February 2015                              Choral Notes

Volume 6
Winter 2015

In This Issue...                

  1. 2015 Honor Choir - Middle School/Junior High
  2. "The Shy Non-Singer" by Michele Hobizal, Vice President Elementary
  3. 2015 Convention Highlight: Elementary Division

Important Dates:

  • February 2nd - Honor Choir Auditions are now open. Click here to get started
  • February 9th - 2015 Convention & Hotel Housing Registration opens. Click here for more information
  • April 24 - Scholarship Applications are due.  Click here for more information
  • April 15 - TCDA Awards - nominate an outstanding choral director.  Click here for more information

Membership Renewal!

The TCDA membership year is January 1 - December 31, so it is time to renew your membership for 2015!  It's easy! Go to our website, www.tcda.net, click "Join TCDA" or the Membership tab on the top of the page, and click on the box for Renew Membership for 2015.  You will need to log in using the username and password for your profile.  You should have received an email with your specific information included.  You can also use the "Forgot Password" link or call our office for assistance if needed.

If you require a paper membership renewal form, those can be found and downloaded on our website on the "Membership" page.

With your login, you can access a membership directory and view the member benefits available to you. Please call our office if you have questions at 512-474-2801 or email us, [email protected] or [email protected]

2015 Honor Choir - Middle School/Junior High

Dr. Andrea Ramsey, Conductor
Associate Director of Choral Activities at the University of Colorado Boulder

Patricia Neighbors, Accompanist

TCDA is pleased to announce the 2015 Middle School/Jr High Choir, under the direction of Andrea Ramsey.  This elite chorus of 180 students is chosen from hundreds of students who audition from around the state who have completed 7th or 8th grade in 2015. Those chosen for this elite choir will be expected to come mentally and musically prepared for rehearsals starting Thursday afternoon, July 23.  The 2.5 musical and fun filled days will conclude in a concert/performance for over 1,000 choral directors at our state convention in beautiful San Antonio. This is a once in a lifetime experience for a middle school/junior high singer!

Audition information can be found on our website here! (The tempo was revised. Be sure you have the score with a half-note = 64). Click here for the complete audition packet.

Auditions are open.  All applications and payment will be due on March 27th.  

 The Shy Non-Singer by Michele Hobizal - VP Elementary

Several years ago I had a beautiful little girl in first grade who was so painfully shy that she did not talk or sing in my music class.  Just leaving her classroom was a stressful situation.  My teaching partner had taught her in Kindergarten so we started comparing notes on how to handle her non-singing. 

I began to concentrate on activities and strategies with all my students on developing their singing voices without creating all the “drama” that can occur when shy students are forced to sing!  I am constantly amazed at the students who tell me they can’t sing when in fact they have beautiful light head voices.  Who is this person who tells people they can’t sing?!!

Here are a few ideas to help develop strong singing voices:

  1. Do not force a shy child to sing – it takes time to slowly draw out that singing voice…be patient.
  2. Lots of group singing so a shy child can blend in and not stand out.
  3. Use manipulatives and puppets to take the focus off of the child and on to the object. 
  • Mr. Potato Head – LOVE using this!  I got this idea from either Denise Gagne or Lynn Kleiner.  The class gets so involved with what Mr. Potato Head will end up looking like that they forget they are solo singing!  Use this link to my Dropbox for all the details.  http://tinyurl.com/kcru99b    (if it doesn’t work…email me!)
  • Lee Gwozdz’s Singing Fundamentals Toy Box has helped all of my singers from little to big!
  • Puppets – My shy singers will actually hide behind the puppet.  You don’t have to spend big bucks on puppets.  Figures on jumbo craft sticks work just as well!
  1. Encourage lots and lots of singing/movement games!  Hunt the Cows, Grizzly Bear and Charlie Over the Ocean are my favorites.
  2. Songs with movement involving partners is a GREAT way to relax the shy singer with his/her friend right there singing along.  Riding in The Buggy, Ha Ha This Away and Paw Paw Patch are perfect examples.
  3. Call and Response songs – Did You Feed My Cow?
  4. Vocal Exploration
  • I use a Hoberman Sphere for high/low sounds.
  • Chenille Stems (giant pipe cleaners) allow students to design their own vocal shapes.  Put students into small groups so each child gets a turn creating a vocal shape for the group to perform.
  • My kids love using the IWB activities from Cherie Herring (cphmusic.net) such as Training a Baby Ghost for vocal exploration.  You can also see her activities on TeachersPayTeachers.com
  1. Canons/Rounds are wonderful tools to create a strong singing voice.  I tell my students to use a strong singing voice (not loud and ugly) so I cannot “mess them up” when I come by singing Part 2.  Weak and wimpy singing voices are no match for a strong voice.
  2. Consider taking an assessment in small chunks.  The shy singer waiting for his/her turn will have a hard time performing a singing passage.  Singing in small groups or even singing into the teacher’s ear is much easier for shy singers.

With all of these ideas, remember to gently push but do not force a shy singer to sing.  Over time you will see remarkable results.  My extremely shy first grader is now a junior high student in choir and has auditioned for the school musical!  I am so proud of her and her desire to work with other shy students to reach their potential.

2015 Convention Highlight: Elementary Division

 Improvise and Explore!  Vocal Development in Early Elementary - featuring Christina Svec

Kristen Bugos will lead a session called Sing, Play, Move, & Create: Listen & Learn with the Masters 

Technology in the Elementary Music Room
: What's in your Tool Kit? - featuring Phyllis Thomas

Cyndie Lowry will show us how to Build a Successful Choir Program through the use of a Summer Choir Camp

Boys and Girls Come Out to Play
- featuring Jennifer Patterson

 So Mi La or Do Re Mi: a Music Learning Sequence for Older Beginners
- featuring Lynette Vincent

Also hear from Deborah Oakes in her session, Singing through the Seasons!


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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