2017 - 2018 TCDA Board of Directors

September 2017                                    Choral Notes

Volume 35
Summer 2017

In This Issue...                

  1. Empathy and Compassion, by Carolyn Cruse, College/Community Vice President
  2. Update on Hurricane Relief Efforts
  3. 2017 TCDA Convention CPE forms

 Empathy and Compassion - "Teachable Moments" by Carolyn Cruse,    College/Community Vice President

By the time our membership reads this edition of "Choral Notes," almost three weeks will have passed since winds and ceaseless rain tormented the Gulf Coast for what seemed like an eternity. In Harvey's aftermath, our social media feeds have been overwhelmed with stories of rescue and survival, stories of volunteering and selfless giving, stories of house demos and piles of debris in front yards, stories of humans connecting, caring, comforting, crying. And now, we are amid devastation from Hurricane Irma. During our first weekly Student Teacher Google Hangout of the semester (Aug. 31), we talked about the human disaster as it was still unfolding and the ways in which their cooperating teachers/school administrators were choosing to handle discussing the disaster (or not) in their choral classrooms and schools. This is one of the "things they never teach you in choral methods" - I write this in jest, but it's true. There is no script for helping your students understand the magnitude of the devastation in the Texas Gulf Coast or the Caribbean and Florida/Georgia/South Carolina regions when they live in other areas of the state; no specific words of comfort when helping students cope with knowing several classmates/friends who have lost everything, or with the realization that some of their friends will not return to the same school.

Yet, we have an opportunity (and a responsibility) as teachers, mentors, humans, to teach our students about empathy-to show them what it means to be compassionate and kindhearted amid so much despair. Perhaps the topic comes up because the flooding directly affected a student's family, or maybe the text of one of your Fall Concert selections evokes an outpouring of compassion and/or comfort. I encourage you to talk in your choral and general music classrooms about the natural and human disaster along the TX Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and now in Florida, in addition to other states that are yet to be affected by Irma. Acknowledge the exceptional strength of both those affected and of countless volunteers, and honor the uncertainty of what lies ahead for so many students, families, school buildings, and a few entire school districts. Friends, colleagues, TCDA members from Corpus Christi to Beaumont and beyond, you are living examples of courage, strength, empathy, and compassion. Our hearts and prayers are with you, and we stand by you in the coming weeks, months, and years of restoration.

TCDA High School Student Days in DFW and West Texas-Success!

Many thanks to conductor-teachers in the DFW and West Texas areas who brought students to our TCDA "Satellite" High School Student Days! Attendance included the following: DFW - 301 students from 32 schools; West Texas - 106 students from 11 schools. This was only the second year for the DFW HSSD, and it was the first year for the West Texas Area HSSD. Student officers/leaders enjoyed a leadership workshop with Duane Hill, SASI representative, and attended various break-out sessions and a performance in each location. We are happy to provide this outreach event in both regions! We encourage YOU to consider bringing your officers/leaders from your high school choral program to one of our High School Student Days in 2018.  Locations and dates announced very soon!

Update on Hurricane Relief Efforts

TCDA is working with several other organizations to coordinate efforts in assessing the needs of Texas gulf coast music programs and implementing ways to help those programs.  There will soon be a website with centralized information where those of you that wish to help can make direct contact with those that need the assistance.  Please be patient as we build this website and gather the necessary information to ensure assistance can be directed to the groups that need it.  We will send out a communication to all of you when this website is ready to go.

Thanks so much for all your inquiries and interest in helping our choral and music comrades in this desparate time of need!


2017 CPE Forms

CPE forms for the recent 2017 Convention were sent to convention attendees via email on July 31.  If you were at this year's convention and did not receive a form, please contact us at [email protected] or 512-474-2801.

Thank you all so much for your membership.  This is such a special group of musicians and it is always a pleasure to serve you.


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TCDA Board of Directors 2017 - 2018
President -  Pam Elrod Huffman, Southern Methodist University
Past President - Kari Gilbertson, Richardson ISD
Vice President, HS - Jason Dove, Deer Park ISD
Vice President, MS/JH - Christina Chapman, Lovejoy 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 - Carisa Niemeyer, Richardson ISD

Executive Director - Sharon Lutz
Member Services Coordinator - Hallie Boone

Texas Choral Directors Association
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Austin, TX  78754