2017 - 2018 TCDA Board of Directors

April 2018                                             Choral Notes

Volume 42
Spring 2018

In This Issue... 

  1. An Afternoon with Joshua Habermann
  2. How's Your Brain, by Carolyn Cruse, Vice President College/Community
  3. TCDA Award Nominations due April 15
  4. Six Flags/Fiesta Texas reduced admission prices for TCDA members
  5. Introducing the new Resources page for TCDA members
  6. Favorite Tunes from Carolyn

TCDA is pleased to offer an afternoon with Joshua Habermann, Music Director of the Santa Fe Chorale and Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Chorus.  This will provide 4 hours of CPE credit!

Saturday, April 28, 2018    1:00 - 5:00 pm
Lake Highlands HS, 9449 Church Rd., Dallas, TX

Joshua will lead a discussion on programming multicultural music and will include a reading session of music from Asia, Polynesia and the Pacific Rim.  He will also discuss performance practice of Latin American music, with practical tips on how to perform this music with singers of any background.

Registration:  TCDA members - $30 CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

                       Non-members - $40 CLICK HERE TO REGISTER


Thanks to our partner and music vendor JW Pepper, for their sponsorship and support of this event.

 How's Your Brain?, by Carolyn Cruse, Vice President, College/Community

TCDA Awards... Now is the Time!

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.

Self-Care and the Brain...

I recently stumbled upon a TED Talk titled "The brain-changing benefits of exercise," led by Wendy Suzuki. A neuroscientist who specialized in how the brain forms and retains long-term memory, Dr. Suzuki changed her entire research platform when she began experiencing and studying the positive effects that exercise has on the brain. She found that exercise is THE most transformative thing you can do for your brain starting today, for the following three reasons:

  • Exercise provides immediately increased levels of neurotransmitters including dopamine and serotonin, the "good mood" or "happy" hormones.
  • Exercise improves the ability to shift and focus attention.
  • A single workout will improve reaction times in multiple facets of life.

If you are still reading this far, you may be thinking, "what in the world does exercise and brain science have to do with being a Teacher/Conductor/Musician?!" Here is an analogy: Flight attendants share emergency procedures and instruct passengers to "put on your OWN mask first before helping those who need assistance." We are called hundreds of times per day (if not per class period) to help those around us... to be advocates for music and our craft... to be peacemakers in our schools and homes... to be Über/Super-Human. If even small amounts of exercise a few times per week can change our brain chemistry to help us have more energy, focus, and attention, this is one way we can "put on our own mask" before we help those around us. Raise your hand if you could use some mood-boosting hormones this time of the school year! Improved reaction times can help us catch the group of 7th-graders who are off-task or distracting others and can help us improvise lesson plans faster during rehearsals!

Finally, Dr. Suzuki says THE most transformative thing that exercise will do is provide protective effects on your brain to strengthen the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus-the two areas that are most susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia, and normal cognitive decline that happens with aging. My choice of exercise to promote mood-boosting hormones and brain-transforming benefits?? Boxing. It is incredibly therapeutic to hit the heavy bags and our coach's mitts, and to learn the form and combinations. (I'm happy to share more details in person!)

Self-care is important in any profession, but as choral conductor-teachers and musicians, when we give of ourselves nearly 100% of every day, self-care is not a "choice"... it must become a way of life. Positive mantras from the endorphins of exercise such as "I am strong" and "I am inspired" can lead to: "I am able to inspire others" and "I will thrive during these last few weeks of the school year"!



TCDA Award Nominations due April 15

Now accepting nominations for Texas Choral Excellence Award and the Young Director of Distinction.  For more information, go to  https://www.tcda.net/awards


Renew your 2018 TCDA membership

Go to the TCDA membership page to renew your membership.

2018 Convention Registration AND Hotel Reservations are open

Be sure your 2018 membership is current to pre-register and to get hotel reservations made EARLY!  See all the details HERE.

Supporting TCDA

TCDA provides wonderful opportunities for professional development, peer to peer networking, personal growth and development and scholarships for college students and professionals striving to improve their skills and career opportunities.

Fortunately, these opportunities are made possible by our very own members and their generosity.  Please consider giving to this organizaiton to ensure we can continue to give back to you when needed.  There are many ways to give and anything helps!  Please visit our Giving Opportunities page to learn more.  CLICK HERE.


TCDA is now signed up for savings at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio!  Click on the above image and find substantial savings on ticket prices.  This price ($44.99) is valid the whole season, through summer, Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park.

If you'd like to plan a group visit to the park, let us know and we can check on an even deeper discount for your group visit.



TCDA is pleased to offer a RESOURCES page for our members.  Take a look for classroom tips, curriculum and lesson planning information, templates for programs and all sorts of helpful links.  Click on the image above to see this great new resource.


New Tunes for your playlist

The TCDA board would like to share some of their favorites with you periodically.  This month's selection, courtesy of Carolyn Cruse.  Thanks Carolyn!

Our invited choir performing during TCDA Convention this year is mirabai, Sandra Snow, conductor! mirabai's debut album, Ecstatic Songs, was released March 8, 2018-available on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, and for purchase from their website: https://www.singmirabai.org/music/

The album is also available on YouTube: Ecstatic Songs, mirabai (Sandra Snow, conductor)


The TTU Women's Chorale recently performed a concert in the "Choregie" genre... with dramatic staging and movement, lighting, and costumes. Several choirs that have influenced this type of performance art include:


Hamilton Children's Choir from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-Zimfira Poloz, artistic director:https://www.hamiltonchildrenschoir.com/

Video is from their performance at the 12th International Youth Choir Festival-Daejeon, South Korea


Carmina Slovenica from Slovenia-artistic director Karmina ¿ilec: https://www.carmina-slovenica.si/en/

Video is a promo for the ensemble's North American debut concert - "Toxic Psalms," performed in January 2015, Brooklyn, NY.


Xara Choral Theater Ensemble from Halifax, Nova Scocia, Canada-Christina Murray, artistic director:http://www.xara.ca/

Video is a dramatic version of "Here On These Branches," by Sarah Quartel


Lorelei is a professional women's ensemble based in Boston-Beth Willer is founder and artistic director:http://www.loreleiensemble.com/ensemble/

Video is a live performance of "Little Rose," excerpt from Shawn Kirchner's "Rose/Riddle/Rainbow"


And when I just want to sing and/or dance as if no one is watching or listening...

Elaborate Lives, from Aida, Elton John and Tim Rice

Sting's live concert from Tuscany, Italy "All This Time"

What About Us, Pink!


TCDA supports the international copyright laws for music publications and all directors should be aware of these laws regarding permission to use, copy, perform, etc...music that is protected under these laws.  We encourage all directors to be mindful and follow copyright laws.

Be sure to visit our Facebook Page

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 - Tiffany Downey

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