Board to recognize outstanding young directors who, within their first five years of teaching, have achieved significant accomplishments in their careers. Every year the membership has an opportunity to nominate candidates. We received many nominations for outstanding young directors, and the choices were difficult. Two directors were selected for recognition, Jeffrey Delman and Katherine Johnson.

Choral Excellence Award TCDA created The Texas Choral Excellence Award in honor of its 50th Anniversary as a way to recognize and celebrate the outstanding accomplishments of choral directors. The membership also has the opportunity to make the Board aware of individuals you thought were worthy of this award through nominations and letters of recommendation. This award is bestowed on individuals based on their contributions to choral music in Texas in mentoring and

inspiring colleagues and students as well as continued advocacy for the future of choral singing. Past recipients of this prestigious award are Glenda Casey, John Hemmenway, Janet Scarcella, Ron Shirey, Robert Young, Terry Price, Betsy Henderson, Rosemary Heffley, Dennis Boyter, Carroll Barnes, Barbara Perkins, Sally Schott, Loyd Hawthorne and Linda Ice. This year’s recipients are Dianne Brumley, Jan Juneau, Michael O’Hern and Jo Scurlock-Dillard.

Dianne Brumley Adjunct Professor and Director of Choral Activities, UT Brownsville

Jan Juneau Klein Collins HS Spring

Michael O’Hern Lake Highlands HS Richardson

Jo Scurlock-Dillard Retired

Jeffrey Delman Conroe HS Director

Katherine Johnson Cypress HS Director

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The Suggestion Box by Sharon Lutz


t was wonderful to meet so many of you at the Convention in July, and I welcome the opportunity to respond to your comments and suggestions. Your suggestions were great, and we depend on you to help us improve the Convention each year. We also welcome your emails or phone calls any time. Look for the TCDA website to offer members a place to share ideas in the not-too-distant future. We want to take your great ideas and implement them whenever possible. We can’t address all your suggestions in this forum, but know that the Board reads all of them and gives each one serious consideration. Here we go . . . Comment: More food vendors at reasonable prices. Response: Great idea and, yes, we would love to add this. However, the Convention Center has a contract food vendor that is used exclusively. We are not allowed to bring in independent vendors. Comment: Charging students to audition for Honor Choir seems to favor affluent school students. Find a way to fund it so the students that don’t have the money, but do have the talent, can audition, too. Response: This was recently discussed at length by your Board. We certainly have great empathy for these students and wish money were not an issue. Costs for our Convention continue to increase and we face difficult decisions every year. Do we increase pricing, do we continue to offer childcare, do we shorten the Convention? Unfortunately, we operate with no margin and ultimately, the Board determines how we can best manage costs versus services. An entry

TCDA Members On-Line


fee for an honor choir submission is standard practice for most CDA honor choirs across the country.

several ways of managing printing costs and this is a good suggestion. Thank you!

Comment: Excellent as usual! Thanks for everything! Comment: MS/JH VP and her “comrades” did an outstanding job organizing the MS Honor Choir. It was run very efficiently. Response: Many thanks to Dianna Jarvis, and to all the Board members for their diligent work.

Comment: The time frame to attend the exhibits on opening day is too short. Could the hours be extended or could there be a function held in the exhibit hall? Response: 2012 will bring about many changes and improvements. In fact, TCDA and TODA are already discussing ways to encourage more activity in the exhibit hall. Stay tuned!

Comment: We don’t get CPE credit for attending performances. Why not? Response: Well, you should! And starting next year, you will! Comment: Didn’t buy BBQ this year because in the recent past the food has been truly awful. Response: We have received many similar comments, and we are already looking at new vendors for next year. Our goal is to ensure top-quality food for the 2012 BBQ. Comment: Ridiculous that $10 must be paid for a 22-month-old and 3-year-old to enter the exhibit hall. Response: I agree with you! The guest badge for children of that age is intended to be used for childcare. (This service is generously provided for three days for only $10.) We are already working on ways to better address childcare services and guest badges. You should be seeing a change by next Convention. Comment: Consider printing Convention Program on lighter, nonglossy paper. It would be less expensive and lighter weight to tote around — and easier to write on. Response: We are looking at

Comment: Please do not allow vendors to send us email to advertise their presence. Comment: Please do not give our email addresses out to vendors!!! Response: We are in the process of building a new system for membership services. This system will be online and you, as members, will manage your own information. As a result, you will be able to opt-out of things like this. Comment: Thank you for making it so easy to pre-register & pick up our packets upon arrival. Response: You can thank Jeanne Kuhn Lowenhaupt! Jeanne has been the fabulous “behind the scenes” person for TCDA for 17 years. Seriously, the Convention simply would not happen without her. She is a huge asset to all of us. In fact, there are many deserving of our gratitude for another wonderful Convention, including Dan Wood. Over his many years of service, he delivered quality Conventions year after year. Your Board of Directors works all year to ensure that each Convention has something to offer every member. I am delighted to be with TCDA and look forward to the years ahead. √

Our web address is changing! Soon, we will be We hope this will make it easier to find us on the internet.


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Melva Sebesta – Life Lessons by Grace Littlefield


elva Sebesta was my high school choir director, mentor, adopted mother, and best friend. She tried her best to discourage me from pursuing a career in choral music even though I felt it was my calling. In spite of her misgivings, she was always one of my greatest critics and supporters. Through her guidance, I became the teacher I am today and these are just a few of the life lessons she taught. Lesson number one: “To be early is to be on time; to be on time is to be late.” I never learned what it meant to be late because I did not want “the look” or the lecture that followed. Lesson number two: “Everyone has a place in choir.” We had mixed Melva Sebesta choir rehearsal at 7:15 in the morning and men’s and women’s director when she and Joe moved to choirs during the school day. EveryGregory-Portland. one was in both organizations even if Lesson number five: “You never they were not the best singer. We were have a second chance to make a first a team – there were no bench sitters impression.” Melva spent time in class in the Gregory-Portland High School teaching us how to shake hands, look Choraleirs and Chordsmen. people in the eye, and speak with Lesson number three: “Trust is authority. She knew these skills would used until abused.” Melva always gave serve us well in any profession. us enough rope to hang ourselves, but Lesson number six: “Not to trusted that she had instilled in us the decide is to decide.” Melva was never values and morals we needed to make one to sit on the fence about anythe right choices in spite of our thing. She was a “get on or get off the adolescent brains, at least when pot” type of person in all aspects of representing our choir. her life. Lesson number four: “You are Lesson number seven: “Always representing your school, your support the home team.” Melva was a parents, your community, and master at PR. Gregory-Portland was a yourselves.” This relates back to lesson small town with a small town number three. Melva constantly newspaper. She always supported reminded us of our responsibility and every group at our school by cutting how we presented ourselves. Many out newspaper articles and sending have commented about the militaristhem to each group or person tic precision of our choirs…we were congratulating them on their accomdrilled well. Melva was a band plishment or words of encouragedirector prior to becoming a choir ment if the team had not done so

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well. Many times she was asked by the head football coach and athletic director, Ray Akins, to speak at the pep rallies to encourage pride in our school. No one ever left the pep rally during the Alma Mater at the end, because she was guarding the door. She commanded that sort of respect from all of the student body, not just the choir students. Lesson number eight: “Know when things are ‘tongue-in-cheek’.” Melva taught us irony better than anyone. She would stick her tongue in the side of her cheek as a sign to us when things were being said facetiously. Lesson number nine: “Nose out of joint.” This was a favorite of hers especially if the administration made an unpopular decision. She would take that long, skinny finger of hers and push her nose all the way to the side and “humph” as she did it to show her displeasure. We usually knew to stand clear when she was in that mood.


omewhere in all of this, we learned to sight-read music, sing with a beautiful tone and with musical understanding. She taught us life lessons through the text of the music as well. I remember vividly the text of Halsey Steven’s setting of “Like as a Culver” and how she related it to her marriage to Mr Joe. To this day, that text has special meaning to me as it was fulfilled when Mr Joe died and Melva, like the culver, was left to mourn. Melva was always quick to help anyone who needed it, especially young teachers. I know so many people in the choral field because she introduced me to them as a young Continued on page 25


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Dr Robert Hexter Young 1923-2011 by Dr Donald L Bailey


n July 29, our beloved Texas choral director and composer, Dr Robert Hexter Young, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Waco. Born on April 20, 1923, in Santa Cruz, California, Dr Young attended Santa Cruz public schools until his enlistment in the United States Marines, in which he served from 1941 to 1945. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from Otterbein College (Ohio), a Master of Music degree from Northwestern University (Illinois), and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Church Music degree from the University of Southern California. Coming to Baylor University in 1962, Dr Young served as a Dr Robert Hexter Young faculty member, the Mary Gibbs Jones Professor of Music, and, in turn, Chairman of Church Music, Chairman of Vocal Studies, Director of Graduate Studies, Interim Dean of the Dr Young was an School of Music, and ultimately, outstanding composer, Conductor Emeritus of Choral Music. He also served as the Choirmaster at teacher, mentor, and St Paul’s Episcopal Church for 27 years. conductor. He shall long I first met Dr Young in 1993, when be remembered for his I accepted the position of Director of Choral Activities at Baylor University. gentle spirit, his love I conducted the Baylor A Cappella of music and poetry, Choir, as well as the Baylor Chamber Singers, which had been founded by and the artistic integrity Dr Young in 1962. Dr Young and I quickly became good friends — he bequeathed to his collaborating on events with the many students. Baylor Chamber Singers, meeting for daily lunch at George’s Restaurant for nearly 18 years, having listening sessions at each other’s homes often two or three times a week, and “discussing” politics and theology outstanding choral composer, I began until early in the morning. Dr Young my own career as a composer. was an avid audiophile with a superb Dr Young was an outstanding record collection and one of the finest composer, teacher, mentor, and music listening rooms in the nation. conductor. He shall long be rememFrom Dr Young’s influence as an

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bered for his gentle spirit, his love of music and poetry, and the artistic integrity he bequeathed to his many students. Admittedly self-taught as a composer, his performances in Baylor’s Armstrong Browning Library with the nationally-recognized Baylor Chamber Singers became the inspiration for his compositions. Putting the text above all else, he created a unique compositional style in which the text and music were so perfectly wed, one could no longer be imagined without the other. An award-winning member of ASCAP with more than a 100 published compositions, he established himself as one of America’s premier college choral composers. He was named Distinguished Music Alumnus at Otterbein College in 1997 for his contributions to the music profession and, in 2005, awarded the Texas Choral Excellence Award by TCDA.


r Young was active in TMEA, IACDA, and TCDA, holding the office of Vice President of the Church/Community Division of TCDA from 1994 to 1996. Never one to stand on ceremony, at age 73, he could be seen setting up chairs and risers for a performing group at the TCDA Summer Convention. Beyond his professional life, Dr Young was a motorcycle enthusiast, a lover of great poetry, a skilled wood craftsman, a master gardener, and a proud Marine veteran. Robert Young and Betty Borden were married in Arvin, California, in 1952. They raised a son, Robert L Young, who resides in Santa Cruz, California, and a daughter, Lisa Diane, deceased. He was a dear friend and colleague who will always carry a special place in my heart and in the hearts of all who knew him. √


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Officer Comments Past President Amy Allibon

The Future of TCDA Seeing the Convention unfurl in July was very exciting and satisfying, indeed. The many different pieces of each division fell into place, complemented one another, and rang through the convention center like a well-tuned final cadence in an exciting performance. The 2010-11 Board is to be commended for their outstanding planning and execution of the Convention. I hope our membership never becomes anesthetized to the passionate efforts of the TCDA Board. These volunteers work yearround to orchestrate the Convention, and I am eternally grateful for their selfless and tireless labors this past year. Their service to TCDA is, of course, in addition to their full-time jobs as some of the most respected and busy choral directors in Texas. Bravo, TCDA Board! Reading the suggestion box each year provides the Board and Executive Director with many wonderful suggestions and insights. It also allows us to know where we can fill in some blanks as to people’s understanding of how the TCDA Convention all comes together. I hope these points enlighten, educate, and even inspire our membership to help TCDA’s Convention remain the best in the nation. Publishers and TCDA

Every two years, the official TCDA music vendor is selected through a bid process. JW Pepper, the vendor chosen by each TCDA Board through this bid process since 2003, sends a letter to music publishers, inviting them to send the TCDA Board single copies of music published within a two-year copyright span, or what we call “newly published music.” If a publisher consents to participate in the process, they send the Board members single copies of music for their consideration between October 22

and April. They also agree to provide 800-1,000 complimentary copies of any piece chosen by the Board for the reading session packet. Some choose not to participate, which is why you do not see certain publishers represented in the TCDA reading session packets. However, efforts are extended by the Board and our vendor for the involvement of as many publishers as possible. The Board reads each piece of music sent to them and then votes for the best titles to go into the reading session packets. 2,000plus octavos go through the Board’s hands, and this is whittled down to the 234 titles that go into the packets. The Board’s votes are tallied, and the reading session packets are chosen based on octavos that received the most votes, as well as discussion by the Board and the expertise of the divisional vice presidents. JW Pepper informs the publishers of the chosen titles, collects the music, and masterfully collates and transports the packets to San Antonio. I think there are some key elements our membership should understand about this process. First, we are extremely fortunate to receive this complimentary music from publishers. By the sheer strength of TCDA’s size, publishers recognize that putting music in our hands can lead to tremendous sales of their music. At other conventions, reading session packets are an added expense to the convention registration fee, and most fees have soared to double and triple TCDA’s. We remain the best bargain in the country. However, this complimentary music must not be taken for granted. Remembering that this music is provided as a perusal copy for each member must be respected. When Convention attendees attempt to collect a classroom set of an octavo by digging through the recycle bin at the back of a reading session, they are not honoring the publisher who has already provided a free copy. This, in fact, discourages publishers from participating. The sale of the piece has gone out the window if anyone is going to walk away with a free classroom set. Understanding JW Pepper’s role with TCDA is also important. Every two years, a letter is sent to music vendors for the opportunity to become the official TCDA music vendor. Since 2003, JW Pepper has been selected by the TCDA TEXAS√SINGS!

Board. JW Pepper not only serves as the liaison between the Board and the publishers, but also advertises our Convention on a national scale. They often provide free bags or trinkets at registration, and they annually contribute to the sponsorship of the BBQ entertainment. Lu Marler, Anthony Carrollo, Alan Kerr, and the entire JW Pepper team work throughout the year with the TCDA Board to ensure that the music chosen by the Board is gathered into packets, sorted into pallets, and delivered to the Convention for distribution. JW Pepper does not sell recycled or unwanted music left after a reading session, nor do they assist in the music selection process in any way. TCDA is grateful to all of the music vendors who exhibit and provide our membership with outstanding service. There is no substitute for a TCDA member seeing their favorite music vendor on the Convention floor each summer. While JW Pepper provides TCDA with marketing and packet distribution, all of our music vendors are appreciated beyond what words here can express and are encouraged to submit bids to become the TCDA official music vendor. You, the members, show your appreciation to these music vendors with your business. When you purchase music on the Convention floor from your favorite vendor, it shows them that it is worth their time and money to exhibit at TCDA. This statement can be reiterated for ALL of our exhibitors at TCDA. You, the membership, show our exhibitors that it is worth their time and money to exhibit in San Antonio by giving them your attention and business. Their sustaining membership and exhibiting fees comprise a healthy chunk of TCDA’s operating budget. When we lose an exhibitor, we not only lose their valuable wares, we lose the revenue of their exhibiting fees. In this internet-laden age, we will have to do more and more to entice exhibitors to come to TCDA and convince them that their exhibiting dollars will add up to sales and profit. This can be reinforced, in part, by the membership understanding this and visiting the exhibits and spending money. We do a good job of this, and exhibitors are, by and large, happy with the traffic that occurs during our Convention. But if every member Fall 2011

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Officer Comments read this and suddenly understood how important it is to visit and shop in the exhibits, would our current exhibitors return happily each year rather than dwindling? I believe each member of TCDA can have a tremendous impact on keeping our exhibitors happy and returning to TCDA. Each member should, in fact, consider it a mission to do so. Simply thanking an exhibitor throughout the year as you purchase uniforms, t-shirts, or use a fundraising or travel company that exhibits with us goes a long way to bringing them back each year. As members of this association, we

College/ Community Pam Elrod

Sweater Weather…sigh…


ou’re reading this in the middle of the fall semester, but I’m writing it on August 27th. It’s been barely a month since the TCDA Convention, but it seems like ages ago – yet I’m still feeling the excitement and energy of those four days. So many fantastic moments were created there! Sessions that were rich with valuable information, two minutes of silence (thank you, Craig…), new ideas for teaching, and the gift of uproarious laughter. And concerts that allowed us all to sit back and let beauty just wash over us. I hope all of you enjoyed these moments as much as I did – and I want to thank everyone – clinicians, conductors, accompanists, student workers, volunteer (and sometimes last-minute!) percussionists and soloists – for making those moments happen. It’s going to be hard to top it in 2012! As I wrote earlier, you’re reading at a time when the unique adrenaline rush that is the beginning of school has long since passed. With luck, the dreadful, wilting heat of this past summer is now a

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can ensure the future financial health of TCDA. This is not simply a matter for the Board – it is going to take the entire membership. What can you do as a member? If every member encouraged one colleague who was NOT a member of TCDA to join, we would double our bargaining power with publishers and exhibitors. We have room to grow, and the enthusiastic encouragement of a current member to a prospective member is our best means of advertising. Our elementary division remains a remarkably small portion of our membership when the quality of the Convention offered to them is quite

remarkable. Despite numerous marketing attempts, we remain stumped by this hurdle. But if each member took this on as a mission – to recruit one new member – we would strengthen our armor in these difficult economic times. You, the current TCDA member, could have a significant impact on our future by recruiting new members. I am asking each of you to find new members for our incredible association. Your words and encouragement are so much better than emails that are deleted or postcards that go into the trash. I ask you to take this on for TCDA this year. Your actions matter for the future. √

memory and you’re experiencing that thing that we were all afraid would never return – sweater weather and open windows. So I’m sitting here on August 27th, very thankful for air conditioning and also very excited about the semester ahead. I’ve just finished the first week of classes, and although it seemed like an incredibly long week for me as well as for my students, we’re all energized and ready to experience the school year ahead of us. It’s a good feeling. So, how can we reclaim that feeling of excited anticipation all year round? It’s such a great source of motivation in our teaching – that special energy source deep inside that affirms and propels every aspect of how we work with our students. It’s also an annual blessing – I know full well that in a couple of months I’ll be tired, anxious, harried, and hurried – but it’s as if I somehow forget all of that and am simply enjoying this time of rebirth. Thank goodness for that innocence – it’s where we need to live all of the time. So when I need some “rebirthing,” I turn to one of my favorite people and one of my favorite writers – Paula D’Arcy. Although she is known internationally, we get to claim her as one of our own Texas girls. I’ve only had the chance to be around Paula a couple of times, but that was enough to add her to my family of friends – I’m sure everyone who comes into contact with her feels the same. Paula is an extraordinary person. As a young woman, she lost her husband and small daughter in a tragic auto

accident. Over the next few years, she somehow managed to turn her grief into a love for life – when she speaks to a group of people, she shares her story, along with many other stories that all have the same message of transformation. She’s a magical speaker and also a great listener. If you ever have the occasion to attend one of her workshops, drop everything and go. There are two passages from her book, Waking Up to This Day, that I would like to share with you. Both are sources of inspiration to me when the well is running a bit low – and also when the well is full. Both somehow capture what it means to me to have this great gift I have been given – the gift of music and the gift of being allowed to share my music with my students. The first is a quote from John O’Donoghue’s To Bless the Space Between Us: “There is a quiet light that shines in every heart . . . Without this subtle quickening . . . no horizon would ever awaken our longing . . . This shy inner light is what enables us to recognize and receive our very presence here as blessing . . . Each life is clothed in raiment of spirit that secretly links it to everything else . . . Without warning, thresholds can open directly before our feet. These thresholds are also the shorelines of new worlds.” The second is in Paula’s own words: “In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion looks back on the day preceding the sudden death of her husband. She muses that at one point he had twenty-four hours left to live but didn’t know it. That single thought



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Officer Comments threads through her story like a mantra. She repeats it often, reliving over and over the sudden shock of his limited hours. ‘How would he have chosen to live those [last] hours,’ she wonders, ‘if he had known how few hours were left?’ That same question pushes against

High School Mark Rohwer



he 2011 TCDA Convention was a fantastic experience for me, full of inspiring workshops and performances as well as chances to connect and reconnect with old and new friends. Thanks go to the TCDA Executive Board for putting together such an amazing experience! Special thanks to Sharon Paul, the outgoing High School Division Vice President, for raising the bar regarding what is possible for a TCDA Convention, as well as my colleaguecandidates, Robin Brockway-Nichols and Ronnie Sanders, for sharing with me an inside look at how much work goes on to prepare and execute the Convention. I am humbled to find myself beginning a two-year term as High School Division Vice President. I am humbled by the talent and passion displayed by the board members around me; humbled by the legacy of great leaders in our state who have gone before and set the standard for excellence; and humbled by the realization that our current actions will have repercussions in the years to come. The longer I teach, and the more positions of service and leadership in which I find myself, the more I come to an understanding that humility is essential in order to lead well, as an educator and as a conductor. As a teacher, humility means I need to always be willing to reach out for advice, assistance, or for a new way of doing things. There should never be a point where any of us feel like we are so


our unexamined beliefs and rises up inside our dreams. It arrives disguised as restlessness, discontent, emptiness – the longing that will not let us go. And always, an arm’s length away, the ‘breathtaking empty space.’ How would I choose to live my last

hours if I knew in advance? How am I choosing to live this hour?” I hope the days and weeks ahead are filled with magical, transformative moments for you and for your singers. Now go put on a sweater . . . . I’m so envious! √

experienced, so accomplished, that we are beyond calling or e-mailing a colleague or peer to ask advice, get a second opinion on an issue about which we are uncertain, or just ask to be given an educational “shot in the arm” of encouragement. It is far easier to continue to do the same things again and again because they work than to wonder if, by learning and growing, we might be able to do them better. But there is no point in settling only for what has worked in the past. As the mantra that was thrown around my school last year suggests, “good is the enemy of great.” Greatness requires humility, our willingness to understand that, no matter what we had achieved or accomplished, we can do so much more. Humility allows experienced teachers to learn and borrow from those less experienced, and it allows new teachers to understand there is no sudden day when they will “arrive;” the focus is on the journey, not the destination. We’ve never truly arrived, and there is always so much more for each of us to learn, whether we push ourselves to be students of new technology or ways in which we can engage students more effectively in the rehearsal room. Musically, humility requires an understanding that each musical era is an important part of students’ growth, and that students’ needs are best served with a wide variety of styles, regardless of our own personal tastes. It only makes sense that each of us will gravitate toward certain kinds of pieces and away from other ones. But as a curricular activity, we are obligated to provide our students with as complete a history of singing and choral music as we possibly can. There is so much music in our art, and it can be found in every corner and nook of our culture. Singing and choral music glues our world together, and the more we search, the more we find connections to those types of music with which we are already so comfortable. We need to give

ourselves permission to explore, to try out new kinds of music with our students, to admit that we are pushing ourselves and that it is okay to do so. However, humility also requires an understanding that we all have strengths and weaknesses, and we need to acknowledge this in order to have success on stage; it is one thing to be willing to invest time and energy in a wide variety of music, but another to pronounce ourselves experts in all of them. By point of example, I consider myself to be a better conductor of Renaissance music than I am of Baroque music. I am aware of this, as I am aware of the fact that both genres are critical parts of choral music history; so I will strive to rehearse, discuss, and perform both with my students. How I choose my repertoire, and when over the course of the school year I choose to perform music from each genre, will require me to realistically accept both my shortcomings and my responsibility to find a way to overcome them. The pastor at my church recently spoke on the topic of humility, noting that without humility, the goal becomes “winning,” and with humility, the goal is “loving.” We really do, as a society, place such a high, high premium on being the best, having the right answer, and getting the highest score. Our students cannot help but notice that and learn from it. What I absolutely believe is we chose this career path — or rather, it chose us — because we love music, and we love teaching, and we love teaching music to others. If we allow ourselves to be humbled, and then use our humility to guide our teaching and our musical leadership, then I think we are teaching the most powerful, positive lesson of all, one that will pay dividends long into the future. I have the highest hopes that you are having a terrific year, full of meaningful experiences for both you and your singers! √


Fall 2011

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Officer Comments Middle School/ Junior High Kari Gilbertson

Why do you teach?


’m sure you’ve all seen those t-shirts, bumper stickers, and notepads that brag, “Three Reasons I Teach: June, July, and August!” And I’m also sure that you are as professionally offended as I am when you see them, right?! Well . . . okay . . . I admit it . . . I used to have one! A crisp white shirt, with an old-fashioned chalkboard and a red apple, with letters that were in that cute dotted “teacher font.” I wore it with pride and I’m certain I was trying to rub it in the faces of my “non-teacher” friends. But now, looking back after 22 years of teaching, I can’t believe that I ever wore it out in public. While I know it was the humor that appealed to me, it is the impression of teachers that I gave by wearing it that makes me shudder. Was that really why I chose to teach? Is that really why I teach now? Why do you teach? This July, I had the opportunity to attend the Choral Perspectives Workshop in Santa Fe, NM. One of the main reasons I chose to attend this particular summer was the opportunity to see my college choir conductor, and a great mentor of mine, Dr Rene Clausen. I was fortunate enough to sing for him in The Concordia Choir for four years and that time changed me as a musician forever. During one of the sessions, Dr Clausen mused about a brief summer respite, during which he went where all Minnesotans go to reflect . . . the lake cabin. While there, he was reading a book

Lest We Forget Continued from page 19

teacher. All the great teachers of the state, many of whom have passed like Bill Cormack, Jim and Glenda Casey, Jim Sheppard, Ruth Whitlock, and the fine South Texas ladies, Aurelia ScogFall 2011

called, Teaching With Fire; Poetry that sustains the courage to teach. (Doesn’t that sound like required reading for all of us?) As he read the poems, he said it made him decide to take time to reflect about why he teaches. He went on to share his list of “31 Reasons I am a Conductor.” None of them were “June, July, or August.” They were all statements of great perspective, reflection, humor, and idealism. Without giving away his whole list, here were some of my favorites: “For the transcendent moments.” “To make music a tool and not an idol.” “To make people wonder, what is going to happen next?” So, as I returned from Santa Fe, and TCDA, I asked myself the same question. Why do I teach? And specifically, why do I love teaching middle school singers most of all? Those of you, who know me well, know my list was way too long, but here’s just six I thought I would share. Six Reasons I’m a Middle School/ Junior High Choir Director: Because of my Junior High Choir Director, Jeff Ingham. Because I can keep them safe and give them courage. Because they still know how to play. Because I can teach them to sight read. Because of the eighth grade boy who went missing during the real tornado at Hurricane Harbor. After counting heads and missing his, I was panicked and thought that he had been swept away like Dorothy and Toto. Just then, he came walking up with a giant, salted, doughy pretzel. With fear and adrenaline flowing, I yelled, “Where have you been?!” He looked at me, nonplussed, and said, “I’m sorry. Do you want me to go get you one?” And I laughed . . . . So, I challenge you to take a few minutes before the craziness of holiday concerts and auditions take over your life to consider why you teach. They don’t gins, Martha Luigi, and Lois Rhea Land. Melva loved our profession, especially the Texas Choral Directors Association. She served as Secretary and then President of TCDA and later worked to get TMAA grounded. She encouraged many to serve the profession in leadership roles and continued TEXAS√SINGS!

have to be the fancy, aesthetic, and pedagogically correct reasons. Just make them your reasons and remember them while you are dreaming of…June, July, and August. And a Good Time Was Had by All.

I hope you had a great time at the 56th Annual Convention in San Antonio. It was certainly worth battling the heat outside to have the opportunity to get excited about why we teach before our singers arrive! Bravo! Thanks to Dianna Jarvis for her incredibly successful Convention planning and wonderful service to this organization. What an amazing ensemble of professionals she assembled. My students from the honor choir are still buzzing about what a great time they had. They are changed as musicians because of the work of Dr Sandra Snow with Jennifer Zaccagni at the piano. Thank you to the section leaders Connie Horton, Lorelai Cole, Joel Price, and Bo Shirah; and directors Ashley Koskela and Amy Kelly for giving up so much of their Convention to make things run smoothly from registration to rehearsals to performance. I hope you all put some music in your repertoire from the reading session packets so graciously provided by the publishers and JW Pepper. Thank you to Sandy Shelley, Mica Kolb, and Craig Griffith, with accompanists Jeanna Baibos, Cliff Carbone, and Patricia Neighbors for your preparation. And I know we all credit presenters Dan Davison, Ann Allen, Vicki Baker, Laura Farnell, Candy McComb, Leslie Tanner and Teresa Whatley, for the new ideas, tricks, and tips that help us to be better educators. Thank you for taking time to share what you know instead of keeping it all for yourself. One of my favorite things about TCDA is the selflessness our colleagues show by freely sharing what they do well, so others may also be successful. Thank you! √ to guide them in her quiet way. But mostly, she helped to shape my life that in turn helped to shape the lives of my students. And isn’t that what we are about, we music makers? Shaping lives? I miss her every day and many times hear her voice in my head reminding me of the life lessons. √ 25

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Officer Comments Elementary Phyllis King

Kudos Elementary Division!


et me start with brief Convention accolades to everyone! A great big THANK YOU to all who made the Elementary Division sessions such a success: Karen, Jimmy, Darla, Billy, Marguerite, Brenda, Rachel, Debi, Brittany, Cyndie, Katelyn, Cecile, John, Carolyn, Julie, Deb and my special college helper, Jessica. I felt as if I were the hostess of a great big party! Thank you again for sharing your expertise with us!


I find myself in a new job this year and have come to terms with some very important information about teaching and the act of improvement. In truth, I have always loved going to school, whether as a student or as a teacher, but now, everyday, I feel the struggle of going to a place where I do not have any close friends and where I am not certain of the expectations from the administration. I realize that in my job now I must focus on the pursuit of excellence from the

Church Greg Shapley

Fuel for the Fire


hen I think of this past year’s TCDA Convention, two words come immediately to my mind— passion and excellence. The Church


standpoint of student success and personal growth. I continue daily to think about how to keep my candle burning and recently came across an interesting philosophy from the Dana Center at the University of Texas in Austin. This information is based on teacher growth, regardless of the method or style. Much of the following was condensed by my campus instructional specialist. I might have known about these things as an unconsciously skilled observer but did not know how to verbally pinpoint these learning outcomes like our CIS did in a recent training script. Thank you, Susan, for sharing this information with me so I could pass it on. As a life-long learner, there are several outcomes for a teacher. The name of the category describes the level of awareness in the teacher. First, there is a category called Unconsciously Unskilled. This would be a person who does not know what they are missing; who thinks that ignorance is bliss. This teacher is unaware that the students are lost and does not even notice their lack of understanding. The next level would be the Consciously Unskilled. These folks are aware that they do not know what to do but would be willing to try if they had some training. I picture this type as eager to learn but frustrated in the teaching. The third group would be the Unconsciously Skilled. Have you ever observed a person that just seems to

make things happen but they are unaware of how they did it? Many people call this the “gift” of teaching but, if asked, the person who is unconsciously skilled is only able to share how to duplicate what they did and not able to explain how to replicate the learning in another situation. Last, we have the category of Consciously Skilled. This is a teacher who knows exactly what is going on, who is able to predict the reaction of the student, can explain the process by coaching others and then apply the same strategies to new lessons. To me, this is a person who understands the pedagogy of teaching. These are very interesting stages of teacher awareness and this awareness makes all of the difference. Even while you read and understand these points, (forgive the strange grammar of this next statement) you can never UN-know what you just discovered. Even if you are consciously skilled at your work, your plans, your classroom management, your musicianship, your score study, your procedures, etc. there will comes a time when you want to add new and challenging ideas. At that time you must reflect, analyze and self-evaluate and in so doing, finally come to the level of Reflectively Skilled, which is the place of constant professional growth. Constantly ask yourself the big question: Why? Please join me as I make a daily commitment to be reflectively skilled, to analyze the best practices in the classroom and to challenge the students to answer the “why” questions. The mirror is your friend! Reflect what you see! √

Festival Chorus under the direction of Don Neuen brought both of these ingredients together in a worship experience that will not be soon forgotten. Again, we are so appreciative to Stephen T Carrell and the First Baptist Church of San Antonio for that congregation’s gracious hospitality in hosting us. Thank you again to all who helped with this immense undertaking, especially those directors who helped recruit singers and brought them to San Antonio for what we hoped would be a mountaintop musical experience for all. We had excellent workshops and reading sessions, and I am so appreciative of our workshop facilitators, conductors and

accompanists. Thank you again for making this a wonderful Convention for the church division of TCDA. Passion and excellence are such important ingredients in what we do, but there’s something else I feel we need in ample amount, and that’s encouragement. What else are we if we are not encouragers to those we teach and lead? On the last Saturday of August, I rode in the Hotter-n-Hell Bike Race in Wichita Falls. I was absolutely blown away by the event! 15,000 cyclists from all over the country. Hundreds of volunteers. Gatorade mixed and served in epic

Outcomes for Improvement


Fall 2011

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Officer Comments proportions. The event serves up incredible energy and excitement about riding a bicycle 100 miles in 108-degree heat. Did I mention it was hot that day? Yes, I hear what you’re thinking as you read this—he’s just crazy. Maybe so, but I learned some incredible things that day, so please read on. Being my first year in this event, I opted for the shorter cut-off and rode the 84 mile route which took me through Sheppard AFB. By this point in the race, we had been riding for about five hours. We’re only about 4 miles from the finish line, but the heat and distance are beginning to take their toll. Then, I hear it as I round a corner. Yelling. Lots of yelling. I look up and see

Secretary/ Treasurer Karen Gonzalez


reetings to everyone! Convention 2011 was an outstanding success due to extensive planning and hard work from the TCDA Board of Directors. I came home physically tired but mentally refreshed and equipped with wonderful new treasures to use this year! Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve this great organization as the new Secretary/Treasurer. I appreciate your vote of confidence and I am looking forward to the next two years! It seems as if Convention this past summer was a very long time ago as we are all in the full swing of our everyday teaching, schedules, and lives. It seems that “busy”ness never ends at my house. If I have a free afternoon or evening from work activities, my son has football practice, church activities, or baseball games. Add to that a spouse who travels frequently and you are left with a person who doesn’t have much time for herself. I know everyone has his or her own time-constraint issues. As musicians and educators, there is always something extra for us to do! I

Fall 2011

the street lined with hundreds of base personnel cheering us on. They’re waiving and shouting, “Go! You can do it! Great job! Almost there! Come on! Let’s Go!” There’s a guy dressed up in a full suit of ARMOR! “Man, I’ll bet he’s HOT!” I thought to myself. The view of all of those military men and women is overwhelming to me, and the noise is deafening and exciting. I find more strength than I thought I had left to finish the race. That encouragement was the Gatorade my soul needed to dig deeper and finish strong in what was a long, hot course. Encouragement means so much to us. We can never forget that for many of the people we see in our choirs each

week, we may be the only source of inspiration and encouragement in their lives. Through music, we not only offer passion and encouragement for excellence in what we offer to God on Sunday, but also encouragement for the journey of daily living for every person. In our teaching, I strongly believe that encouragement and passion fuel excellence, and when we encourage our choirs to go beyond their abilities, they leave our rehearsals energized and hungry for more. As you make your preparations for the Advent and Christmas season, I challenge you to hold the bar high as you teach and offer your singers the encouragement to meet each new challenge! √

decided this first article would be a collection of words of wisdom that have come from many years in the teaching profession; hopefully you can find a couple of items that speak to you in your situation. 1. Learn to say “NO”. As I get older (please don’t tell anyone it’s happening!), I have gotten much better at saying “no”. Believe it or not, you are not completely indispensable. There is always going to be someone else who can be on the calling tree at church or be in charge of who is bringing snacks to football games. 2. Write it down! I have learned to maximize my use of time while at school. Making a daily list of “chores” to be done at work ensures I don’t forget to send out letters, make phone calls to parents, get materials ready for class, fill out forms for a/c or heat after normal school hours, etc… I personally cannot remember everything anymore and if I don’t write it down, chances are it won’t get done! 3. Plan quiet time. Whether you pray, meditate, reflect or exercise, quiet time for just you is SO important. Perhaps your time may be while driving (keep your eyes open though!) or any other time you will not be interrupted. 4. Cultivate a hobby that is not related to music. Do crossword puzzles or sudoku, play golf or join a softball team. Join a book club or volunteer once a month at a shelter. You can hang out with your music friends and do something NON-musical. Or, you

might just make some new friends along the way. Try it - you just might like it! 5. Try to find humor in your situation. Many times, unpleasant situations are no fault of our own. As my mom always says: “That’s how the cookie crumbles.” Schedules are bad, kids are undisciplined and/or disrespectful, we are teaching on the stage in the cafeteria, an administrator or coworker doesn’t respect or appreciate what we do…the list could go on forever! Our best response is to do the very best we can and learn to laugh. Obviously not everything is funny, but seeing the glass half-full is much better than seeing it half-empty. Learn and train yourself not to always be a Debbie Downer! 6. Have a good cry once in a while. It is cleansing and good for the soul. If you are not a “crier” then vent to a trusted friend. Either way, get things off your chest and out of your system! We have been entrusted with the most important profession – teaching young people. As music educators, we teach much more than theory, history, composers, etc… we are nurturers and we foster emotions, compassion, and self worth. We teach cooperation and teamwork – valuable life skills our young people desperately need. In order for us to be the most effective educators, we MUST NOT let our own well run dry! TAKE AND MAKE time to enjoy friends, family and every day occurrences. Here’s to a great year for everyone! √



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Texas Sings! Fall 2011 Issue  

Vol 28 No 1

Texas Sings! Fall 2011 Issue  

Vol 28 No 1