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TEXAS SINGS! Volume 30 Number 3

Official Publication of the Texas Choral Directors Association



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Fall 2013














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Address Service Requested Texas Choral Directors Association 7900 Centre Park Drive, Suite A Austin, Texas 78754

Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage Paid Austin, Texas Permit No. 789



We Made It!


Advertising Opportunities

e made it through our first convention under the new format, with TCDA, TODA and TBA sharing convention dates and a combined exhibit hall. We worked hard to keep a physical separation of programs, and though there are still challenges to overcome, the response from members was uniformly positive. The exhibitors were extremely pleased with the outcome, reporting increased traffic and connecting with more folks in the shared exhibit hall. Thank you for your cooperation and support with this transition! Many of you made helpful comments to improve future conventions (see the Suggestion Box). As we plan next year’s event, we will take your feedback into consideration. Unfortunately, La Villita will not be renovated in time for us to hold a 2014 BBQ. In recent years, members have really enjoyed the Soiree, so we will try to extend its hours at your request. The complimentary childcare this year was also very popular. Most important, TCDA saw a real pickup in new

members this year due to the New Teacher Academy and the first-year teacher 50% convention fee. We welcome our new members, and we will definitely repeat these successful initiatives next year. Recruiting is important to the future of TCDA, so please bring a friend next year, or talk to a new teacher about the value of joining TCDA. We need your help in growing TCDA! Please join me in welcoming our new President, Billy Talley, and our three new Board members: Robin Brockway-Nichols (High School Division); Jennifer Gallagher (Middle School/Junior High Division); and Terry Berrier (Secretary-Treasurer). Our outgoing Board members deserve a round of thanks for their commitment and service to TCDA: Amy Allibon, Mark Rohwer, Kari Gilbertson, and Karen Gonzalez. Jeff Rice, former President, now steps into the role of Past-President. Thanks again for your great feedback. Contact us at anytime, and we will be in touch through Choral Notes and Texas Sings!

Texas Sings! is the official publication of TCDA. It serves over 1600 choral directors in Texas, representing elementary, middle school, high school, college and church, as a means of communication among the membership and to promote the choral arts within our state. Texas Sings! is published in May (pre-convention) and in October (post-convention). Texas Sings! is a great venue to advertise choral programs and events such as summer music campus, choral tours, new faculty, and promotion of educational tools and products. The TCDA Clinic/Convention Program includes a complete list of convention activities and events, including performing groups, headliners and clinicians, exhibitor information, and much more. The program is distributed to all convention attendees at our July event. Advertisements receive maximum exposure. The convention also provides specific sponsorship opportunities for your products and services.

Thanks for your support of TCDA and the choral arts! Please go to for more information on advertising and sponsorship, or contact TCDA at 512-474-2801.


Volume 30

Number 3

Fall 2013

contents We Are Family by Billy Talley


The Future of TCDA by Jeff Rice


2013 TCDA Scholarship Recipients


2013 TCDA Awards


Middle School/Junior High Vice President Jennifer Gallagher, Pearland

In Memoriam Imogene White Holmes Patricia Anne “Patti” French


Elementary Vice President Laura Rachita, Friendswood

Where Will Their Lives Take Them? by Debbie Rohwer


Church Vice President Gary Mabry, San Antonio

Join or Renew Your TCDA Membership!


Suggestion Box by Sharon Lutz


Creative Challenges by Randall Hooper


Financial Report


The New Kid by Robin Brockway-Nichols


Catching Choir by Jennifer Gallagher


What’s in Your Toolbox? by Laura Rachita


Consider the Source by Gary Mabry


Teach the Love and Obsession by Terry Berrier


Past President Jeff Rice, Waco College/Community Vice President Randall Hooper, Commerce High School Vice President Robin Brockway-Nichols, Carrollton

Secretary/Treasurer Terry Berrier, Richardson Executive Director Sharon Lutz, Austin

TEXAS SINGS! Editor Beverly Schlegel Layout and Design Ben White, Lubbock Official Publication of the Texas Choral Directors Association 7900 Centre Park Drive, Suite A Austin, Texas 78754 512-474-2801 © 2013 Texas Choral Directors Association No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the Executive Director.

Attention Members: Our Membership Year has changed to coincide with the calendar year. The TCDA Membership Year for 2014 is January 1–December 31. Membership Application and Renewals will open in December 2013. Check the website at or contact our office at 512-474-2801. Current Members should be receiving Choral Notes, our informative electronic newsletter. If you are not, please email

TCDA is an affiliate of ACDA. Fall 2013 · Texas Sings!




We Are Family


he 2013 TCDA Convention has come and gone, but its impact will be felt for a very long time. What an amazing convention! Congratulations to Past President Jeff Rice and the 2013 Board for one of the most successful and important conventions in our association’s history. Thanks to outgoing Board members Karen Gonzalez, Kari Gilbertson, and Mark Rohwer for their willingness to devote their time and talent to TCDA for the past two years. And a very special thank-you to Amy Allibon, who completed seven years of service as a TCDA Board member. Thank you, Amy, for your energy, your vision, and your attention to detail. Thank you to those who attended the convention. Many of you do not receive financial help from your school district or church to attend TCDA, yet you keep coming back. You come for the camaraderie of the Soiree. You come for the outstanding performances by groups such as Cantare Houston and Vox Humana, and to hear unbelievable Honor Choirs such as this year’s Middle School Honor Choir prepared and directed by Lynne Gackle. You come to be inspired by nationally known music educators such as Paul Rardin and Derrick Fox, and to hear the newest releases by a host of music publishers. If you missed the 2013 TCDA Convention, don’t let it happen again! Start making plans now for the 59th Annual TCDA Convention on July 27–30, 2014. And bring a friend!


Texas Sings! · Fall 2013

Believe me when I say that this Board had some anxious moments concerning TCDA, TODA, and TBA holding their summer conventions simultaneously. But thanks to great leadership and careful planning, all three conventions happened and no blood was shed! Kudos to our own Sharon Lutz and Mike Brashear of TBA for their cooperative efforts to bring about this necessary change. This change needed to happen for the financial good of all three organizations, and having the majority of the TCDA events in one area of the Convention Center was an unexpected bonus for our members. Share TCDA. I would encourage you to share your experiences with TCDA with those directors/ teachers in your city who did not attend our convention. They might not know enough about what we offer to realize how much they are missing. When you have finished reading this edition of Texas Sings! pass it on to a friend or colleague. If there is a pertinent article in the online TCDA Choral Notes, copy it and send it to your region. Sometimes, the only way for new directors to know what TCDA is all about is for you to tell them. We Are Family! When my students talk about what choir means to them, the word “family” always comes into the conversation. My choir is not the exception for that feeling of security that comes from being a part of the choir. I know that many choirs around our state create that same environment

where the students feel safe and unconditionally accepted. How does that happen? Is it an automatic by-product of gathering in the same room every day and singing together? I don’t think it happens by accident. I think each of us must develop ways to make our students feel they belong. Some of the things I do to create our “family” include: Pictures on the Wall. One of the best ideas I have implemented in recent years is having a bulletin board in my choir room designated for pictures of my choir members. During the first week of school, I ask one student from each class to serve as the photographer. As the rest of the choir rehearses, three or four students at a time go into the hall and have their picture made. Everyone gets their picture made in a small group. No one takes an individual picture. And it is very important that no student is left out. Once all students are included, I have 4×6 prints made. Then I give the job to the seniors to create some sort of picture collage on the bulletin board. The collage helps create the sense of family within the choir. Everybody wants their picture on the wall. And yes, I make sure that my picture is up there somewhere too. Try it with your groups. It doesn’t cost a lot of money and your kids will love it.

Sometimes, the only way for new directors to know what TCDA is all about is for you to tell them. He Knows My Name! The principal at my school is a freak of nature. He has the uncanny ability to remember people’s names. Every year, as the freshmen line up for registration, Dr. Pulliam is there to shake hands with every ninth grader and ask them their name. And he remembers it! We have over 2,200 students, so this is not an easy task. And he doesn’t just know the easy names, he knows the wild ones as well. This is amazing to me, since I have to wear a nametag to remember my own name. As a result of this personal touch, he has our students on his side. It makes a difference to a student when the principal knows their name, even when they are not in trouble. Now, I don’t have to remember 2,200 names. But I need to know the name of every singer that walks through my door each day. I make it a habit to stand by the door as the students walk in and I address them by name. I shake hands with every student as they enter. It shows that I know them and I respect them. And they like it.

Show Up. I have many students who are involved in every school activity imaginable. During the first couple of weeks of school, I try to find out which students are involved in athletics, dance team, theater, cheerleading, etc. How is football going? When is the next game? What time? And I make an effort to get to at least one game or performance for these students. They know when you are there and they like it. Too often, our students think all we do is sit at home and listen to classical music. When we show up to cheer them on in other activities, it makes them more likely to give a little more energy in the choir room. Tradition! Can you hear Tevye singing it? Tradition! Every choir has them. There are traditions that become a trademark of our group. For my choirs, we have a tradition of singing “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” each Friday to end the week. It takes less than two minutes, yet it means so much to the students. They feel cheated if we don’t have the chance to sing it. Our students love traditions. It gives them a sense that they are part of something bigger than themselves. A former student of mine recently died in a tragic car/truck accident that took the lives of five young people. When I asked the grieving parents if there was anything the choir could do for them, they asked us to sing “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” at the conclusion of the memorial service for their son. As it came time for us to sing, I knew it would be a logistical nightmare to gather my singers at the front of the church. So I asked all former and current choir members, along with anyone else who knew the song, to stand where they were and join in singing that beautiful benediction. I wish you could have heard that singing. I would guess that over a third of the packed house stood to sing. It was almost as marvelous as the TCDA membership singing to conclude our business meeting. You see, even TCDA has traditions that make us feel like we are part of a family. If you don’t have any traditions right now, find something that your group can do regularly that will bring them closer together. Every singer in your choir wants to be a part of the group. They want to be accepted. They want their picture on the wall. They want you to call them by name. They want you to watch them play. And they want the connection that only comes from sharing choral music together. What an amazing honor and responsibility we have every day to make sure our students know that they are truly important to us and that they are an integral part of our choir family.

Fall 2013 · Texas Sings!




The Future of TCDA


atching the summer convention unfold, I was amazed (and a little relieved!) that all the moving pieces synchronized according to the plans of the TCDA, TODA, and TBA Boards. The historic agreement between these three associations was a result of in-depth study and meticulous planning over many months. I must express my gratitude to our own Executive Director, Sharon Lutz, and her counterpart, Mike Brashear, Executive Director of the Texas Bandmasters Association. These two did more work behind the scenes than you can imagine. The result was the creation of the largest summer music trade show in the Southwest United States. Though we joined forces for the exhibits, each association maintained its own unique convention experience. The relocation of TCDA registration to the East Registration Area worked very well for us. Hopefully, you agree that the proximity to the Exhibit Hall, Ballroom A, and other workshop rooms was a positive change for TCDA. I did not miss the long hike all the way back to Ballroom C for reading sessions. Of course, convention center construction plans will cause us to revisit all of this again in a year or two. Thank you to TCDA Division Vice Presidents for envisioning and developing such meaningful experiences for our membership. The thoughtfully planned workshops, extraordinary clinicians/conductors, and outstanding performing groups rivaled many divisional and national conferences. I am grateful that we are blessed with such dedicated volunteers serving on the TCDA Board. In order to remain a relevant and viable association, TCDA must continue to push the boundaries. We must change with the times and technology while remaining true to our mission of promoting choral music and choral musicians. TCDA must seek to actively and intentionally recruit new members. Toward this end, the TCDA Board is considering several New Member Initiatives that will be rolling out later this year. As we know from recruiting for our own programs, the best recruiting tool is a relationship. Please take time this year to encourage your friends and colleagues to join TCDA.


Texas Sings! · Fall 2013

According to the Texas Education Agency, Texas has 1,700+ high schools and is growing every year. Imagine the thousands of middle schools and elementary schools that feed into those schools! Also, a recent search of College Board member schools revealed 198 colleges and universities in Texas. Finally, Texas is well known for having a church on just about every street corner. There are thousands of choral directors, music teachers, and church musicians out there who are potential members of TCDA. If each member recruited just one new member, our association membership would explode! There are several factors that determine whether our colleagues join TCDA or not. Some will say it is financially prohibitive while others will say they just don’t see the need for a trek to San Antonio to attend TCDA in the summer during our “vacation” months. Those of us who have experienced and value the face-to-face human interaction that occurs at our convention must do a better job of convincing our non-TCDA colleagues to join us.

As we know from recruiting for our own programs, the best recruiting tool is a relationship. Some who argue that they can watch a YouTube video to get the same training or Skype with a big name choral conductor need only look as far as Miss Kansas’s performance of “Nessun Dorma” at the recent Miss America competition. She bragged that she learned the song from YouTube. If you saw and heard the performance, you know what I mean when I say she may have had a better chance of winning if she had studied with a qualified voice teacher in person. If for no other reason (and this should be enough for all of us), all Texas choral directors should join TCDA because choral music education is our profession and we should be members of our namesake professional organization. Please make it your mission to recruit at least one new member to TCDA this year.

2013 TCDA Scholarship Recipients

Left to right: Amy Moore, Randall Capshaw, Theresa Whatley, Chelsea Berner, Cynthia Juarez, Megan Gackle, Brittney Nixon, Elaina Nordin, Katie Webb (Not pictured: Darla Meek and Kelley Poche-Rodriguez)

Chelsea Berner

Brittney Nixon

Randall Capshaw

Elaina Nordin

Megan Gackle

Kelley Poche-Rodriguez

Cynthia Juarez

Katie Webb

Darla Meek

Theresa Whatley

Baylor University – DONALD BAILEY Texas Christian University – JIM AND GLENDA CASEY Baylor University – WILLIAM GORHAM University of Texas of Permian Basin – JACKIE COCKE Texas A&M University (Commerce) – GENERAL FUND

Southwestern University – CLOYS WEBB Stephen F. Austin University – LIZ VOLK Texas Tech University – GANDY INK Texas Tech University – PAST PRESIDENTS Texas A&M University (Commerce) – ABBOTT IPCO

Amy Moore

Texas Tech University – GANDY INK

Please Support the Future of Choral Directing

Future TCDA Convention Dates:

Give to the TCDA Scholarship Funds

July 23–26, 2015

July 27–30, 2014 July 21–24, 2016

Thank You!

July 20–23, 2017

visit for details and online contributions

July 26–29, 2018 Fall 2013 · Texas Sings!


2013 TCDA Awards Young Director of Distinction This award recognizes outstanding young directors who have achieved significant accomplishments in their careers within their first five years of teaching. This year’s recipients: Ashley Delaney, Kelly Dunn, Jennifer Gallagher, and Matt Green.

Ashley Delaney, Harpool MS

Kelly Dunn, McCullough JH

Jennifer Gallagher, Nolan Ryan JH

Distinguished Choirmaster Award

Not given every year, the Board selects TCDA members with clearly superior choral conducting and musicianship skill, with many years of performance success. This year’s recipients: Betsy Cook Weber and Jerry McCoy.

Matt Green, Hamilton MS

Visit for full listing of award recipients, criteria, and application deadlines. TCDA welcomes recommendations for Young Director of Distinction and Choral Excellence Awards


Texas Sings! · Fall 2013

Betsy Cook Weber, University of Houston

Jerry McCoy, University of North Texas

Choral Excellence Award This award is based on contributions to choral music in Texas for mentoring and inspiring colleagues and students as well as continued advocacy for the future of choral singing. This year’s recipients: Keith Dixon, Nora Henson and Barry Talley.

Keith Dixon, Bay Area Chorus

Nora Henson, Youth Chorus of Greater Dallas

Barry Talley, Deer Park HS

In Memoriam

Imogene White Holmes

Imogene White Holmes, a longtime, beloved Texas Public School music educator, passed away on March 3, 2013, at the age of 85. Imogene was one of forty-six teachers in her family and taught music in seven schools throughout Texas, including Longview, Midland, Atlanta, and Henderson, where she lived for forty years. Over her thirty-four year tenure as a teacher, Imogene’s choirs enjoyed sweepstakes ratings and many of her students advanced to both the State Solo and Ensemble Contest in Austin and the TMEA All-State Choir in San Antonio. Imogene graduated from Baylor University, earning a bachelor’s degree in music with a double major in piano and vocal public school music. Imogene married Bill Holmes on May 1, 1953, and later received her master’s degree in education from Stephen F. Austin State University. Imogene was a member of TMEA and TCDA. She served as pianist, organist, and soloist at local churches; played in the Kilgore Keyboard Orchestra; and sang in the choir at First Baptist Church in Henderson. Imogene taught private piano and voice lessons and was a frequent judge for vocal, choral, and piano contests and festivals. She was former chair of the Henderson Piano Guild and Queen Mother of her Red Hat Society. Imogene’s hobbies included genealogy, computer, reading, walking, traveling, and her children and grandchildren, and she loved Blue Bell ice cream.

Patricia Anne “Patti” French Patricia French, affectionately known as Patti, was taken away from us way too soon, at the age of 55, on March 18, 2013. Patti was a cherished wife, mother, sister, grandmother, and teacher, and is sorely missed by her family, friends, and students. From 2002 until her death, Patti spent her teaching career as choir director at Worley Middle School in Mansfield ISD. Many of her students posted comments about her contributions, most often citing that she was their inspiration and motivation. Remarks about Patti include: “You helped me to become a better singer and to find my confidence”; “You were my favorite teacher ever, and now you are a beautiful angel”; “You were an amazing teacher and a second mom to us. We love you!” Patti was a member of TMEA and TCDA. She leaves a legacy of influencing countless young lives with her devotion, commitment, and enthusiasm for music.

Fall 2013 · Texas Sings!


Where Will Their Lives Take Them? From high school choir to lifelong learning: Making the ideal possible

by Debbie Rohwer You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go . . . — Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!


ur students mean a great deal to us and that is why we spend time and effort making their learning experience the best it can possibly be. It is difficult, though, watching students prepare to graduate, as we wonder where their next paths will take them. Will life treat them well? Will music continue to be an enjoyable part of their lives? Clearly, the array of experiences they had in high school choir produced many possible music-related benefits, including their skills as astute listeners in society, whether on their iPods or as audience members, their ability to provide their future children with a quality musical environment that is supportive of the arts, and, probably most important, their love of music, whether they are singing in the shower or with friends around the campfire. In addition, the students probably benefited in non-musical ways, such as being able to work in groups, and being disciplined and dedicated to achieving goals. While all of these possible life benefits are valuable, it would be ideal if active music making could also continue past high school so that students could have their musical outlet every week instead of just remembering the emotional high that they experienced from being in high school choir. Yet, the majority of students who graduate and enter a career other than music do not participate in a community choir or other musical group. The students’ pathways are challenging because they are busy going to college and then starting a family and earning a living while climbing the corporate ladder. The balance of all of these components is indeed cumbersome. Therefore, it may be useful to look at the ways to ease the transition from school to community ensembles for students. Some students do not have to worry about this transition being bumpy because they have participated in their church choirs for


Texas Sings! · Fall 2013

years, and will continue to do so if college and life allow them to stay in their current communities. Other students may need help even considering the possibilities of how they could participate in music after they leave to go to college and beyond.


Teachers can help students by exposing them to music groups that exist in their own community settings. Whether it is a community choir, a ukulele ensemble, or some other musical group, the important thing is for students to know that music participation doesn’t have to end at graduation. There are community groups for adults that are available to them. High schools can set up concerts where the community group is the opening act, or sing a combined song where the high school choir sings with a senior citizen choir (thereby encouraging intergenerational respect as well) or bring in a bluegrass band to front the choir on a piece. There are many possibilities, all of which let students see adults actively making music, not as a career necessarily, but as an enjoyable activity. This message allows students to entertain the idea that they can have music be a part of their lives without giving up their day jobs. This can be a very important realization for students to make. Teachers can also help students in a pragmatic way by showing them how to access information about music organizations in locales other than in their own neighborhoods. Many community groups have webpages or Facebook pages where they have example recordings that students can listen to. Knowing that groups exist in a given area can also be done by searching in local newspapers. This may seem like it would be an obvious skill, but students may never have looked at a newspaper’s community section to search for concerts on the weekend, and if so, then the idea of looking for an ensemble through a newspaper may not even occur to them when they move to a new town for college or a job. If students move away to college, they may also have access to a variety of ensembles for non-majors at their school. Letting them know of this option may be the deciding point in their choice to register for a choir during their freshman year.


By inviting local community music groups to visit the high school to sing and talk about the group, students can learn about availability of community groups, while also learning about the feasibility of participating in such groups. If the choirs sing for each other, then the students can get an aural feel for whether they would be comfortable singing in the ensemble themselves. Then, the students and community members can discuss the similarities and differences between community ensembles and school ensembles. Addressing basic information such as where the groups meet, how long rehearsals last, and how to audition can get students thinking about the practical aspects of music participation outside of the school walls. Balancing a work schedule, a family, and participation in a community group can be a great challenge for young professionals, so discussing rehearsal and performance scheduling issues with group members may help students hear about the various ways the balance can be managed.


By partnering with local community music ensembles, choir directors may also be easing student concerns about approaching community groups like the ones they’ve been exposed to. It is hard enough going to college or a new job, but if everything in life is new, it can be overwhelming. By dress-rehearsing how it might be to participate in a group in the community, directors may be opening the door to possibilities for students. It may also be important to discuss the variety of musical skill levels found in community groups. Texas high school choral groups tend to perform at an extremely high level, and if students aren’t familiar with the spread of groups in the community, from amateur to professional, they might be surprised that every group in the community doesn’t sound the same as their high school group.


By bringing in groups and discussing pragmatics for the students’ futures, high school teachers can go far in helping students see the big picture of how music participation can be a part of their lives. An additional component that can have a strong impact on students is modeling. If they see people they love and respect participating in music experiences in their adult lives, that can reinforce the viability of the activity. Actions often speak louder than words. By letting students see their choir director singing in a group, they may be more likely to envision themselves in the same kind of music making setting. The challenge, of course, is that choir directors make music all day, and so taking the time and effort to make more music outside of the school day can appear daunting. If possible, though, the modeling of being a community musician can be profound for students in seeing the possibilities for their own futures. Perhaps the easiest first step for high school programs that want to encourage a lifelong music learning mindset would be to have an intergenerational concert where parents and grandparents are invited to sing next to their child or grandchild. This simple activity can open the eyes of students to the idea that choir is not just for kids. The enjoyment of music can be lifelong. The more that teachers can consider students’ life possibilities after graduation and help them plan for the various options, the greater the chance that when they walk out the door they will do so with all the resources they need to make their futures successful, enjoyable, and musical. Or, as Dr. Seuss said: You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So . . . get on your way! Debbie Rohwer is Chair and Professor of Music Education at the University of North Texas

Fall 2013 · Texas Sings!


Join or Renew Your TCDA Mem CAMARADERIE Our first-night Soiree is a huge party to meet new and old friends

ENERGY Inspiration, Renewal, Rejuvenation, and Lots of Fun in San Antonio! New music and valuable information to take back to your classroom Professional choirs and performing groups

Membership Year is January 1, 2014 thru December 31, 2014 (Membership for 2014 opens December 1, 2013) 512-474-2801

SAVE THE DATE NOW FOR 2014 CONVENTION July 27-30, 2014 Henry B. Gonzalez Center San Antonio, Texas



Choral Notes online newsletter, Texas Sings!, and other benefits An Exhibit Hall with over 650 booths with new music, fundraising opportunities, personal shopping, and more

TRAINING A New Teacher Academy offers valuable tips and information Continuing Education credits through interactive workshops, reading sessions and performances

Sponsorship of students in Honor Choir and High School Day First-time teachers receive a 50% reduction in convention fee

As usual, we received excellent feedback from our convention attendees. While we can’t address all suggestions in this forum, please know the Board reads each and every one of them, discusses them, and considers whether change is needed. We want to improve our convention every year, and hearing from members is important to us. Thanks for your feedback, and I hope our 2013 convention enabled you to start the year with inspiration and new ideas!

Workshops/Reading Sessions • Offer a workshop on choreography, especially for show choirs, and simple ideas for riser choreography; and add a workshop on the basics of theater for those with no experience in preparing a musical. • I think it’s time to let the “reading choir” go and let the conductor direct the whole group. I would love more UIL reading sessions and Tried and Proven sessions; maybe even Tried and Proven UIL titles. Derrick Fox was awesome. Too many of the pieces in Tried and True seem to be standards. Might be good to encourage the use of great pieces that few people know. Tried and Proven ran out of music before the session filled. • Could the Advanced HS/College session contain more titles attainable by 5A Varsity high schools? This year seemed to lean heavily toward college and the percentage of college directors in the state is nominal compared to the number of 5A high school directors. • Worship Service---I was upset that there was not a church choir involved. It implies that (a) church choirs aren’t good enough, (b) church choirs are not an important part of TCDA, or (c) there were no church choirs available. I personally would prefer having several church choirs presenting a variety of their best repertoire over a worship experience. We have denominational events for worship. • TCDA needs more clinics/workshops specifically about singing. Get recognized voice teachers to do workshops on vocal pedagogy, vocal hygiene, etc. • What happened to the Reading Session for Small Church Choirs, SAB, or non-divisi SATB? All we saw this year were biggies. • Would like to see a clinic on conducting with emphasis on stretching, posture, etc. • Elementary/MS Holiday Session is a great idea but bad choices on cuts. It was impossible to get a good feel for at least half of the songs. Most would have been sung in the time it took to talk about the cuts.


Texas Sings! · Fall 2013

by Sharon Lutz • I am very pleased that Reading Session 5 (Adv JH/HS Training) included mostly SAB pieces or 3 part mixed. Consider including more SAB specific pieces in the HS packets. I realize that many publishers of SATB works offer SAB voicings, but including SAB specific works is wonderful for those of us who teach smaller choirs. • Please choose more gender pieces, especially at the MS/JH/HS Training levels. I think we have more SSA/ TBB choirs at those levels in the state than mixed choirs. • Please schedule the last day with less popular and less attended sessions. Many do not need to attend the AllState Session and are teaching summer school. Since moving the convention Sun–Wed, we miss 3 days as opposed to one or two when held Wed–Sat. • Spread out sessions so they don’t overlap. Offer more workshops on Wednesday and Sunday. Response: Great feedback on workshop comments. The Board is charged with putting together the program and the division leaders will carefully review comments respective to their areas of responsibility. Take a look at sessions listed for other divisions, as many are applicable to all choral musicians.

Honor Choir • Fabulous repertoire and great clinician! We need a more difficult audition piece. It needs to be short, but even a cut with a greater range and more difficult intervals would be a better gauge of ability and range. The range of the literature was quite different from audition keys, especially for tenor. Also, maybe a space on the audition form for the director to note the voice part sung by the student in the home choir to more accurately and easily split the divisi sections and TB/ Treble pieces. • My son sang in the Honor Choir. He had a wonderful experience! Thank you, TCDA. After the concert, he asked, “Do you earn a patch for this choir?” I said no and he said, “Well, you should.” I agree. How about earning a patch? Response: Honor Choir was a hit, and Kari Gilbertson received lots of accolades. Lynne Gackle was fabulous. Honor Choir is a program that grows in popularity, and we will continue to improve its efficiency and enjoyment for the schools, the parents, and the participants.

Registration/Badges Etc. • With Convention beginning on Sunday, keep registration open (at least until 7 pm) for those who travel and have church responsibilities. With TCDA, TBA, and TODA together, parking, hotels, eateries are crazy busy. • Please put our school/church/workplace on our badge. The city listed this year on our badge was our home city. Many people’s jobs are not the same as where they live.

but they are easily overcome. We will let you know how the new format affects us financially.

Music Booklets • Great idea to have our music bound into booklets for each reading session. • Individual octavos, please. You can’t file songs by voice part or genre when they are in a book for reference. Or, offer PDF versions for tablets and charge a fee with registration for internet access to download. Or, offer some publisher sponsored sessions and let them send some of the arrangers down to present the music. • The books seem like a good idea. However, I always returned the music I didn’t need. I dread taking these books home on a flight. Response: Comments were uniformly positive that the music booklets were more popular. We will continue to evaluate ways to improve the packets.

General Comments • Did not miss the BBQ. What about a featured performance (like TMEA’s President’s Concert) that is partially sponsored and partially paid by ticket sales? • I loved having the ballots, the CPE form, etc. all in the program. Easy to keep up with. Loved convention schedule book. • Honor Choir notwithstanding, there should NOT be students at our summer convention. We need adult time. • Now that we are combined, please block more hotel rooms.

• TBA/TCDA/TODA need to be on the same page as far as badges go for kids. (TBA Child badge is 17 and under.)

• A slightly earlier start time for the Business Meeting and Honor Choir Concert would make it easier for more members to attend the meeting.

• Great idea to have registration online while standing in line---Go, Technology! Scheduling seemed very good also.

• The business meeting is a beating. I am proud of our many scholarships and awards but reading all the accolades aloud is brutal. Please put them on the website and in the magazine. At the meeting just read the names and present the awards. Many could not stay to hear election results or sing the Seven-Fold.

Response: We had many comments about badges, as well as extending registration hours on Sunday. We agree! We will also work on improving the overall on-site registration process, including providing an itemized receipt.

New Format • Great idea to put TCDA, TODA, and TBA together for musicians, teachers, and exhibitors. The transition to a joint TBA/TODA/TCDA was a smooth one. I liked being here with TBA and all the vendors. Response: We received very positive feedback on the new format, and part of its success was due to keeping a physical separation of all programs. We had a few challenges,

• Longer Soiree, please! • Commuter Lounge was a great idea! Could we add beds? (Just kidding, kind of . . .) Overall, TCDA 2013 was outstanding! THANKS! Response: We have learned that La Villita will not be renovated in time for a 2014 BBQ. The Soiree was great fun, and we will try to extend its hours. We will certainly consider the timing of the business meeting and its program length. Again, lots of great feedback from participants.

Thanks for your great feedback! Fall 2013 · Texas Sings!




Creative Challenges


would like to thank the TCDA membership for allowing me to serve our organization. It is a real honor to work with the Board in guiding TCDA into the future. I want to thank everyone who volunteered this past summer in serving the College and Community Choir Division of TCDA through accompanying, conducting, and presenting interesting sessions. TCDA remains a successful, thriving professional organization because of the willingness of its members to serve selflessly. Creative Programming A couple of years ago in planning the literature for the upcoming school year, I found that I lacked creative motivation after a concert season of what I felt were less inspired and forced concert programs. At the next summer’s convention following my “programming funk,” Craig Hella Johnson addressed creative programming in one of his sessions and Ken Medema presented a session on teaching improvisation. These two sessions were my “ah-hah” moments, and I left San Antonio with the inspiration and the permission to allow creativity to lead my programming decisions. Without claiming to be an authority on programming, let me offer you a few examples of how I achieved more artistic and professionally fulfilling concert programming. A particular concert entitled “Peace” opened with the Eric Whitacre setting of the E. E. Cummings text “hope, faith, life, love.” This piece is slow and ethereal with contemporary harmonies built on cluster chords. The final chord of the piece is a C chord with an added “d” on the word “soul.” The choir held this chord on an “ooo” as three male soloists sang in unison the first line of the Pacificus chant. Between the three phrases of the chant, the choir improvised melodies on the chord choosing a given text from five different “peace themed” biblical sentences. I learned from Ken Medema that, when teaching improvisation, provide the performers parameters within which to improvise. In this example, the parameters were the given pitches and the provided text, and the singers were encouraged to explore the full extent of the melodic range with


Texas Sings! · Fall 2013

complete rhythmic freedom. This technique creates aleatoric polyphony. After the third repetition of this process, to modulate to the next key, one student began chanting on the dissonant pitch of B-flat on the English text from the Pacificus chant, “He shall be called peacemaker, and His throne shall be established forever,” with the choir joining in to create a crescendo in tempo and dynamic culmination in the opening of the Paul Basler Psalm 150 from “The Songs of Faith,” Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise ye the Lord. We also minimally staged this set by placing the choir singing in the audience and processing to the stage after the introduction of the Psalm 150, creating an interesting effect when the choir improvised the polyphony at the beginning of the program.

I encourage you to step outside your old formula for programming and find the freedom and artistic fulfillment that comes with a little creativity and an untraditional look at traditional music. Through the inspiration of the material provided from the octavos, choral improvisation and chance techniques, we created an opening set of music that established the tone and theme for the rest of the concert. Other pieces in this concert consisted of the J. S. Bach motet “Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden,” three a cappella pieces by Philip Glass, and two pieces with texts related to the “peace theme,” “In Pace,” and “Peace Like a River.” The second concert example entitled “Cantate Voz Humana” began with a mash-up of the chant “Cantate Domino” and Paul Fetler’s “Sing Unto God.” (If you have a score to “Sing Unto God” you may find it handy for this discussion.) The choir began on stage, singing the first line of the chant with the men in unison on the melody and the women on a pedal tone at the octave. The first line of the chant was followed by a chamber choir singing mm. 1–8 of Fetler’s “Sing Unto God” from an upstage resonating chamber, the idea being that they were out of sight and removed from the larger

choir. The chamber choir then continued with the “Sing Unto God” mm. 9–17 while the choir sang the second line of the chant with the men at the octave and the women holding the pedal tone of an octave and a fifth. The chamber choir continued the Fetler piece mm. 18–30. At m. 30 the chamber choir improvised on the pitches held at m. 30 while the choir sang the final line of the chant with the men in parallel motion at the octave and fifth, and the women sustaining the octave, fifth, and fourth. The chamber choir then sang mm. 31–36, the reprise of the A theme. When the chamber choir concluded at m. 36 on beat one, the full choir then began at m. 25 on beat two. The full choir then improvised on the pitches held at m. 28 until a cue was given from the conductor for everyone to sing m. 31 to the end. This opening mash-up was followed attacca with William Byrd’s “Sing Joyfully” and then Noel Goemannen’s “Cantate Sing to the Lord.” The remaining concert consisted of Hugo Distler’s “Singet dem

Herrn ein Neues Lied,” John Corigliano’s “Fern Hill,” Samuel Barber’s “Agnus Dei,” and Sydney Guillaume’s “Kalinda.” In the past, I have been reluctant to take programming to this level. After allowing myself permission to put creativity first, I found a new sense of artistry and personal fulfillment in conducting and teaching. I encourage you to step outside your old formula for programming and find the freedom and artistic fulfillment that comes with a little creativity and an untraditional look at traditional music. A Challenge to Our Membership After you have read this edition of Texas Sings! consider passing it on to a colleague not currently a member of TCDA and encourage them to learn about the benefits of TCDA membership. We were all encouraged in this manner at some point in our careers, and I challenge you to pass the value of our organization on to the next generation of great conductors and teachers.

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Call Toll Free: 877-290-6777 or visit us on the web Fax All Requests To: 407-290-9775 Fall 2013 · Texas Sings!


TCDA 2013 Financial Report Texas Choral Directors Association Balance Sheet as of September 30, 2013 ASSETS Current Assets Checking/Savings Bank of America, Checking Petty Cash Total Checking/Savings

Sep 30, 2013

112,357 50 112,407

Other Current Assets Scholarships 161,219 Accounts Receivable, NSF 382 Accts Rec, Magazine 1,235 Awards Paid, Abbott-IPCO 500 Awards Paid, Casey Fund 500 Awards Paid, Cocke Fund 1,000 Awards Paid, Gandy Ink Fund 1,000 Awards Paid, General Sch 500 Awards Paid, Gorham Fund 1,000 Awards Paid, Liz Volk Fund 1,000 Awards Paid, Past Pres Fund 1,000 Awards Paid, Webb Fund 1,000 Lincoln Financial Investments 94,063 Prepaid Exp, Bulk Postage 784 Prepaid Expense, Convention 250 Prepaid Expense, General 1,800 Total Other Current Assets 267,233 Total Current Assets


Fixed Assets Depreciation Reserve Fixed Assets, Electronics Office Furniture/Equipment

-26,174 19,039 11,590

Total Fixed Assets TOTAL ASSETS LIABILITIES & EQUITY Liabilities Current Liabilities Other Current Liabilities Accounts Payable, TBA Academy Accounts Payable, TODA Accts Pay, Scholarship Soc Sec/Medicare, FICA Total Other Current Liabilities Total Current Liabilities Total Liabilities


4,455 384,095

800 926 10,744 2,630 15,100 15,100 15,100

Equity Opening Balance Equity Net Assets, Restricted Net Income Total Equity

141,162 161,219 66,614 368,995



Texas Sings! · Fall 2013

Texas Choral Directors Association Revenue & Expenses thru the 3rd Quarter For Fiscal Year Jan 1-Dec 31, 2013

Jan-Sep 2013 Income Convention Income Honor Choir Income 30,530 Exhibit Rents 100,223 Golf Tournament 2,225 High School Day 6,240 Member Souvenirs 900 Registration Fees 152,185 Showcases 900 Sponsor Fees 5,530 Sustaining Dues 6,896 Total Convention Income 305,629 Operating Income Collection Fees, ACDA Membership Dues Royalties/List Sales Shared Office Income Total Operating Income

9,770 71,845 544 2,400 84,559

Publications Inc Choral Notes Income Magazine Advertising Total Publications Inc

698 10,954 11,652

Total Income


Expense Administrative Exp


Convention Expenses Advertising/Promo 8,196 Audio/Visual 27,293 Auto Expense 440 Child Care 983 Contract Labor 2,006 Decorating 14,026 Facilities Rents 18,858 First Aid 264 Golf Tournament 1,593 Honoraria, Clinicians 1,800 HS Day Expense 871 Meals and Functions 22,801 Miscellaneous 868 On-site computers 12,259 Photography 1,683 Piano and Organ Rentals 2,431 Printing and Supplies 3,217 Security 3,835 Student Assistants 2,013 Travel/Lodging, Clinic 1,662 Total Convention Expenses 127,099 Board of Directors’ Expenses Board Meals Ofc Supplies/Postage Travel, Directors Total Directors’ Expenses

3,351 492 19,130 22,973

Total Honor Choir Expenses


Other Program Exp Commissioned Work Commissioned Work Exp Total Other Program Exp Publications Exp Magazine Postage Magazine Production Printing and Mailing Total Publications Exp Total Technology Expenses Total Expense Net Income

1,250 694 1,944 680 9,904 10,256 20,840 6,935 335,226 66,614


B R O C K W A Y - N I C H O L S

The New Kid


recent Swedish study reported by BBC News—and featured in the July 17, 2013 issue of Choral Notes, affirms what we as choral directors and singers already know: choristers not only harmonize their voices, they also synchronize their heartbeats. Even for an introvert like me, there is something about singing in a choir that is so comforting it allows me to forget my insecurities and risk making a fool out of myself—the ultimate embarrassment. How can we achieve that wonderful unity in our choirs when faced with a wide range of abilities, ambition levels, and social capital? On the first day of school, every student walks into your room feeling like the New Kid. It doesn’t matter if they saunter in carrying an autographed Eric Whitacre lunch box, waving a baton, and brandishing a battered copy of The Robert Shaw Reader. It doesn’t matter that they are a three-year AllStater who’s been to four camps with 270 Days of Sight Reading Success. Think about the freshman boy who was a 4'9" soprano in June and is a 5'6" baritenor in August. Or the senior girl who FINALLY qualified for your top choir . . . but secretly believes that it must have been a computer glitch in the counseling office. All are anxious about what the year holds for them as a singer, a member of the choir, and as a person. Students deserve to know exactly what is expected of them, and exactly how you intend to help them achieve it. Start with overall goals for the choir (it’s great to include these in your handbook), and then break the goals down into manageable, measurable chunks. We often use our scheduled concerts as benchmarks; however, this year at my school we’ve decided to go in a different direction. We’re focusing on keywords that our Officer Council deems important. There are eight words, two for each nine-week grading period. Some are musical concepts; some are “life” concepts. The words appear at the top of our daily lesson plans, on the welcome sign outside the choir room, on the choir website, and on our T-shirts. We’ve designed (or more likely borrowed from smarter colleagues) simple, quick assessments to measure each student’s

progress—and yes, we DO read, grade, and return every one with thoughtful comments. The New Kids also deserve to know that you see them as individuals, and not just cogs in the choir assembly line. A simple way to do this is to establish the routine of greeting your students at the door and looking them in the eye. I call it an “Eye Conversation.” In a split second, I can glean all the information I need to navigate the day’s rehearsal. Some students may be uncomfortable with this process in the beginning, but will quickly discover that, since there is usually very little time for a oneon-one conversation, this is their chance to let me know where they are on the “teenage angst scale” that day. I find that our rapport is established almost immediately when I do this consistently, which is comforting to both of us.

Students deserve to know exactly what is expected of them, and exactly how you intend to help them achieve it. We are now well into the semester and no doubt your choirs are on the road to another incredibly successful and meaningful school year. Perhaps your first concert is complete, and most of your non-varsity boys managed to show up on time and not fall off the risers. I bet they sounded pretty amazing, too! Some of your students are preparing All-State auditions and there is much gnashing of teeth and practice before school, during lunch, and after school. It’s time to get revved up for the musical, or maybe rehearsals are already keeping you at school into the evening. Inevitably the shine of a new school year has faded into the comforting patina of routine. Now is a great time to check in again with the New Kid—all of the New Kids—and remind them that choir is not only about achievement, but also community. It only takes a moment of your time, and the rewards are infinite! After being in their shoes only a few weeks, I am more grateful than ever to the last TCDA Board for continued on p. 20

Fall 2013 · Texas Sings!




Catching Choir


et the 2013–2014 choir games begin! By now you have likely sorted through all of your pregame conundrums—uniforms, voice placements, and forms galore! What is it about games? Our world is addicted to them. From Candy Crush to Sudoku, games can improve motor skills and are even shown to reduce stress and depression! From my room to yours, here is one of my most requested games:

4. If the pigs are cleared completely, the team advances to the next level (harder flash cards, standing farther away to throw, etc).

Angry Bird Sight Reading Items needed (all available on Amazon—​ I purchased my set at Walmart!): • Angry bird plush toy (at least one—ours is red) • Pig plush toys (variety of sizes & kinds) • Boxes (various heights & sizes) • Sight reading flash cards (rhythm or pitch)

Our summer convention is akin to the choral summer Olympics. I would be remiss without thanking Kari Gilbertson and the legacy she leaves on our division and the entire TCDA organization.

Setup: • A table with boxes, and pigs placed on the boxes • Two teams The Game: 1. Each team gets three chances to clear the boxes off the table per round, and then the boxes are reset. 2. When it is someone’s turn, they must read a flash card correctly for a chance to throw the bird at the pigs. 3. For every pig that falls off the table, that team gets a point.

HIGH SCHOOL continued from p. 19 their marvelous work in planning and executing the 2013 convention. Assembling such an amazing array of inspirational presenters is a Herculean endeavor, and one not to be taken for granted. A special debt of gratitude goes to the conductors and accompanists who bring the new music to life, as well as those volunteering their precious convention time to serve on the various committees. While their jobs are not glamorous, they are VITAL. Thank


Texas Sings! · Fall 2013

Variations: 1. Evaluate students on: hand sign recognition, key signatures/finding do, etc. 2. Change size/color of bird thrown (for extra points) 3. Change box set up for more points

Our summer convention is akin to the choral summer Olympics. I myself am addicted to the “pinning” game, and found this quote on Pinterest: “Even when you’ve played the game of your life, it’s the feeling of teamwork that you’ll remember. You’ll forget the plays, the shots, and the scores, but you’ll never forget your teammates.” I wish you a wonderful year full of fun games and team building—and may the odds be ever in your favor!

you to Dr. Mark Rohwer for tireless efforts on behalf of the High School Division—as always, Mark, I am inspired by your vision! No other state convention offers the excellence, variety, and value available to TCDA members. I challenge each and every one of you to invite a colleague to join TCDA and make plans to attend the 2014 Convention. I am honored to be at your service.



What’s in Your Toolbox?


ou made it! You survived the first weeks of school. You balanced establishing the routine of your classroom and getting kids moving and grooving. It is a big task and you conquered . . . WAHOO! We had a FANTASTIC convention in so many ways. Thank you to the energetic and innovative clinicians who were well prepared and knowledgeable. We were able to leave with tools and resources to use immediately. As for me, I have already used some of the songs that we sang at conference with great success. I ordered my “toy box” before TCDA was even over and my boys especially like the punching dragon. The Board is busy planning TCDA 2014, after carefully reviewing the comments and suggestions brought to us by YOU, and I think you will enjoy the improvements to make the convention even better. This is a special year in the Elementary Division, as we will be hosting the Honor Choir. This choir comprises students who have completed grades 4–6. The renowned Dr. Doreen Rao will be our conductor! Dr. Rao is very interested in using her time with the students as a learning laboratory for the teachers as well. This is a convention you do not want to miss. Information for the audition process will be made available after January 1 with entries due in March. You must be a member of TCDA to submit students to audition for the Honor Choir. Renewal and Membership for TCDA will open this

December so mark your calendars! And get your colleagues on board and plan on making TCDA 2014 part of your summer plans.

Teaching is like a construction worker going to a worksite. Teaching is like a construction worker going to a worksite. You approach the project with a toolbox filled with the tools you THINK you will need based on the information that was given to you (your class lists, maybe some SPED or 504 info), and then you begin your work. With some projects (or classes) you have all the right tools with you and everything goes smoothly. For other projects (classes) you have the right tools, but not with you. And for the remaining projects (classes) you do not have ANY of the right tools and you need to go to Home Depot (contact colleagues, rummage through old workshop packets or college resources, or start googling at lightning speed). So, at the end of the work day, the real work begins as you reassess and reevaluate for a new day. The good news is that we are all part of the greater whole. No one needs to be at a worksite on their own. Encourage your coworkers to join you at TCDA this summer and be part of the greatest work crew around!

Fall 2013 · Texas Sings!




Consider the Source


ur 2013 TCDA Convention offered some great moments of camaraderie, inspiration, training, networking, and fun. Next year’s event is already taking shape, with Dan Forrest as our Church Division commissioned composer. You’ll be hearing more about the Festival Chorus that will sing his work in our annual worship service. I hope you’ll not only make your plans to attend the 2014 Convention, but bring some friends along as well!

Speaking of church music . . . Hymns are our oldest repository of congregation worship music. Reflecting the synagogue tradition and the early Christian Church, Paul reminds us in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” In his book Discipling Music Ministry, Twentyfirst Century Directions, Calvin M. Johansson notes that hymns prove to be a serious part of congregational worship and reverence of God. Hymns are a vehicle by which believers proclaim their faith. Our friend Abby remarks in her blog, “most [old hymns] are timeless pieces of Christian history that were written in times of adversity” and that “many of the joyful hymns were written because of the adversity.”1 Of her text in the hymn More Love to Thee, O Christ (1856), Elizabeth Prentiss writes, “Much of my experience of life has cost me a great price, and I wish to use it for strengthening and comforting other souls.” There is a wealth of inspiration expressed by hundreds of poets and theologians, who penned the words to memorable hymns. In a lecture delivered at the First Australian National Ecumenical Hymn Conference, Colin Gibson outlines the role of hymn singing in today’s worship2: • provides a natural vehicle for the primary activity of most worshiping communities; • contributes to a variety of behavior in the act of worship (standing, sitting, kneeling, processing, speaking, listening, prayers, Bible readings); • helps to develop the spirit of unity and solidarity in the singing community through shared and corporate activity; 22

Texas Sings! · Fall 2013

• helps us to remember and internalize far beyond what we see or read or hear; • allows us to address contemporary issues, both religious and non-religious, supplementing the work of the sermon; • expresses the universality of our faith; • provides an outlet for both the rational and emotional capacities of our spiritual nature; • draws us beyond thought and emotion into a deeper contemplation and experience of God.

I am especially drawn to anthems that deliberately incorporate congregational participation. As our radar scans the horizon for fresh anthem possibilities, we might consider the use of hymn arrangements. The choir has an opportunity to sing something that it is musically satisfying, while the congregation engages in something they hear as familiar. I am especially drawn to anthems that deliberately incorporate congregational participation. There are numerous arrangements of great hymns like Nearer, My God, to Thee; Abide With Me; O God, Our Help in Ages Past; Christ, the Lord is Risen Today; and Be Thou My Vision. Consider the possibility of arranging a hymn. Public domain status of either text or music adds 75 years to the death date of the author, so 1938 is the year to reference. Dr. Jack Boyd, Professor Emeritus of Abilene Christian University, has been arranging hymns since 1966. These artistic and singable pieces can be accessed and downloaded for a small fee at Finally, not all the great hymns have been written. Hymn writing is alive and well, and you might be just the person to contribute a 16-measure treasure. Put those part-writing skills to work! If you’re not a poet, don’t force it. Look for a text from someone who is, or pick a nice Psalm. And whatever you do, SING ON! 1. http://littlebirdieblessings.blogspot​.com/2013/01/ scripture-thursday-importance-of-hymns.html 2. hymns.htm



Teach the Love and Obsession


he 2013 TCDA Convention is now a distant memory. It was a wonderful convention thanks to many hard-working people. A big thanks goes to Karen Gonzalez, past Secretary, who orchestrated the TCDA registration area. Much appreciation also goes to the board nominees who manned the desks and packed the registration materials. Jodi Coke and Sarah Cole did a terrific job co-chairing the Hospitality Committee. And a small but mighty army of college students handled computer troubleshooting, ran errands, and hauled equipment during the entire convention. They were awesome. We are still getting accustomed to the new computer registration, but members seem to be adjusting well. With TBA meeting at the same time, the biggest hurdle for members seemed to be finding the TCDA registration area!

Obsession “Between love and thought lies the voice,” is this year’s motto for my choirs. The fact that the larynx is physically located almost halfway between our minds and hearts is a contrivance (since it is also betwixt your nose and naval), but this concept may help us understand why we do what we do, and why students sign up for our choirs. I borrowed the motto’s structure from Calvin Klein’s Obsession advertisement slogan that states, “Between love and madness lies obsession.” (Considering the “madness” in our jobs, perhaps that slogan best parallels our lives as choir directors!) The objective of my slogan is a reminder that the creation of music is a living thing, always changing with every rehearsal and performance. Singers who understand the poet’s words intellectually and have a heart’s connection to the lyrics stand a much better chance of relating to their audiences and becoming lifelong music-makers.

I will be the first to admit that while I was buying and borrowing music for my fall concert, I could not have cared less what any poet had to say. Time was of the essence. I needed a fanfare-type opener, a slow piece that also might provide some good sightreading opportunities and a roof-raising closer. After the selections were made, I found that sticking to some classic music and proven composers that have stood the test of time saved me in the “passion” department. Whew!

The creation of music is a living thing, always changing with every rehearsal and performance. We have many opportunities every day to provide moments of pleasurable and artful music no matter what sheet music our students are holding. While singing a simple scale warm-up with staggered entrances, a few members of your 7th grade choir who may never have sung in three-part harmony could actually have a moment of pure joy! I am already receiving rave reviews from my high school a cappella members after sight-reading on solfège the first few phrases of Dede Duson’s Share Dream. I can only imagine what they will think and feel when they marry Dede’s music to the words of Gwen Frostic: “Share the serenity of a woodland pond and dream of the day when beauty will calm a troubled world.” The American educator and civil rights leader, Mary McLeod Bethune, said, “Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.” Teach dynamics, key signatures and rhythms, but don’t forget the soul, the love . . . the “obsession.”

Fall 2013 · Texas Sings!


TCDA Board at Soiree

Texas Boys Choir at Travis Park United Methodist Church

Honor Choir

High School Day

2013 TCDA From Tone to Text with Lee Gwozdz

Door prize winner


Presidents Reception

Past Presidents luncheon

TCDA business meeting

TCDA registration

Texas Sings! Fall 2013