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TEXAS SINGS!! VOLUME 27 NUMBER 1
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF TEXAS CHORAL DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION
2010-2011 TCDA OFFICERS
Middle School/Junior High
Greg Shapley Church
NON-PROFIT U.S. Postage Paid Austin, Texas Permit No. 789
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TEXAS SINGS! Volume 27 Number 1 Fall 2010
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Amy Allibon, Fort Worth PAST PRESIDENT
Bob Horton, The Woodlands PRESIDENT ELECT
55th Convention by Amy Allibon
Suggestions and Reflections
Jeff Rice, Waco COLLEGE/COMMUNITY VICE PRESIDENT
Pam Elrod, Dallas HIGH SCHOOL VICE PRESIDENT
by Dan Wood
The Acoustics of Blend
Sharon Paul, Houston MIDDLE SCHOOL/JUNIOR HIGH VICE PRESIDENT
Dianna Jarvis, San Antonio
by Dr Gary L Mabry
ELEMENTARY VICE PRESIDENT
Phyllis King, Killeen
CHURCH VICE PRESIDENT
Greg Shapley, Hurst SECRETARY/TREASURER
Kay Owens, Arlington EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
On the Cover:
Dan L Wood, Austin
The 2010–2011 TCDA Board of Directors
The TCDA Board includes newly elected members Jeff Rice, President Elect; Pam Elrod, College/Community VP; Phyllis King, Elementary Division VP; and Greg Shapley, Church Division VP.
Dan L Wood ART DIRECTOR
James A Black, Coppell PUBLISHER
Continuing in office are Amy Allibon, President; Bob Horton, Past President; Sharon Paul, High School Division VP; Dianna Jarvis, Middle School/Junior High Division VP; and Dan Wood as Executive Director.
Good/Wood Associates PO Box 6472 Austin, Texas 78762
Official Publication of the Texas Choral Directors Association 7900 Centre Park Drive, Suite A Austin, TX 78754 512/474-2801 Copyright 2010 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
TCDA Members On-Line — TexasSings.org The TCDA Member Database is password protected. We hope this is not inconvenient, but rather, serves to protect member privacy. Entry is very simple for members. When you click on “Member Database”, you will be asked for a username and password. Enter tcda and 2009 and you’re in!
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It Takes a Village by TCDA President Amy Allibon
ur time together in San Antonio this past July was truly blessed by greatness from a dedicated TCDA Board and staff, internationally renowned clinicians, Texas’ best conductors and accompanists, and many, many volunteers. In the face of managing the Convention without our executive director, Dan Wood, people rose to the occasion to go above and beyond the call of duty. Jeanne Kuhn Lowenhaupt, TCDA’s executive assistant, worked long days and weekends to make sure all of the membership and registration issues were prepared, managed, and maintained. Jeanne was extremely helpful to me as I navigated uncharted waters of completing Convention plans. Dan’s wife, Marilyn Good, was the definition of calm in the storm as she prepared the Convention Program for TCDA. Her expertise as a former association communication director came as a great asset to us in our time of need. Even while caring for Dan, Marilyn took care of TCDA as well. I must thank Dan Wood, who while convalescing from major surgery, continued to help wrap up final details for the Convention and answer dozens of questions from me each day. I am also grateful for the help of our comrades at TMEA. Kay Vanlandingham, Karen Kneten, and Andrew Denman all contributed to Convention preparations and ultimately, the execution of a very smooth Convention. Kay helped with convention center coordination, Karen served as our fabulous photographer, and Andrew provided tech support in the TCDA office. Robin Tovar from the TBA office managed our exhibitors during the Convention. She graciously remained on-site after her own hectic TBA convention to manage ours. There are not adequate words to express our thanks to these colleagues who selflessly gave us their time and expertise. 4
President Amy Allibon
The TCDA Board consists of elected volunteers who maintain full time jobs as highly respected musicians and leaders of huge music programs. I often wondered where they found the time to do the marvelous things they did for TCDA this year. I could not have asked for a more astute, detail-, and service-oriented group of people than the 2009-2010 Board. My sincerest gratitude to the Board members for all of their work towards the Convention, healthy conversations about policies and philosophies, and kindness and encouragement as we jumped into the deep end of this Convention without our water wings! Past President Bob Horton planned a wonderful High School Student Day, organized the scholarship recipients, helped me through my first year as President, and always saw the humor in whatever we were facing. Thomas Coker’s tenure as the Church Division Vice President will always be remembered for the vision and tenacity in getting John Rutter to Texas again. Thirty years after For the Beauty of the Earth, we now have Mr Rutter’s With Heart and Hands and Voice written for TCDA. Elementary Vice President Karen Gonzalez was not only an amazing Honor Choir coordinator, but planned TEXAS√SINGS!
two years of Conventions that set a high standard for what the elementary division will expect from their Conventions in the future. Sharon Paul hit a homerun with her workshop planning as well, evidenced by the positive comments in our Suggestion Box. Dianna Jarvis had the wise insight to bring Lynn Gackle to TCDA, among other wonderful clinicians that the MS/JH Division raved about. College/Community Vice President John Silantien, who managed no less than 30 college student conductors and volunteers, was also instrumental in the ceremonies and induction of Cloys Webb into the Lest We Forget exhibit. He also arranged two wonderful performances this past Convention of the fabulous San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble and the talented Texas Voices, Alan Dyer, conductor. Kay Owens filled her role as Secretary/Treasurer with a charm and ease that only Kay brings to the mix of things. Kay’s ‘Deep Southern’ roots and drawl often have a calming effect in a harried situation like registration. The tireless efforts of the Board to read through 2,000 octavos to choose the best 200-plus pieces for the reading packets is something they do behind the scenes from October through May. Board members pore over thousands of octavos looking for the gems for the Convention. Their integrity in reading each and every piece was evidenced this year as I heard numerous and frequent comments from members who were finding good music to purchase for their choirs. Hearing comments like that makes the hours of reading and filing worth it.
am indebted to several who served as committee chairs this year: Billy Talley, Ballot Committee Chair; Mary Jane Phillips, Ways and Means Committee Chair; Danny Detrick, Nominating Committee Chair; Michael O’Hern, Scholarship Chair; and Thomas Rinn, Fall 2010
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Hospitality Chair. To these chairs and their committees, I thank you for your service. I also owe a huge debt of thanks to David Landgrebe who volunteered throughout the Convention to move chairs, music stands, and anything else that needed moving. I am grateful for all of his service and all those who helped him. Nelson Romo was our official “technology geek” this year, and proved helpful time and time again when we needed assistance at registration with the computers. TCDA’s Annual Golf Tournament is a staple in the lives of many members. Barry Talley and Stan McGill do a great job of organizing this event, garnering corporate sponsors, and raising money for our general scholarship fund. Thanks to them, and to all who play in
this event each year. I am shocked that I am already reflecting on the first year of my presidency in the rear view mirror. As I begin my third year of service on the Board, I hope that the changes that have occurred this past year have had a positive impact on the organization. I am proud that the membership has more of a voice in the nomination process for the TCDA Board, for the Young Director of Distinction Award, and for the Choral Excellence Award. I am also proud of the start of High School Student Day and know it will blossom in the years to come. The 250 students who attended this year will most certainly reflect what they learned in their respective choral programs across the state this year.
oday in church, my pastor reminded us in his sermon that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but fear. While we are in tenuous economic times, I look forward to the upcoming year with faith, not fear. Without change, we do not grow. Without growth, we stagnate as an organization. Are your colleagues members of TCDA and attending our fabulous Convention? Make it your mission to find at least one new member for TCDA this year. Surely there is a new teacher to bring into the fold, or even a seasoned veteran who perhaps has missed out on discovering how TCDA can help. Help us grow the ranks of passionate people who strive for excellence and personal growth through the professional development and network TCDA offers. √
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Suggestions and Reflections by Dan L Wood
took me right out of the picture this year. I want to thank the many people who stepped up and kept the machine rolling in my absence. First, my wife Marilyn. Since she is a retired association publications manager, a musician (albeit the instrumental kind), and a past choral director, her help was just incredible and totally necessary. All the TCDA officers,
t’s time again for examining suggestions from the Convention Suggestion Boxes and recommendations from the Ways & Means Committee. After writing this column for about 27 years, it’s tough to be original. And then, there’s the added problem of my missing the TCDA Convention for the first time in 27 years! Emergency aortic dissection surgery just
especially President Amy, took the ball and ran! TMEA’s Kay Vanlandingham and Karen Kneten were a huge help, as was TBA’s Exhibits Manager Robin Tovar who stayed over after TBA and ran the exhibits for me. My kind and able assistant, Jeanne Kuhn, probably threw a tire when she learned that I was down and out starting in late June. What a Fall 2010
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load she had to take on! Of course, she performed like a champ! Thanks, Jeanne. So let’s get started! Lots of good suggestions this year. We really appreciate your input. We take the suggestions very seriously and many inform our decisions about future Conventions. So please, always tell us what’s on your mind, whether it’s a problem you encountered, or a suggestion for a great clinician or other idea for the future. And you don’t have to wait till you see the “Suggestion Box” next year. Call or email us any time you feel inspired! Fall 2010
These questions and suggestions are in no particular order; I’m just picking some of my favorites and some of the most suggested. Okay, and a few that are just interesting. Comment: Nice to have shorter lines at the bars [Soiree]; great to have more bars and tables. Response: First things, first! Comment: Love the Convention! Soiree, BBQ, relaxed atmosphere, friendly people, great workshops — thanks! TEXAS√SINGS!
Comment: Wonderful conference — my first time! Thanks! Really warm friendly people. Response: Well, that pretty much wraps up the column, don’t you think? But I guess your Board wouldn’t let me get by with stopping now; not after they each had to meet the deadline with their columns! So, on we go . . . Comment: Wow! Each year I wonder if the Convention can improve, and somehow it keeps getting better. Awesome job, TCDA Board . . . By the way, how are you going to top John Rutter, 7
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Rollo Dilworth, and Lynn Gackle? Response: Thanks for your kind words, but that challenge — tough! Believe me, your Board is very busy thinking the same thing! We already have some great ideas and a surprise or two. But, that’s for a later column. Comment: Kudos — the service and sessions with Rutter were fantastic! Comment: Worship Service — great! Glad to have many styles of music included in the thoughtful service. Comment: Ticketing the service made the seating at the church much more pleasant. Comment: Get a larger room when 8
we have someone like John Rutter. Travis Park was just too small! Response: Thanks to outgoing Church VP Thomas Coker! There were many more great comments about the service. This was certainly a highlight of the Convention since John Rutter’s new piece was premiered here. About venue size — I’ll bet this never happened to you: sometimes things just don’t work out the way you originally intended. You are definitely correct about room size, but that’s just the way things happened this time. Of course we try always to match the event with the facility, and we’ll continue to do our best. TEXAS√SINGS!
Comment: Need childcare at the church during services. Response: The constant juggling act we do with service vs cost comes into play here. Yes, that would be nice. But, free childcare is available at the Convention Center in rooms 209 and 211 until 30 minutes after every scheduled event. Only requirement is a $10 guest badge for each child. Since we are already paying for this service, we just can’t afford to double up. Your Board and I have some pretty tough times coming up in 2012 when our venue costs go up. We have to be very careful, here. Comment: Really think there should Fall 2010
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be no charge for family member badges. Having the charge is not conducive to family support especially at the summer conventions and limits exposure to the exhibitors. Family members are also likely to be future music educators. Just a few short years ago there wasn’t a charge — our family took our vacation for TBA and TCDA. . . . Comment: Have family badges free. Family badges at TMEA are free. Response: Wow! As much as we do want to be supportive of families, and encourage family vacations to TCDA, we have to be reasonable. By the way, with just a quick look around, I can only find registration forms from as far back as Fall 2010
1987. The guest fee was $5 then and has been until it was increased to $10 last year. And, about comparing us to TMEA, well that’s just not reasonable. A few statistics will help explain it. TCDA is small; TMEA is huge. You can think of getting income from and spreading expenses over almost 2,000 people or 24,000 and understand the difference. We use about 2,200 room-nights in area hotels. They use over 18,000. Although we’re good friends, work very closely together, and share information and ideas, the comparison with TMEA just doesn’t compute. Now, what does your family member receive for $10? Well, admission to the exhibits; admission to TEXAS√SINGS!
workshops and sessions (just can’t pick up music packets); admission to the BBQ for $15 (same as all TCDA members); childcare — free childcare. This expense item costs us about $2,500 each year. I realize every guest doesn’t need childcare, but your $10 fee is helping us make this free service available. I hope this doesn’t sound like an argument. I hope it explains that we need that revenue to continue to make meetings like Convention 2010 a reality! Comment: Coffee and water not out very long in the mornings. Response: Drat! Another service vs cost comment! Coffee/tea service costs 9
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about $800 each morning. We serve from 7:30 - 10:00 am, or until we run out of 12 gallons of coffee and a couple of gallons of hot water for tea. I know that we would have consumers of free coffee for as long as it was available, but we think 10:00 is about right. However, if you can help us get daily sponsors, we can certainly add to the quantity and/or hours. Comment: Give more information about workshops available at Convention ahead of time on the website. It would be nice to be able to know the schedule before we come . . . Response: For future reference go to www.texassings.org; click on “2011 10
Convention”; look in the green box titled “Brochures and Forms; and download the “tentative schedule”. It was there under “2010 Convention” this year. Maybe I’ll put it under “Hot Buttons” next year to make it easier to find. Comment: Let all applicants for scholarships know the results even if they were not selected to receive a scholarship. Response: I’ll check into this, because I thought that was our modus operandi. If it fell through the cracks, we apologize – good comment! Comment: Thank you for the clinic on the adolescent female changing voice. TEXAS√SINGS!
It was very valuable. Comment: My daughter is at the High School Day and she thinks it is amazing! Comment: I loved Kari Gilbertson and all the middle school clinicians . . . Comment: Great high school clinicians. Response: Lots more great comments about workshops. Thank the next TCDA VP you see. They do a whale of a lot of work to make this all happen each year! Comment: Offer a new teacher Q & A luncheon to enable them to rub shoulders with colleagues and experiFall 2010
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enced teachers. Response: Really good suggestion. We’ll look into this possibility! Comment: More workshops on effective rehearsal techniques . . . Comment: Please include sessions focusing on show choirs . . . Comment: We need a workshop on soundboards and equipment. Help! Comment: Need sessions on copyright laws . . . Comment: Include handbell session. Response: OK, I’m passing these and several other ideas to the Board. Comment: Hey, start at 9:00 am — Fall 2010
it’s summer! Response: Although I really do understand about seasons, for you as a teacher, “TCDA Convention time” is really like late August, ie the start of school. No time for lollygagging around thinking it’s still summer! We have lots and lots of workshops, reading sessions, concerts, and special guests to work into an unbelievably crowded schedule. And just look at the suggestions in the comments above — folks want more. No way we’re starting at 9 or 10 and getting all that in! So, set the alarm and come on down. We have some great things planned for you! TEXAS√SINGS!
Comment: Put more on Saturday to keep people at convention . . . Comment: Love being able to shop on Wednesday! Response: Saturday was pretty busy, I thought. There are only 4 hours, 8 am noon. I know that for each division, there may not seem to be lots of options. We do try to fill Saturday morning and make Saturday workshops and sessions general rather than division-specific when we can. It’s just the most amazing jigsaw puzzle you ever saw. Ask any TCDA Past President what the most challenging aspect of their term was — bet they say, “scheduling!” And by “shop” I hope you meant, “shop in the exhibit 11
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hall”, not the RiverCenter Mall! I really believe that the Wednesday exhibit-only hours will become the best exhibit time of the Convention. It’s a great time to wander through, see old friends and meet new ones, pre-shop without rushing, etc. Comment: Awesome Convention, TCDA Board! Every workshop and reading session gave me something to take back! Amy, my hat’s off to you! Response: Amy and the entire Board, so’s mine. I sure I wish I could have been there! √ 12
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TCDA Awards 2010
he 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. New to the award process this year, you, the membership, had an opportunity to nominate candidates. We received many nominations for outstanding young directors, and the choices were difficult. Two directors were selected for recognition. Clorese Porter-Gray Newmann Smith High School Carrollton-Farmers Branch Clorese had just finished her third year of teaching at the time of her nomination. In all of the letters of recommendation, she was lauded for her natural leadership abilities, positive outlook, and excellence as a musician in choral music and the classroom. Her genuine care and personal relationship with her students was also a common theme. The leader of the AP theory program at her school reported that Clorese’s students consistently earn 4’s
Choral Excellence Award
Linda Ice 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. New this year, you, the membership had the opportunity to make the Board aware of individuals that you thought were worthy of this award through nominations and letters of recommendation. This award is bestowed on individuals based on the their contributions to choral music in Texas in mentoring and inspiring colleagues and students as well as continued advocacy for the future of 18
and 5’s on the AP exam. Like many assistant directors, she is charged with teaching all of the non-varsity choirs. Her choirs have never earned below UIL Sweepstakes. Clorese was praised for her ability to balance the needs of the individual student in relation to the needs of the choir. As one letter stated, “This year, when the varsity mixed choir from her school sang for TMEA, you could see the student’s faces light up when she walked onto the stage to conduct her piece. Their grins stretched from ear to ear and you could truly feel a sense of shared pride from conductor to student.” Kyle Zeuch Rivera High School Brownsville Kyle was also in his third year of teaching at the time of his nomination. In those three years he has turned a
struggling choral program of 60 students in a 100 percent low socio-economic school into a thriving program of 140 participants. With the increase in participation has come standing-roomonly concert crowds necessitating a change of venue to the Central Administration Auditorium. In his first year, his students performed in UIL and TMEA events. In only three years, his program has produced seven All-Staters. This year, the Varsity Mixed Choir earned the first mixed choir sweepstakes in the 22-year history of the school. Perhaps the highest remarks of praise came from his co-worker who said, “In our office, we have a quote that says, ‘Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you. Never excuse yourself.’ He lives this quote every day and has instilled the same dedication in our students.” √
choral singing. Past recipients of this prestigious award are Glenda Casey, John Hemmenway, Janet Scarcella, Ron Shirey, Robert Young, Betsy Henderson and Dennis Boyter, Sally Schott, Carroll Barnes, Barbara Perkins, and Loyd Hawthorne. This year’s recipient is Linda Ice. From the letters of recommendation that accompanied the numerous nominations, it is clear that Linda is deeply loved by her former students and colleagues. A veteran teacher of 30 years, Linda taught in Brownwood, Garland, Birdville, and Arlington. As one letter stated, “It warms my heart to think of the countless students in whom she instilled the love of choral music and to think of the many teachers she mentored and influenced over her long and distinguished career.” Another colleague wrote, “When I first began teaching, I was extremely rough. I had no idea how to pick music, what to look
for while putting together a concert program, how to run a choir program . . . . I was on the ground floor of what seemed to be a skyscraper of a problem. I was fortunate to have her special help, even though she was supposed to be my cross-town competition. I had no idea of her resumé – that she’d been a TCDA vice president and that her choir had sung for an ACDA Convention – although she was a choral directing legend, she took the time to befriend me and offer me counsel.” And from a former O’Banion student, Kyle Wade, who is now a minister, “There are few pieces of my present life which do not have her handprint. I think of the way I love my kids, the way I minister to the hurting, lead workshops here at our church, and so much more. I can certainly say without hesitation, no other teacher of mine from elementary through graduate school has meant more to my life.” √
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Texas Choirmaster Award
Milton Pullen TCDA established the Texas Choirmaster Award to honor individuals who are distinguished conductors, musicians, and mentors. Prior recipients of this award are Euell Porter, Frank McKinley, Lloyd Pfautsch, Charles Nelson, Gene Kinney, B R “Bev” Henson, Hugh Sanders, James Moore, Ken Fulton, and Donald Bailey. Milton Pullen was born and reared in Texas, earning his music degrees in voice and conducting from Texas A&M University, Kingsville, and the University of Houston. For 24 years he taught high school choral music, with a majority of those years in the Clear Creek ISD. For six years he was a member of the music faculty at Abilene Christian University serving as an associate professor of music and director of choral activities. His choral groups have performed for three TMEA Conventions, and the 1995 Lest We Forget
Cloys Webb In February 1999, Charles Nelson listened in awe to the TMEA All-State Choir sing Beethoven’s Mass in C. Charles then recalled the first Texas All-State Choir he had heard in Mineral Wells some 50 years earlier. He was inspired to start a list called Lest We Forget, choir directors “who have gone before us who have sown the seeds which produced the bountiful musical and choral harvest which we now enjoy.” Charles reached back in his memories and experiences to the 1930s and ‘40s to select 11 choral pioneers. You can read about them on our web site. Their careers stretch all the way back to Wilfred Bain, who came to teach at North Texas State Teachers College in 1938, when the music department boasted a huge number of 25 music majors. In Lest We Forget, we also Fall 2010
National Convention of ACDA. A former TMEA State Vocal Chairman and Past-President, Milton was awarded the Denius Award of Texas in honor of his excellence in UIL Activities via choral music, an award presented to only 10 teachers a year. In the fall of 1995, he assumed the position of professor of music and director of choirs at Pepperdine University in Malibu CA. In 2006 Pepperdine University awarded him the Howard A White Excellence in Teaching Award. TCDA president Amy Alibon said when introducing Milton at the Annual Business Meeting, “I have taught in Texas for 22 years, and have always sensed the awe that surrounded the name Milton Pullen . . . . Listen to a recording of a Milton Pullen choir, and the bar is raised for what you thought was possible with choral music.” One of Milton’s former students described his experience saying, “He made all the music – whether Palestrina, Brahms, barbershop or gospel – come alive for all of us through this words, his hands, but most of all thought his musicality and his heart. All I ever needed to know about life I learned in Mr Pullen’s choir room.” √ recognize women such as Julia Dean Evans, aunt of singer and sausage maker Jimmy Dean, whose Amarillo HS choir sang for Fred Waring. He told her it was the best high school choir he had ever heard. And Michael Johnstone who played trombone in Lawrence Welk’s band, but was converted to choral music through early experience in one of Wilfred Bain’s early choirs is on the list. There are stories of Llolyd Pfaustsch, who first came to Texas to direct a region choir in the Valley in 1956 through a recommendation from Robert Shaw. Charles remembers Ruth Whitlock Summers teaching a third-grade class in McAllen as “one of the best exhibitions of music teaching I have ever seen.” Other honorees on the list include Al Autrey, Bev Henson, Gene Kenney, Frank McKinley, Euell Porter, and Hugh Sanders. Charles Nelson writes: “All 11 of the teachers I selected were personal friends of mine. Their individual talents were not uniform. Their choirs did not all sound alike. If you read all of the testimonials, you will recognize widely different personality traits. However, the thing they all had in common was an TEXAS√SINGS!
August 27, 2010 Dear TCDA: I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate the tremendous honor that was bestowed by honoring me with the Texas Choirmaster Award. I was truly surprised, humbled, and overcome by the announcement that I was selected to receive this prestigious award. Furthermore, I want to extend my sincere gratitude to the TCDA Board of Directors and to the entire TCDA membership for granting me an award I will cherish throughout the days of my life. I sincerely hope that I can continue to serve and promote the cause of music education for many years to come. Best Regards, Milton
ability to instill the highest musical standards, and a real passion for the choral art.” This year TCDA adds Cloys Webb to the list of honorees. Thanks to Angus MacLeod for helping to assemble biographical materials for Cloys. Cloys accepted his first teaching position in Perryton, in 1955, teaching choral music in grades five through twelve. In 1965 he became choral director for McAllen High School and McAllen’s First Presbyterian Church. He founded and directed the McAllen Boys Choir and was an associate conductor of the Valley Civic Chorus. Webb accepted a position at Texas Christian University as head of the Music Education department and director of its Chapel Choir in 1971, a position he held until 1975. Due to health problems, he decided to return to Perryton in 1975 as Director of Music for Perryton ISD, eventually retiring as choral director there in 1988. Cloys served as President of the Texas Choral Directors Association in 1963 and 1964. He served as Vice President and Vocal Division chairman of the TMEA from 1968 to 1971. He died on March 24, 2007, at his home in Wimberley. √ 19
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The Acoustics of Blend by Dr Gary L Mabry
lend and balance are terms that resonate with every choir director, whether in daily rehearsal or as descriptors listed on the UIL evaluation form. Balance deals with the development of listening skills among ensemble singers and the acute listening skills of the director regarding voice part distribution and voices within each section. The relative population of each section and the relative size of individual voices within sections figures prominently into this component. A consensus of the dynamic intent of the composer is also important. Blend deals essentially with vowel agreement. The first step in creating a uniform ensemble sound is distinguishing between the casual, spoken word and the language of “lyric” diction. After identifying these sounds, the director must monitor the process to ensure that each singer understands and practices acceptable lyric production. Along with this basic understanding come the skillful delivery of diphthongs and the sense of vowel unity as voices navigate syllable to syllable and vowel to vowel. As consonants deal with clarity, vowels yield quality. The quality of any individual voice is determined by the quality of the vowels that are produced by various shapes of the lips, tongue, and pharynx. The more “professional” sounding ensemble – be it school, church, or community is marked by vowels that are more “regal” than “pedestrian”. Comparative research of trained and untrained singers indicates that the former tend to make only minor changes in the vocal tract, while the latter will experience a variety of mouth and pharyngeal configurations, often fairly extraneous, during the singing of a phrase. Blend, therefore, is the degree to
Gary L Mabry is an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Texas at San Antonio where he serves as choral director and voice teacher.
which the various voices in an ensemble are qualitatively synchronized. Vowels and Pitch
The science of vocal acoustics has established the fact that vowels, in and of themselves, yield pitch. When sound is generated in a space, in this case the flexible, tunable resonators of the mouth and pharynx, a frequency is emitted. Certain vowels resonate more efficiently than others in particular frequency ranges. Differences in the male and female vocal tract must also be considered. At this point we could embark upon the discussion of formant frequencies, but that is not where most choir directors “live and move and have their being” day in and day out. The purpose at hand is to translate some of the scientific vocabulary into the everyday practice of choral directors and to examine the modification of vowels as it relates to quality of sound, definition of pitch, and singer comfort. The Female Voice
With treble voices singing in the range of middle C through the top of the treble clef, vowels may be sung with the literal pronunciation of the text. Tweaking top space E and top line F can also improve the complexion of pitch and sound. While certain principles may be used as guidelines, experimentation is advisable. Typically, the opening of the vowel in the female voice, as it ascends through the top half of the treble clef and above, can result in enhanced singer comfort and listener satisfaction. The admonition to “open the mouth” is a good one if it means a taller embouchure. If the singer, however, interprets this to mean wide, the sound can become spread and strident. The oo vowel (as in cool) on a top line F will probably produce a better sound if modified to the more open sound of the vowel in cook. The “long” sound of oh on TEXAS√SINGS!
the same pitch (as in oh) might become more palatable as a “short” or more open sound as in the word law. Dialects must be taken into account, as this vowel should imitate an aristocratic British sound rather than a west Texas version of the “law west of the Pecos.” The oo and oh represent a classification known as lip vowels, because their definition depends on a rounded shape of the embouchure. The tongue vowels ee and ay (understood as a pure vowel, not a diphthong and defined phonetically as [e]) are formed by relatively arched positions of the back of the tongue. The open concept works pretty well on upper E and F with the word he being pronounced more like the vowel in hill and hey modifying to a more open sound of eh as in head. Rising above the clef to G and A, a further click on the vowel spectrum is recommended. Scenario: Sopranos must sing the word Jesus on G above the clef. Solution: Open the ee not only to ih, but further to eh and stir in two tablespoons of uh (schwa) as in the word mud. So the solution could be to substitute a mix of eh/uh for the ee vowel on high G or A. Scenario: Sopranos must sing the word day on A-flat above the clef. Solution: Open the ay to eh, then mix uh; therefore an eh/uh mix (or the dazed groan of an adolescent boy after six hours of video games). The term “mixed” refers to combining a tongue vowel with a lip vowel to create a single vowel. The schwa sound of uh is a familiar friend to both male and female voices in the extreme upper ranges. The high B-flat, B, and C passage is an evolving area moving to the sound of the letter “a” in bat, mat, or cat for all sounds. At the high C and above, all roads lead to this sound in the female voice; and a more horizontal embouchure is expected. Finally, in the reasonably comfortable range of the upper middle treble clef, what some identify as the bridge from middle voice Fall 2010
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to high voice, a subtle “tint” or “shading” of vowels toward the darker side can help create better elevation of the soft palate. In this case an ah vowel might gravitate toward a tint of aw, and all vowels may be generally treated with a slightly rounded embouchure. When treating the eh sound in this region, the slight rounding results in a mixed vowel resembling the sound of the French word for “heart”, coeur. In this recipe use measuring spoons, not cups. A little may go a long way. As female singers must remember the “open” principle while ascending, they must remember the “closing” principle when descending. This not only creates better vowel unity, but also aids in the blending of registers. Simply reshaping the embouchure does not guarantee pleasant and comfortable vowels if the basic concept of a fairly “yawny” pharynx, typified by a comfortably arched soft palate, is not already in place. The palate position lowers slightly for nasal vowels, as in the French word, bien, and arches higher for the lip vowels oh and oo. Closely related to embouchure shape is the literal opening of the mouth, yet another factor in this tunnel of interdependent resonators. Sound vs Feeling
The two methods of judging one’s own sound are the way it “sounds” and the way it “feels”. The first is not as reliable as the second, because we perceive our own sound primarily through bone conduction and the eustachian tubes. We are often surprised at the sound of our own voice on a recording. One’s perception of their own “sound” can be deceptive, but only they know how it “feels”. The Male Voice
The male voice is no stranger to vowel modification—traditionally, it has been referred to as “cover.” As a male voice ascends, the reverse of the female “open up” tactic comes into play. By “covering”, teachers guide male students to a more puckered or rounded embouchure. Use of this term can be problematic if it causes a young singer to manufacture an artificially dark or “throaty” color. Baritones and basses can become enamored with the rumbly depth they hear inside their heads, even though it may lack projection. The use of vowel modification is a more specific, and yes, scientific approach to the upper range (if not the general quality) of the male voice. Functioning an octave below Fall 2010
the female singer, the male vocalist finds that the uh (schwa) sound can be quite helpful in negotiating higher pitches. A primary challenge of young male voices is creating a sound that is not characterized by audible or visible strain. The task is considerable, especially for young tenors. No other voice type functions under as high a breath pressure to produce efficient sounds in the upper voice. Also, some of the muscular machinery doesn’t reach its final stages of development until the late 20s. For the young male singer, the already rounded
Use of vowel modification in a choral ensemble takes at least some of the mystery out of faulty intonation, less than ideal tone quality, and vocal discomfort. With a basic knowledge of vocal acoustics, issues related to ensemble blend can be addressed with more confidence and less guesswork.
lip vowels are easier to produce than the tongue vowels. The puckered oh and oo help create pharyngeal space and can even serve to lighten the registration of the voice. They are perfect vowels for developing falsetto and the blending of chest and falsetto registers. On a high E or F, singing the word amen, the modification to a sound more like uh-muhn may produce a better quality with less tension than a literal rendering of the ah and eh vowels. While ah of the first syllable modifies easily to uh in the upper voice, the puckered eh resembles the vowel sound in the French word fleur. Scenario: A young male singer must sing the word create on an E-natural above middle C. Solution: In the first syllable, pucker the ee vowel, forming ee with the tongue but oo with the lips to form the mixed vowel [y] (the sound of the umlaut vowel in the German word für). In the second syllable, the back of the tongue is slightly elevated to form ay TEXAS√SINGS!
while the lips are shaped for oh. This results in a mixed vowel resembling the German word schön. Directors who have gotten the hang of this rounding of the troublesome tongue vowels frequently speak of using “the umlaut sounds”. Another problematic vowel is the short “a” (cat, bat, hat, that). Regional pronunciation of this vowel in conversation varies considerably. In lyric diction it is assumed that this sound should be tinted toward ah in both male and female voices throughout most of the vocal range. Scenario: A young male singer must sing the word that on a high Fnatural. Solution: Modify the vowel to uh. This was a two-step process of first tinting of the vowel to ah, then modifying the ah in the upper male voice to uh. Care must be taken to produce this vowel with a frontal feeling of resonance so that it doesn’t sound dark, throaty, and swallowed. Vowel Integrity
The question may arise, “Won’t the listener just hear strange words that do not resemble the actual text?” Artfully executed, the listener will understand the text more clearly, as the frequency of the pitch and the vowel are a better match. There is also less interference of vocal stress and strain. Modified vowels will also be understood in the context of the phrase while the quality of the moment is more effectively preserved. In a choral ensemble, the same word may require different modifications in various voice parts. There are moments in an SATB ensemble when the lower three parts will deliver the clarity when the soprano part must deal more with quality while singing a higher pitch. The operative acoustic principle is frequency compatibility of vowels and the pitches to which they are assigned. It is the language of vowel formant frequencies and overtones. Again, the present discussion is an attempt to translate much of this material, which can become quite complex, into less technical and more practical language. Low to High, Loud to Soft
In a public master class at the 2002 national convention of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, wellknown voice pedagogue Richard Miller stated that making vocal adjustments through vowel modification is used essentially for “pitch” and “power”. Significant changes are needed in louder Continued on page 29
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Officer Comments Past President Bob Horton
hope your fall has been great! Mine has been! Although the 55th Annual Convention of the Texas Choral Directors Association is a distant memory, I want to sincerely thank the Board of Directors who worked so diligently to provide an outstanding Convention. When you elected these individuals, you chose leaders who care about quality, act with integrity, and have served TCDA to their fullest capability. It was difficult to say goodbye to our outgoing board members Karen Gonzalez, Elementary VP; Thomas Coker, Church VP; and Dr John Silantien, College/Community VP. The planning has already begun for the 2011 Convention. We are excited to have Jeff Rice as our President Elect. His experience and service to choral music in Texas will be an asset to TCDA for years to come. I am now in my seventh and final year of service on the Board, as I fulfill my second year as Past President. It is truly an honor to serve with people of this caliber, who each have a servant’s heart for TCDA. We live in amazing state! The wealth of experienced choral directors across Texas never ceases to surprise me. Each division of TCDA was given valuable knowledge and insight through 28 workshops and clinics. Thank you to our fantastic clinicians whose depth of knowledge and ability to communicate were so valuable during the clinics and workshops. We read over 235 newly published titles in 13 reading sessions. The vote of confidence that our sustaining member publishers give to our Convention is truly remarkable. We are always grateful that our publishers provide complimentary copies of their newly published titles for our perusal. Lu Marler, and the entire JW Pepper crew, assisted by college students from UTSA, handed out over 22
11,000 packets of music in two and a half days. “Thank you” does not seem to be adequate to express our appreciation. This point in my column seems appropriate to say a word about how the music for our annual convention and new music-reading clinic is selected each year. First, I would like to thank your Board for the many hours they spend reading new music and selecting titles for you to hear at our Convention. As you may or may not know, each Board member receives new music published in the current school year. The music is from the publishers who wish to participate in this process. Starting in September and going until early May, we, the Board, receive over 2,000 pieces of music to read and consider. Each Board member works independently. As we make our selections we list by title, composer, publisher, voicing, and category, and send it by email to be tallied. A compiled list of all the songs we selected and the number of votes each piece received is given to us at our spring planning meeting. Pieces receiving the highest votes are placed in the appropriate reading session. The Board does not discuss their selections until this planning meeting. We then submit a list for each reading session to the publishers, who supply us with the complimentary copies you see in the reading packets. We have compiled data from the past several Conventions to give us a rough estimate as to how many packets to request for each session. We have very accurate records of how many were requested, given out, and left from every session. Because the music is provided by the publishers, we try to be very good stewards of this wonderful resource. Occasionally, we are surprised and run out of packets before a session is complete. Please know that the TCDA Board is responsible for the selection of the music for all the reading sessions except for the All-State session and workshop packets. The newly read material is intended to supplement our program selections and to expose us to the new gems in choral music. Many thanks are due to Dan Wood, our Executive Director, and to Jeanne Kuhn Lowenhaupt, his assistant, for their tireless work on behalf of TCDA. The preparation they do for our Annual TEXAS√SINGS!
Convention and the work they do during the Convention are exemplary. This year, for the first time, we organized and held a High School Student Day. It was a tremendous success for the over 240 students who attended. Many thanks to Dr Tim Lautzenheiser, who shared leadership thoughts and skills with the students. Dinah Menger, Jo Scurlock Dillard, and Joe Weir, along with participation from several of the attendees, shared strategies for becoming an All-State Choir member. Dr Besty Weber, Dr Ken Fulton, and Elisa West shared tips and thoughts about majoring in music in college. Thanks to these well respected clinicians for sharing their time and expertise. As we plan for next summer’s High School Student Day, please feel free to share ideas for workshops to attract even more students. Thanks to the TCDA committees and their chairmen. They play an instrumental role in our Convention organization. I want to add a special word of thanks to past presidents Michael O’Hern and Jan Juneau for their willingness to serve on the scholarship committee. The recipient of the $1000 Past President’s Scholarship was Claire Daniels from the University of Texas. The recipient of the $1000 Cloys Webb Scholarship was Aaron Carter-Cohn from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Receiving the Gandy Ink Scholarship, funded by one of our sustaining members, was Jacklynn Turner from Texas Tech University. This year, the Bill Gorham Memorial Scholarship was presented to Richard Vandertulip of Baylor University. For the first time we presented the Elizabeth Volk Memorial Scholarship. Liz was a longtime choral music educator, author, and dedicated member of TCDA. When she passed away in December of 2009, her family and friends established this scholarship in her memory to honor her contributions to choral music in Texas. The recipient of the inaugural Liz Volk scholarship was Chris Jorns from Texas Tech University. Our final $1000 scholarship was the TCDA General Fund Scholarship presented to Jacklyn Kuklenz of Sam Houston State University. Abbott-IPCO, a long time sustaining member of TCDA, annually funds a $500 scholarship for continuing education. Fall 2010
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Officer Comments Eric Posada was the recipient this year, as he works toward his DMA at Texas Tech University. Our final $500 scholarship was the Jim and Glenda Casey professional development scholarship, named in memory of two past presidents of TCDA. This year’s recipient, Katherine Martin, is an elementary music teacher in the Houston ISD. Our vendors and sustaining members are a vital part of our Convention. Their support keeps our Convention cost at approximately half of the cost of many other choral conventions. It was really neat to see many people register for the Convention, and then walk directly into the exhibit hall. The feedback from vendors and members was positive, and we will continue this pattern for the future. If you know a potential vendor, invite them to come and meet over 2,000 potential customers at our Annual Convention. Also, consider using our TCDA member vendors when you can, as a show of support for their involvement. I hope you are beginning to make plans to come to TCDA in July 2011. Your Board will plan a great Convention with you in mind. We will have a JH/MS Honor Choir conducted by Lynne Gackle who teaches at Baylor University. There will, again, be over 200 new pieces of music to add to your repertoire list. If all these sound good to you, the fellowship opportunities exist from Soiree to BBQ and in every hallway. The workshops and idea sharing with colleagues
President Elect Jeff Rice
ongratulations to TCDA President Amy Allibon and the TCDA Board for another magnificent Convention! The behind-the-scenes work that goes into planning the convention is an exceptional challenge. Sessions with John Rutter, Lynne Gackle, Rollo Dilworth, and others made for a world
always provide renewal and inspiration. When you are reading this, it is long after I typed it! Our articles are due September 1. You will, likely, receive your magazine sometime around November 1. With this in mind, I want to take a few words to talk about the year so far. What’s working? What isn’t? Can you be honest enough with yourself to answer these questions? Do you have a colleague who will be honest with you? One of the quirks of our Convention in the past few years has been the presence of the Dallas Cowboys. My grandmother is a life-long Dallas Cowboys fan, so I sent her pictures of the Cowboys team bus. She started watching them when Tom Landry was the coach. Some of you may remember the year we were at the same time as the Texas High School Coaches association. Have you ever thought of yourself as a coach? Being a tall male, I have often been mistakenly referred to as “coach” by a student in choir, or a parent in the hallway at school. This always made me laugh because my athletic ability is on par with my accompanist skills. Until this summer, I had never really thought of myself as a coach. My outlook changed on that when I read a book by Don Shula and Ken Blanchard called Everybody’s A Coach. That is a pretty bold claim. However, if I may share the five points outlined in the acronym
coach, you may see yourself in a new light, as I did. Conviction-Driven – Live by your values and do not compromise your beliefs. This especially applies to artistic standards. Prize character and ability. Overlearning – Practice until it is perfect – Insist that people master their assignment, and be open to learning personally. Audible-Ready – Know when to change. Although having a plan is essential, being responsive, open, and flexible is essential. Consistency – Respond predictably to performance. Provide positive and negative feedback. Avoid no response. Honesty-Based –Walk your talk. Have integrity, show congruence, be trustworthy and trusting. Have a sense of humor. These are simply some of the main concepts from the book. They can be applied to how we lead our students and ourselves. Please don’t misunderstand: performance and teaching are still the most important aspects of choir. All of the facets of vocal development, ensemble development, and artistic singing are still the primary goals for the choirs we teach. Literacy is the vital skill that can get us to the artistic moments more quickly, and with greater facility for our singers. I wish you the best for the remainder of the fall, and encourage you to do some real, ongoing reflection about your role as a “coach”. You will be glad you did. √
class choral event. Welcome to the world of Texas choral music! Thank you to the TCDA membership for electing me your President Elect. I am honored and humbled by your vote of confidence in me to serve in this capacity. It is a wonderful privilege to be associated with the fine choral directors who have gone before me in this position. The TCDA community is one I have enjoyed for the past 25 years. It is one of many joys in our profession. As I walk through the halls of the convention center during the TCDA Convention I see face after face of people I have known for many years. The connection we share through our profession has been built through years of serving together on judging panels, UIL/TMEA/TCDA committee meetings, choir camps, region
meetings, conventions, clinics, etc. In many cases dear friendships have developed as a result of our professional paths crossing many times throughout the years. We must continue to foster this community aspect of our organization. TCDA is a point of connection for all choral directors in the state to be a part of something larger than themselves. The summer Convention provides a network building opportunity while attending tremendous workshops and reading sessions with our colleagues. Please encourage every choir director you know to become a member of TCDA! Whether they teach/direct at an elementary school, middle school, high school, church, college/university, community choir, or a combination of all of the
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Officer Comments above, they need the support and encouragement TCDA can provide. You need TCDA! Please take a moment to reflect on the mission of TCDA…. The mission of TCDA is to support and foster the success of Texas choral directors and music teachers and to instill a love of music in every Texas school, church, and community singer. All who received this magazine are members of this organization and, as
College/ Community Pam Elrod
Memories and Open Spaces
such, should consider renewing our commitment to this mission. Many of us who have been in this profession more than a few years tend to grow weary of attending meetings, sessions, workshops, etc offered by TCDA and other professional organizations. However, each generation of choral musicians has a responsibility to uphold the ideals, values, and musical standards of those who have gone before us. In addition our contributions should leave our
profession in better standing than when we entered it. I challenge you to renew your enthusiasm for impacting lives through the teaching of choral music. Renew your commitment to this organization of choral musicians that has provided so much for its members over the years. When it comes time to plan your summer of 2011, please put July 27-30 on the calendar first and plan to attend TCDA! TCDA needs you! √
Interest sessions in the College/ Community Division were all outstanding. The Conducting Masterclass, taught by Rick Bjella, Texas Tech University, and Dr Jerry McCoy, University of North Texas, was hugely successful. The large crowd of attendees at such an early hour was a suitable tribute to these two exceptional clinicians. Thanks, too, to Jennifer Franz, for serving as the accompanist for that session. Another early-morning event that drew a great crowd and an enthusiastic response (from one attendee: “I’m glad I got up for this!”) was Dalcroze for Conductors, presented by the talented and morningfriendly David Frego. Convention goers also raved about the session that dealt with orchestral techniques. Thank you, Dr Donald Bailey, Baylor University, and Troy Peters, Youth Orchestras of San Antonio, for such a valuable and
informative workshop. The Convention also featured two performances that explored our own musical heritage. We thank The Texas Voices and artistic director Alan Dyer for a performance honoring the rich legacy of Texas composers. And the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble, led by Christopher Moroney, provided, in the words of one attendee, “a great way to end the Convention”. We’re grateful to Dr Milton Pullen, Pepperdine University, for conducting the Advanced HS/College reading session with Jennifer Franz once again collaborating at the piano, and we congratulate him on becoming the newest recipient of the Texas Choirmaster Award – a welldeserved honor for a true choral legend. The HS Treble/Men Reading Session was led this year by an especially outstanding group of college student conductors: Jesse Cannon, Dallas Baptist University; Heather Blount, UT San Antonio; Christian de la Cruz, Texas State University; Joel Duarte, Wayland Baptist University; Amanda DuPriest, Texas Wesleyan University; Dyandra Edwards, UT Brownsville; Heather Ethridge, Texas Woman’s University; Christopher Jorns, Texas Tech University; Jimmy Garrett, UT San Antonio; Jacklyn Kuklenz, Sam Houston State University; Caitlin Montgomery, University of Houston; Daniel Montgomery, Texas A&M, Commerce; Brandon Nase, University of North
he 2010 TCDA Convention was clearly a resounding success, and the interest sessions, performances, and reading sessions presented by the College/Community Division provided attendees with a wide range of opportunities for growth and exploration. A huge debt of gratitude goes to Dr John Silantien, University of Texas at San Antonio, for treating all of us to such a superb Convention. As you can see from the photograph, John wasted no time in getting rid of the suit, tie, and cell phone. He claims he caught that trophy 42inch striped bass while vacationing at Block Island . . . we all know about fish stories, though. In any case, it’s evident that the stress (and, we hope, rewards) of two years as the Vice President of the College/Community Division was happily and quickly placed in his memory bank. But we thank you, John, for those two wonderful years of service. Dr John and his fish – or is it Photoshopped?! 24
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Officer Comments Texas; Kaylan Sikkel, Southern Methodist University; Nicole Stewart, Stephen F Austin University; Brittany Tucker, Baylor University; and Amaris Walters, Del Mar College. Thanks to Rick Bjella and Dr Jerry McCoy for serving as the conducting coaches for these talented young artists, and to Carl Braden and Sherrie McMahon for accompanying both the coaching sessions and the reading session. The success of the above events – and also events in all other areas of the Convention – would not have been possible without the superhuman efforts of our student helpers. These young musicians worked tirelessly to keep the Convention running smoothly, and we can’t thank them enough: Chrissy Whitford, UT San Antonio; Laura Sharpless, University of Houston; Andrew Specht, UT San Antonio; Adrian Kirtley, UT San Antonio; Josh Brockwell, UT San Antonio; Michelle Capdau, Texas Tech University; Kaitlyn Carty, Texas Woman’s University; and Jacob Lowry, Sam Houston State University. A lasting memory for me, and for all of you, I’m sure, is the beautiful tribute to Cloys Webb as the 2010 Lest We Forget honoree. The powerful message brought to us by his daughter, Kelly Webb Ferebee, reminded all of us that what we do is significant, not only for art’s sake, but also for humanity’s sake.
High School Sharon Paul
t was a delight to see your smiling faces at this summer’s Convention. The energy and spring in your step charged the atmosphere as we began another exciting year of shaping the future, one mind at a time. The TCDA Board worked diligently to make sure the new music sessions, clinics, and concerts provided meaningful ideas for each of you and your choral programs
Which leads me to my next thought . . . As I write this, I’m just finishing the first week of classes. For myriad reasons, the start to this academic year has been particularly busy and stressful. I find myself wondering, “If it’s this stressful now at the beginning of the semester, how am I going to feel in October, when this article appears in print?” The answer is obvious – I’ll still feel like I’m in the middle of a tornado. However, a friend read a poem to me the other day that has helped to put the current anxiety into perspective and I know I’ll come back to these words frequently in the coming months, as the pressures of teaching, performing, and administrating mount. The poem is entitled, Fire. The poet is Judy Brown. What makes a fire burn is space between the logs, a breathing space. Too much of a good thing, too many logs packed in too tight can douse the flames almost as surely as a pail of water. So building fires requires attention to the spaces in between, as much as to the wood.
as you progress through the year. I hope you found many exciting ideas. We owe a debt of gratitude to so many of you for your service at this past Convention. Thanks to Denise Pitcock, Michael Lysinger, Joe Weir, and Gloria Stephens, our reading session conductors, for leading us through our reading packets. Also, many thanks to our exquisite accompanists: Carl Braden, Jennifer Franz, Janet Pummill, and Sherrie McMahon. Your preparation and talent is highly valued. Our clinicians delivered a wealth of knowledge and practical applications useful in our everyday teaching. Thanks to Denise Eaton, Marsha Robinson, Neena Taylor, and Heather Orr, for sharing your exquisite presentations and expertise. Our Tried and Proven clinicians, Mike Ware, Jo ScurlockTEXAS√SINGS!
When we are able to build open spaces in the same way we have learned to pile on logs, then we come to see how it is fuel, and the absence of fuel together, that make fire possible. We only need to lay a log lightly from time to time. A fire grows simply because the space is there, with openings in which the flame that knows just how it wants to burn can find its way. We work hard for our singers. We push ourselves to be the leaders, mentors, educators, artists, partners, parents, children, and nurturers that we desire to be. And often we forget to step back and create a few moments of space, just to breathe. In the busy weeks and months ahead, I hope that you will routinely and resolutely build “open spaces” for yourself, so that you can continue to be the inspirational artists and leaders that you are. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as a TCDA Board member. I look forward to the next two years, and I welcome your thoughts and suggestions for the College/Community Division. √
Dillard, and Shawn Bell presented a wealth of repertoire, practical tips, and recordings. Thanks again to each presenter for demonstrating innovative techniques for the coming year. I would also like to acknowledge John Silantien for organizing the wonderful group of college workers that assisted each of the TCDA divisions. And a big thank you to Luana Marler and our friends at Pepper of Dallas/Fort Worth for underwriting this year’s BBQ entertainment. My school has been under construction this past year, and I am thrilled with the way it looks now. We had to pack up the music library, all equipment, chairs, risers, file cabinets, and trophies last spring. Whew! That was a 25
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Officer Comments job! Cleaning did provide an opportunity to rid the area of a few items gathering dust. Still, when it was finished, it provided a fresh start for a new year, a new look, and a new focus for our students. As the building’s transformation draws to a close, career and college readiness now begins in the lives of our students. I am reminded of the “big picture” and the impact choral music has on the 21st century learner. What are we doing as choral directors to create an understanding with our schools, parents, and community regarding the 21st century skills our music programs provide? We, as choral directors, have been preparing students for the future and providing workforce skills for many years, so perhaps it’s time to market the contribution our programs are making to the future leaders of tomorrow. Communities and schools often recognize the choral students as “good kids.” Let’s take a look at the performance skills, cross curricular knowledge, and work habits that help mold these young minds to become creative and productive citizens. Choral programs have rigor, relevance, and relationship integrated through the many facets of choral performance, UIL competition, and the TMEA audition process. The University Scholastic League Prescribed Music List is based on a tiered scope and sequence of graded repertoire according to school enrollment, level of experience, and the UIL Concert Rubric criteria. It is the synthesis of creativity, evaluation, and
Middle School/ Junior High Dianna Jarvis
t was a pleasure to see so many of you at the 2010 TCDA Convention. There were numerous events such as the workshops, reading sessions, the Elementary Honor Choir, the addition of
higher level thinking skills. And that’s just the concert portion of the contest! As we proceed to UIL sight reading, we implement the criteria previously mentioned plus tactile kinesthetic ability with spatial relationships. Additionally, students must have critical listening skills, the ability to analyze, and the skills of math and language as they apply them to new material. Choral performances and rehearsals are the culmination and collaboration of skills individually and corporately. Choir teaches students to be accountable individually for their own work and work corporately to achieve a finished product. This is a valuable skill that will be used in many facets of the marketplace for anyone working in teams. Choir also teaches perseverance, dedication, and creativity. A business magazine recently quoted a CEO saying he looked for those applicants who have been in band, choir, or athletics because they have the skills to understand their individual contribution to a project as well as their contribution to the project as a whole. Choirs have long been smaller learning communities. We provide counseling for student grades, form long term relationships, and care about the student’s overall well being. We also provide social outlets and extend their world experiences through special events and travel. Here’s a great idea for the future. There are colleagues of mine who have a parent night with a “demonstration concert”. The students perform a choral selection then run through an abbrevi-
ated version of the sight reading process. The students do not practice the sight reading selection ahead of time. This concert style allows the parents to see an overview of the skills acquired in choir and the actual learning process. While presenting curriculum skills, perhaps this idea could be a great marketing tool for parental support. Consider marketing your program through presentation and understanding. I have a wonderful principal, administration, and faculty at my school. They are very supportive and appreciative. After a trip or rehearsal, I have had more than one administrator say they had not seen the “birth of the music being created” or the process of performance before it happens. Personally, I do like to present a finished product, but it is also a positive experience to allow folks to understand the process needed to create a polished performance. There are many ideas for marketing your program and the contribution we make as musicians to the 21st century learner. Do you have some ideas to share? TMEA and MERN offer many tools online for marketing the benefits of our choral programs. Directors, your students love you and your programs. For many of them it is the most enjoyable and refreshing part of their day. Consider ways of allowing your school, parents, and community to experience being a part of the wonderful gifts we share in the classroom everyday. Have a wonderful fall and joyous winter concert! √
the High School Student Day, and the evening church service with John Rutter. Each of these made this year’s Convention unforgettable. On behalf of the TCDA Board, I would like to express my gratitude to those who generously gave of their time and talents to make this Convention successful. The MS/JH workshops offered at the Convention were well attended and well received. Dr Lynne Gackle’s two sessions on understanding the developing voices of adolescent females were incredible. No doubt many of us were able to use the information from these workshops as we listened to our new
singers this fall. Christina Chapman’s session, Middle School Boys – the Eighth Wonder of the World, provided great ideas to improve our effectiveness with the young males in our choirs. Joel Price and Tammy Benton presented this year’s Tried and Proven workshop. They offered many suggestions for choral literature that can be used throughout the school year. I’m sure we will not soon forget Kari Gilbertson’s entertaining yet very insightful workshop entitled, Changing Approaches for a Changing Choral World where we learned how important it is to “shift”. Thank you, presenters, for effectively sharing your
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Officer Comments expertise with us. For those of you who missed any of these outstanding MS/JH workshops, I would like to suggest that you download the handouts from the TCDA website. Additionally, I want to acknowledge those who assisted with the MS/JH reading sessions. Thank you, Jason Brown, for very aptly conducting the MS/JH Tenor-Bass Reading Session. The Advanced JH/HS Training Choir Reading Session was skillfully led by Candy McComb. Thank you also to Michelle Willey for directing a wonderful MS/JH Treble Reading Session. I would be remiss if I didn’t express my appreciation to Katie Johnson, Laura Taylor, Debbie Morton, and Jeanna Baibos for serving as accompanists during the MS/JH reading sessions and workshops. Finally, I would like to thank the vendors who support the TCDA Convention with their presence. Our Convention would not be the same without them. I ask that we all try to return the favor by supporting these vendors throughout the coming school year as we make purchases for our programs. Primun non nocere
I recently reconnected with a former student who is in medical school. While browsing through her Facebook page, I read a quote she posted that referred to one of the fundamental principles all
Elementary Phyllis King
mazing how time flies! Here we are, already in full swing with fall! Hope all is going well with you as you lead classroom students and choirs all across the state!
I would like to start by congratulating Karen Gonzalez for the fantastic leadership she has provided for these past Fall 2010
medical students are taught. The phrase primun non nocere (first do no harm) is used to remind physician and health care providers that they must consider the harm that their intervention could potentially cause. In other words, they are to make sure the cure (remedy) being administered is not worse than the illness they are treating. Like the physician, we, as educators, need to ensure that our words and actions “do no harm” to those we have been given the responsibility to educate. Students depend on their teachers, not only to impart knowledge, but also to provide guidance, encouragement, and a safe environment in which they can learn. Correcting behavior and performance flaws is imperative in our quest to guide our students to be better humans and better musicians. However, the method that we employ when correcting must be carefully selected. As teachers we should continually make decisions that are in the best interest of our students. We should look for opportunity to build the confidence and self esteem of every student, not just the ones who are gifted musicians. We should constantly reassess our motives (intentions) and how those motives (intentions) are carried out. We should guard from becoming so preoccupied with promoting our program that our focus shifts from “What can I do for my students?” to “What can my students do for me?” Additionally, we should
always look for and expect the best from those we lead. At my school’s fall inservice, our teachers were asked to share a memory of something from their experience as a student. Not one of our 79 teachers recounted memories about learning a particular subject or lesson. No one mentioned a cool science experiment, an amazing mathematical formula, or a literary masterpiece. Without exception, each of us recalled memories that centered on meaningful relationships with a teacher. Our stories were about teachers who inspired, challenged, and encouraged students to achieve. The faculty’s responses underscore my awareness that we as educators have an enormous responsibility. Our daily encounters with students not only influence how they perceive us but quite likely how they perceive themselves. Knowing that our words and actions can potentially have positive or negative consequences that last a lifetime should dictate how we interact with students inside and outside of the classroom. Prescribing to the ideology of primun non nocere opens the door for developing teacher/student relationships where all parties are treated with respect and dignity. Through this, we can provide students with the security they need to take risks and face the inevitable mistakes they will make as they work toward developing their skills as musicians. √
two years. Karen always has a bright smile and a kind word for everyone. Her dedication and hard work has been realized in the fact that the elementary division membership has grown during her term. Thank you, Karen! You designed so many wonderful things for the 2010 Convention I hardly know where to begin! Let’s start with, the TCDA Elementary Honor Choir! Conductor/Composer Dr Rollo Dilworth did a magnificent job energizing the students for rehearsals and during the outstanding concert, with the support of accompanist extraordinaire, Robin Brockway-Nichols. The commissioned work, Born in a Symphony by composer Judith Herrington, was such a special addition because the students were able to meet and work with Ms
Herrington on her piece during rehearsal. In addition the choir was able to meet and work with the convention headliner, John Rutter. An all around amazing experience for every student! Karen and I both would like to acknowledge the extra effort of these additional choir support workers: Organizational Assistant Kellan Hickman; Section Leaders Debra BeamMoses, Shelba Gorham-Bell and Cyndie Lowry; Registration Workers Susan Elliott, Elizabeth Smith, Enrique Sandoval (and his daughters); Section Rehearsal Accompanists Terry Berrier, Rae Moses, and Jennifer Franz; and also the College Student Assistants Laura Sharpless and Chrissy Whitford. We can’t forget the support of the numerous teachers, parents, and family members . . . A heartfelt “thank you” from Karen and
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Officer Comments me to all of you for making the Honor Choir such a success! Next, the Session Presenters!
These clinicians provided such a variety of inspiration! Every session was very well attended, and during workshops with added movement, we had standing room only! Thank you so much to these professionals: Ann Burbridge for Singing Immersion; Billy Ferguson for Music through Children’s Literature; Darla Meek for Movement with Masterpieces; Colleen Norton for Singing and Signing; Jan Lancaster and Jodie Johnson for The Best Ideas I Ever Stole; and to Dr Rollo Dilworth for sharing the Choir Builders strategies in his new books. Last but not least, the Unison/SA Reading Session!
Thank you, conductor Diane Owen
Church Greg Shapley
For the First Time, All Over Again
was incredibly lucky. My first college roommate was a great guy. He was an electrical engineering major in his junior year at Arizona State University, but my first impressions of him told me that he wasn’t particularly excited to have a freshman as a roommate. “Hi, I’m Greg”, I said as I offered him my hand. “Dave”, he muttered. “What’s your major?” he asked, looking down on me. (Dave was very, very tall.) “Music”, I proudly announced. “I’m a singer.” Speechless, he stared at me in utter disbelief like I had just landed in the Arizona desert in an alien ship. Finally, he replied, “You can actually MAJOR in that?” I introduced Dave to my recordings — Brahms, Berlioz, Beethoven, Mozart, 28
and accompanist Wendy Jenkins! Were you there in the TMEA general meeting to hear keynote Benjamin Zander this past February? He is the author of the book, The Art of Possibility; Transforming Professional and Personal Life. You might find his YouTube segment from the World Economic Forum in Davos or the clip from TED talk about Classical Music with Shining Eyes interesting. (http://www.dipity.com/timetube/ YouTube_Benjamin_Zander) He says: “This is the moment – this is the most important moment right now . . . It’s about contributing something.” For the relatively short time Dr Zander spoke, his presentation had a powerful impact on me, especially with
the thought to make every day, every challenge, every moment, one that is filled with fascinating possibilities! It reminded me that each moment is the most important “now” there is. While you are well into this school year, it’s never too late to begin to think this way. Choose a challenge for your students: 16-beat memory rhythm, reading a singing pattern on staff, counting the length of breath sizzle. Choose a challenge for yourself: adding a deeper question to your lesson plan, reading an inspirational article, or analyzing a piece of music for form and harmony. I would like to encourage you to meet the challenge of the moment, where you are making a contribution every day! I am very honored and excited to be elected part of the TCDA Board and I gladly accept this challenge . . . Let’s do it together! √
Schubert, Wagner, and many others. He was interested, or at least curious. One day, he asked if he could borrow my recording of The Planets by Gustav Holst and play it for one of his engineering friends. “Sure”, I said. After awhile, they bolted back into the room and his friend said, “Wow! That’s incredible! Do you have any more like that?” Later that semester, I saw Dave and some of his engineering friends at symphonic orchestra concerts. Although their minds were full of complex equations, their ears and hearts were experiencing the majestic power and wonder of great music for the very first time, and they were hungry for more. This TCDA Convention was very much like that for me. I’ve been a musician for most of my professional life, but watching my daughter sing for in her first Elementary Honor Choir, or seeing John Rutter’s expression as he turned to lead the congregation in Now Thank We All Our God was like experiencing music’s power and wonder for the first time, all over again. We who open the minds and unite the hearts of people through God’s glorious gift of music are very lucky people indeed. Thank you for this opportunity to serve TCDA in this role. I count it a tremendous privilege to work on behalf of this organization and to serve alongside such talented colleagues.
Thank you to Thomas Coker who served TCDA as Church Division VicePresident for the past two years. His work has been outstanding, and his leadership has benefited us all. Thank you Dr Michael Hawn, Dr Donald Bailey, and Troy Peters for leading informative and inspiring sessions. Special thanks go to our reading session conductors Tim Lyalls, Lora Robinson, and Lahonda Sharp, and our accompanists Cammy Burkhalter and Wendy Jenkins. For the staff and congregation of Travis Park United Methodist Church, we thank you for your warm hospitality in hosting our worship service. TCDA is grateful to Dr Betty Divine, Scott Mouton, and the Chancel Choir of Foundry United Methodist Church, the Grateful Praise Singers prepared by Dr Gary Mabry, organist Lana Potts and soloists B J Douglas and Shannon Earl for their preparation and participation in the worship service. And finally, John Rutter. Over the years, you have given the world beautiful music for our choirs and congregations to sing and enjoy, and we are grateful. Thank you, Mr Rutter, for giving us the gift of your presence at our Convention, and thank you for reminding us of music’s unique power to unite and uplift the human spirit — for the first time, all over again. √
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Officer Comments Secretary/ Treasurer Kay Owens
Many TCDA members served selflessly to ensure a smooth Convention. Nelson Romo gave of his time and skills with the computers for registration. The 2010 officer candidates gave up several
hours of their Convention to work registration – thank you Vicki Baker, Dianne Brumley, Pam Elrod, Kristen Gossett, Beth Gove, Karen Herrera, Phyllis King, Gregory Pysh, Jeff Rice, Greg Shapley, and Don Shelley. Susan Bartos also helps annually with exhibitor registration — thank you for your time. I would also like to thank Thomas Rinn and his outstanding Hospitality Committee for their wonderful job with the Soiree and TCDA Barbeque! Thanks for all your hard work and for your willingness to serve the TCDA membership at the 2010 Convention. Thank you Jeanne Kuhn Lowenhaupt for your many hours of work to make registration run smoothly and especially this year in the absence of Dan Wood, TCDA Executive Director. Dan and Jeanne always come to San Antonio prepared with everything we need for a successful Convention experience. We could not function without their work behind the scenes throughout the year. Lu Marler and Anthony Carollo from JW Pepper are amazing; they and their team do so much year after year to help make our Convention a success. Thanks for all who made this a wonderful Convention. √
lesson with me, “when you sound to yourself like a tenor, out here you sound like a better baritone”.
use more breath support, sing from your diaphragm (actually, anatomically incorrect)”,
areas of their life and show them you care about them as a person not just a singer. It Starts with Me in Rehearsals – As the director you set the guidelines and expectations with this rehearsal. You state it at the beginning and then plan accordingly to follow through for the rehearsal. It is your job to plan ahead and be prepared for rehearsals. It Starts with Me as a Role Model – As the director you often are a mother and/or father figure to your students. Therefore the life lessons we help them learn are a very important part of our job. So it really does start with me, the director. You have an incredible responsibility as a choral director to make a difference in a student’s life. Remember we teach students through the tool of music, not music using the students. I hope you have had a very successful year thus far. It does start with me, you, all of us as choral directors!
It Starts With Me
his year my school district has adopted the motto, “It Starts with Me”. Well, I must admit when I first heard this I was less than excited. You know how high school teachers can be . . . roll the eyes, sigh, daring anyone to teach us something new . . . you know, like our students. Once I got over being told to have a motto, I began to think about the motto, It starts with Me. So I encourage you to take a few minutes and let’s examine this thought process. It Starts with Me in Relationships – As the director you must include all students. Find something with each student that is special to that student’s life. Ask them about it, compliment students on their achievements in other
The Acoustics of Blend Continued from page 21
dynamic landscapes and in upper vocal ranges. Not much manipulation is needed in soft singing. In the area between these two poles, the goal is to create a delicate shading that suits the situation. The low to middle ranges of both males and females are not so much a matter of modifying vowels as avoiding the tendency to “swallow” and overdarken the sound. Singers of less to moderate training seem to intuitively choose a darker production as they descend. Just as the novice downhill skier must learn that leaning forward is a better way to gain control than timidly leaning back, the singer must come to believe that a brighter sound in the lower voice produces more efficient “ring” and more focused pitch. Basses and altos are frequent offenders. During my graduate study at the University of Colorado, Dr Barbara Doscher remarked in a voice Fall 2010
Vocal Acoustics at Work
A broader knowledge of the way in which an instrument works can significantly enhance the efficacy of an ensemble director. A knowledge of bowing and hand positions and of reeds and alternate fingerings is essential to string and wind conductors. Use of vowel modification in a choral ensemble takes at least some of the mystery out of faulty intonation, less than ideal tone quality, and vocal discomfort. With a basic knowledge of vocal acoustics, issues related to ensemble blend can be addressed with more confidence and less guesswork. To simply instruct singers in matters dealing with quality, comfort, and pitch with terms such as “drop your jaw, open up, in the upper voice just sing ah, TEXAS√SINGS!
may not get the job done as effectively as employing a more objective approach. A piano teacher can offer a student a visual keyboard demonstration. Guitar students can visually observe movement and motion from their instructor. A vocalist plays an instrument they cannot see. The use of imagery, whether in private voice teaching or in the choral ensemble, is and always has been essential. Whenever possible the use of objective principles and terminology can be used to effectively communicate a desired result. Scenario: The sopranos must sing the word Father on a high Anatural. If the only admonition is “open up”, there is the risk of multiple interpretations. Some will widen their mouths; some will extend their jaw to the point of dislocation. A better choice might be, “ladies, please change the ah vowel to uh”. It just might work! √ 29
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Published on Oct 15, 2010