April 2015                              Choral Notes


Volume 8
Spring 2015

In This Issue...                

  1. Convention Registration & Housing Information
  2. Awards & Scholarship application deadlines
  3. On-line voting - 2015 candidates
  4. Do You Grow - by Terry Berrier, Secretary/Treasurer

Important Dates & Deadlines:

  • NOW - 2015 Convention & Hotel Housing Registration is open. Click here for more information
    • Directors Chorus this year, click here to participate
    • High School Student Day - registration is part of your convention registration
  • April 15 - TCDA Awards - nominate an outstanding choral director.  Click here for more information
  • April 24 - Scholarship Applications are due.  Click here for more information
  • April 27 - Honor Choir notifications will go out

Convention Registration & Housing Info

Convention pre-registration is open!  Make sure you register before July 1 to secure the discounted rate.  Learn more on the convention page of our website where you can find specific pricing, downloadable forms, and more.  It's our 60th Anniversary!  Be sure to buy any extra tickets you may want to see Home Free Saturday night.

NOTE | Hotel rooms are going quickly, don't delayClick here to make your hotel reservation online.

Don't forget about High School Student Day!  Featuring Jeremy Spicer, Dr. James Franklin, and Susan LaBarr - this is a fantastic opportunity for all of your high school student choral leaders.  You can sign them up when you complete your convention registration form.  Click here for additional information.


Online Voting - 2015 candidates!

TCDA is introducing on-line voting for all Active members.  According to the TCDA by-laws, all Active members are eligible to cast a vote to elect new board members.  With on-line voting, this is possible, even if you are not able to attend convention.

Log into the TCDA website using your username & password, and make sure you cast your vote before midnight July 1!  Once your vote is submitted you will not be able to change it.  We encourage you to learn more about each of the candidates, read the candidate statements, and cast your vote at the bottom of the page.  Click here to read more and vote!


 Do You Grow by Terry Berrier - Secretary/Treasurer

Just after arriving to school one morning this spring, I walked by a female student whose name I did not know, but who had always been friendly to me.  She was carrying two lush, green plants, so I engaged her with wide eyes and an energetic “Ooo!”  She told me that one was cilantro and the other was basil, and though they looked familiar to me, I could not have identified them.  The plants were being delivered to another teacher who had purchased them through this girl’s fundraiser.  After a little more conversation, she asked me, “Do you grow?”  Well, it could have been the dentist asking if I floss, or my physician asking if I exercise.  The true answer is yes, and no, but I still felt somewhat ashamed.  So I replied that “I do not grow,” and then we completed our morning chat.

That morning, I continued to consider the young lady’s question as it applies to my job as a teacher and choir director.  I could say that “I grow musicians,” or “I grow refined and thoughtful people,” reminding me of Taylor Mali’s speech, “What do teachers make?...they make a difference.”  But as a proud public school teacher who is much closer to the end of her career than the beginning, it is still my duty to keep pushing myself toward being the best teacher I can be.  Am I growing as a teacher and musician?  Am I getting the results I want in the classroom and on the concert stage?  Am I appreciated by my administrators, and do my evaluations reflect that?  Do I grow?

I have always loved music theory, and so the decision to get certified to teach AP Music Theory was an easy one to make.  But the best thing I did for my choir students was to learn how to teach music theory well, thanks in most part to Dr. Blaise Ferrandino and Dr. Terry Eder.  I have been known to encourage my choir director friends to take the summer certification course.  The way the material is presented makes band, choir and orchestra teachers rethink the way they have always taught theory concepts, and to be more creative with strategies in lessons and student assessment.  My freshmen students are very shaky on key signatures, and very hesitant to think for themselves.  I have to take responsibility for that.  Do I grow?

Texas teachers of music ensembles are assessed every year at UIL C&SR Contest.  We are a very trusting bunch of people, as we trust children, ages 12 to 18, to perform on stage what we rehearse in the classroom….both on stage and in the sight-reading room.  They hold our work in their hands!  It’s a scary proposition, but I love the time of year when UIL music is being polished.  They want superior ratings too, so more growth happens in that time than during any other period of the school year.  One of the best things to do for your choirs at that time is to go judge other choirs.  It makes you target the areas of judging criteria that will make your choirs better.  If you are not on the TMAA judging list, then my advice is to take the steps to make that happen.  Also, get someone to come either clinic your choir(s), or simply conduct them while you step back and listen.  Record your choir, and have someone else listen with you to target areas of weakness.  Express an interest in being a section leader for one of the All State choirs.  Studying All State conductors during rehearsals….priceless.  My choirs did not perform as well as they could have this spring.  I especially have found ways for my younger students to love sight-reading as much as I do.  Do I grow?

My principal asked my pop group to sing at the faculty Christmas dinner.  After I got over the fact that I would be working at a faculty celebration, I was truly happy for my kids, and honored to be asked.  As our administrators show appreciation for contest ratings and audience approval, are we getting the same “verbal applause” in our own evaluations?  Are we physically teaching from the “power zone,” and are we using technology?  Are our students engaged in meaningful conversation, and are they making theory connections in the repertoire we are learning?  Do we make it clear to our students what our goals are for the day, the week, and concert period?  If you are not completely happy with your evaluations, try talking with your evaluator.  Express an interest in their opinion.  You both will learn something about each other, and one another’s goals and working styles.  My walk-through evaluations are looking the same, and I want to include more small-group work, and formative assessments.  Do I grow?

As I write this, the Michael Jackson single from his Bad album, Man in the Mirror comes to mind.  The lyricist Siedah Garrett wrote:

            I'm starting with the man in the mirror.
            I'm asking him to change his ways.
            And no message could have been any clearer,
            If you want to make the world a better place
            Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

Do you grow?  Do you help each other grow?  Let’s challenge each other as colleagues to dig deeper and look harder to find ways to make that change for the better, for the kids, and for ourselves.


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TCDA Board of Directors 2014 - 2015
President - Billy Talley, Amarillo ISD
Past President - Jeff Rice, Midway ISD
President Elect - Kari Gilbertson, Richardson ISD
Vice President, HS - Robin Brockway-Nichols, Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD
Vice President, MS/JH - Jennifer Gallagher, Alvin ISD
Vice President, Elem - Michele Hobizal, Katy ISD
Vice President, College/Community - Lynne Gackle, Baylor Univ
Vice President, Church - Josh Taylor, First Presbyterian Dallas
Secretary/Treasurer - Terry Berrier, Wylie ISD

Executive Director - Sharon Lutz
Member Services Coordinator - Hallie Miller

Texas Choral Directors Association
7900 Centre Park Drive, Suite A
Austin, TX  78754
512-474-2801