November 4, 2014                    Choral Notes

Volume 2
Fall 2014

In This Issue...                

  1. Life Support, by Joshua Taylor
  2. An exciting 60th Anniversary Convention

Natural Bridge Caverns is seeking volunteer choirs for Caroling in the Caverns this holiday season.  Both large and small groups are being sought.  Submission of an audition audio file is suggested.  Interested choirs should contact Jo Posey, [email protected], or phone her at 210-651-6101, ext. 1230.

Convention 2015 - TCDA's 60th Anniversary! July 23-26, 2015

Convention pre-reg and housing opens on Feb. 9, 2015

We are delighted to announce Home Free will join us for a special Saturday evening performance!

When country a cappella band Home Free was crowned Season 4 Champions of NBC's The Sing-Off this past December, their victory was by no means the beginnings of a career for the five country stars from Minnesota… rather it was a satisfying culmination of nearly a decade of hard work and commitment to a vocal craft growing in popularity.

Founded by brothers Chris and Adam Rupp during their college years in the early 2000s, Home Free had been perfecting their live show for years prior to The Sing-Off--performing together for crowds in countless State and County Fairs, on college campuses, in front of Fortune 500 companies, and in theaters all across the country. It was their experience on the road that carried them to a Sing-Off victory, swelling their fan base and bringing their homegrown country style into a national spotlight.

Home Free continues to entertain audiences nationwide with their high-energy show peppered with quick-witted humor that meshes Nashville standards with pop hits dipped in country flavor.  They arrive to town on the heals of their debut release on Columbia Records, Crazy Life.

FB: HomeFreeVocalBand
Twitter & Instagram: @HomeFreeGuys
YouTube: HomeFreeVocalBand
Video: Home Free - Home Free – Ring of Fire

 Life Support, by Joshua Taylor, Church Division Vice President

In a recent article published by the Religion News Service, author Cathy Lynn Grossman lays out an argument for why church choirs are dying. In her article, Grossman’s litany of excuses includes everything from a transient population to the economic recession as the root for the church ensemble’s inevitable demise. Grossman does not offer much in the way of hope for the future of choral music. Needless to say, her thesis has drawn a bit of criticism.  Jonathan Aigner, a Baylor alumnus and worship blogger, responded with an article on his blog, Ponder Anew, with his own list of 9 reasons to keep the church choir alive. You can read his list here and I recommend it for those that are concerned about the world of church music and congregational song.

Grossman and Aigner miss one very important point, however. It is not only the church choir that is in decline but also the church itself. According to the Pew Research Center, all mainline Protestant denominations in America are in decline. Lest you think it is only the church- this reality extends to the Kiwanis Club, Rotary, the Masons, and most other civic organizations. Yes, even the Red Hat Society! The author Diana Butler Bass has explored this new reality. Bass contents in her book Christianity After Religion that we are living in a new era. Bass believes that faith (and social involvement) are being transformed by an intense focus on spiritual experience and personal faith. She frames this seismic shift in a question. Where previous eras posed the question “What do I believe?” our post-modern world asks the question “How do I believe?”  It is no longer good enough to define an organization by what they say but rather what they do and how they live out their mission.

So, where is the good news in this cultural shift? What does this mean for Texas choir directors in 2014? We understand the value of choir and the life-changing power of music! We know the individual stories of fellowship and friendship, grief and celebration, and of faith that have been shaped by participation in choir. We know the research of academic success and health benefits. The choir doesn’t need life support. The choir is the life support. We know exactly “how” we believe.  

In these changing times, TCDA has become an even more important organization as we all seek to live out our calling as choral leaders. Our summer convention and the resources throughout the year provide the necessary tools to network, strengthen, and enhance our work as we provide life-changing experiences for our singers. As social organizations and churches are in decline, TCDA’s membership has grown over the past year- a testament to the reality that our organization and its members not only “talk the talk” but also “walk the walk.” We live out what we believe. Informed by our past, we look toward a bright future changing lives through choral music. May it always be so!

Church division 2015 Convention highlights:

Creative Writing 101: A conversation with Texas Composers - featuring Taylor Davis, Kinley Lange, Debra Scroggins

Concert Series: a Win-Win! Developing and Sustaining an Outreach Music Program - featuring Dave Collett, Ralph Stannard

Make our Garden Grow
- featuring Terry Price

Also hear from Chris Crook, Sid Davis and Robyn Hollimon as they share Tried & True for Youth Choirs and Small Church Choirs

Church Service, Our Hope for Years to Come: A Hymn Festival featuring the Cathedral Choir of the Corpus Christi Cathedral

Be sure to visit our Facebook Page

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

Texas Choral Directors Association
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Austin, TX  78754