2016 - 2017 TCDA Board of Directors

April 2017                                    Choral Notes

Volume 30
Spring 2017

In This Issue...                

  1. TCDA Awards...Now is the Time!, Carolyn Cruse, College/Community Vice President
  2. Award Nominations & TCDA Scholarships
  3. Sarofim School of Fine Arts - Conductor's Institute
  4. TCDA Treble Directors Chorus
  5. 2017 TCDA Membership Renewal
  6. Make your summer hotel reservations now! And register for convention.

TCDA Awards...Now is the Time! by Carolyn Cruse, College/Community VP


Texas Choral Excellence and TCDA Young Director of Distinction-nominations due April 15!

It's not too late to nominate a choral conductor colleague for one of TCDA's distinctive and highly regarded awards. The Texas Choral Excellence Award is based on the recipient's contributions to choral music in Texas, mentorship and inspiration to colleagues and students, and continued advocacy for the future of choral singing. The TCDA Young Director of Distinction Award recognizes TCDA choral directors who have taught for seven years or less and achieved exceptional success in those years.  Nominations for both awards are made by TCDA members. For additional information, and to complete an online nomination form, visit this page: TCDA Awards

What Matters Most...

Speaking of "Young Directors of Distinction," this is the time of year that the combination of rehearsal schedules, audiation practice, bus requests, eligibility reports, checking and re-checking the PML, clinics, tonal pattern and interval recognition, lessons in concert etiquette, refining musicality choices, more audiation practice, Facebook/Twitter/Instagram (and Snapchat?!) posts with choir uniforms and hardware, and a trip to CiCi's Pizza can mean only one thing: UIL Contest. As a preservice music teacher educator, one of the joys of my "day job" is hearing from former students about their UIL Contest experiences. I usually receive an enthusiastic phone call or text message the afternoon or evening of their first time to take a choir to UIL Contest. Can you remember being THIS excited about UIL?! It is invigorating and endearing to hear young conductor-teachers describe the day's events, including their fears and concerns prior to the Contest Day, followed by their delighted sighs of relief that all went well.

One such message came just this past week from a first-year conductor/teacher, excited to share their UIL Contest success story. Within 15 minutes of the first message, I received another message that was less cheerful. This message came from an experienced teacher, who has had many successful UIL Contest experiences over the years. However, on this particular afternoon, the teacher was incredibly disappointed in the outcome for one of the choirs. It was definitely a first: receiving two messages in a short time span, with polar opposite responses to one of the pinnacles of our choral conducting-teaching profession: UIL Contest Day.

These three little letters, UIL, tend to reign over several months of the spring semester in choral classrooms across Texas, and they have the potential of "making" or "breaking" an entire school year. Why is it that we give these three letters so much power over our conducting-teaching? How can a one-hour (approx..) span of time with adolescent and young women/men singers determine overall success? There are a multitude of positive outcomes that can happen from participating in UIL Contest: higher levels of musicianship, a stronger sense of collaboration, improved listening skills among the singers, and a sense of accomplishment as part of a team, just to name a few. But take notice... none of the positive outcomes listed in the previous sentence include the words "superior" or "excellent." What matters most in this endgame we call UIL Contest:  the actual ratings at the end of the day, OR the process, journey, development, and growth along the way?

When we stop to consider the full day's events of any one choir that participates in concert and sightreading at UIL Contest, and the impact of these events on the conductor-teacher, then multiply this by two, three, and sometimes even four (or more!) choirs from the same school - it's like the close finish of an Olympic swimming race that's down to the hundredth of a second, but that microsecond lasts ALL DAY. At the end of the "race," we receive comment sheets and perhaps a plaque or trophy. We take lots of selfies and group pictures, and we may even celebrate with a trip to CiCi's Pizza. But the rewards of the process are much greater and last longer than the written comments or even the Sweepstakes Award. Embrace the daily rehearsals filled with teachable moments and musical "a-ha's!" Enjoy the vocal development of your singers and their insightful perceptions of the repertoire. Remember that what matters most about this highlight event of our choral year is the journey, not the destination.

TCDA Scholarships

Just a reminder - deadlines for both Award nominations and Scholarship applications are this Saturday, April 15.

TCDA annually awards scholarships to Texas college or university undergraduate music education or church music majors with 60 credit hours and at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 system, and to active TCDA members (three years of continuous active membership required) seeking assistance with higher education (graduate school or certification level workshops).

Visit our website for the online application or to download the application form,




Conducted by Lori Hetzel, University of Kentucky

Important Information:
Registration Deadline: May 15, 2017
Registration Cost: $35/singer (includes music, commemorative certificate, and a fabulous experience!)
Dress: Concert Black
Voice Parts: The chorus will be limited to 160 singers, 40 in each voice part (S1, S2, A1, A2)


Important Dates:
Music sent - early June
Sectional Rehearsals - July 20th 
Rehearsals - July 20th (afternoon), July 21st (morning)
Dress Rehearsal, July 21st (afternoon)
FINAL Performance, Saturday July 22nd, 10:30am

Directors Chorus Information & Registration


Renew your TCDA membership for 2017 now so you don't miss a thing! 

Click here to get started


ConventionPre-Registration and Hotel Reservation links:

2017 Convention Pre-Registration and Housing

Be sure to visit our Facebook Page

TCDA Board of Directors 2016 - 2017
President - Kari Gilbertson, Richardson ISD
Past President - Billy Talley, Amarillo ISD
President-Elect - Pam Elrod Huffman, Southern Methodist University

Vice President, HS - Thomas Rinn, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD
Vice President, MS/JH - Connie Horton, The Woodlands ISD
Vice President, Elem - Debra Johnson, Belton ISD
Vice President, College/Community - Carolyn Cruse, Texas Tech University
Vice President, Church - Dan Baker, First Baptist Church Amarillo
Secretary/Treasurer - Leigh Ann McClure, Keller ISD

Executive Director - Sharon Lutz
Member Services Coordinator - Hallie Boone

Texas Choral Directors Association
7900 Centre Park Drive, Suite A
Austin, TX  78754