Central Texas Choral Classic
March 24, 2018
Hope Presbyterian Church – Austin
March 23, 2019
Hope Presbyterian Church – Austin (Tentative)
The Central Texas Choral Classic is a pre-UIL event designed for high school mixed, men’s and women’s varsity choirs. At this non-competitive event, two evaluators write detailed comments about the performance, followed by a 40 minute clinic.
Two selections are performed from the choir’s UIL repertoire during the allotted 20 minute time slot. All three pieces may be performed. In keeping with the educational nature of the event, it is acceptable to perform portions of a longer work, or to perform on solfege or neutral syllables according to each choir’s stage of development in perfecting the repertoire. Each piece may be sung in its entirety at the discretion of the director.
A two person panel will provide detailed, written comments designed to facilitate the continuing preparations for a satisfying and successful UIL experience.
Following the performance, each choir will receive a 40 minute clinic.
Three sets of original scores, two for the evaluators and one for the clinician, are necessary.
A CD recording will be prepared for each performing group.
Concert attire is encouraged but not required.
Performance times are confirmed when the appropriate registration fees and registration forms are received. Clinicians are assigned according to director preferences when possible but will remain in a three-person rotation order throughout the day.
Director of Choral Studies Emeritus
Texas Tech University
Artistic Director, San Antonio Chamber Choir
Professor Emeritus from Texas Tech University, and former choral conductor at Lawrence University, Bjella has distinguished himself as a conductor, clinician, choral pedagogue and choral arranger. He has been honored to have his choirs appear at the 2009 and 2013 National ACDA Conventions, as well as performances at Carnegie Hall, Orchestra Hall, and at TMEA conventions. In addition, Bjella’s graduate conductors also received finalist recognition in conducting competitions at two of the most recent National ACDA Conventions and one was awarded the Julius Herford Dissertation Prize.
It has also been his honor to conduct and present masterclasses throughout the world and over 400 festivals and workshops in 32 states. He is also active in the promotion of creative choral programming and is a contributing writer for the book, The Oxford Handbook of Choral Pedagogy(2017) with his chapter, The Art of Successful Programming: Study, Selection, and Synthesis.
Bjella also served as President of the WCDA (Wisconsin) and was awarded the prestigious Lawrence Excellence in Teaching Award (2007) and the Morris Hayes Lifetime Achievement Award (2013) from WCDA. Most recently, Bjella was the recipient of a 2017 Professing Excellence Award at Texas Tech University. Presently, he is the Artistic Director for the San Antonio Chamber Choir.
Joey M. Martin
Director of Choral Activities
Associate Dean, College of Fine Arts and Communication
Texas State University
San Marcos, Texas
Joey M. Martin is regarded for his diverse musical interests, engaging artistry, and passionate enthusiasm for the choral art. He is professor of music at Texas State University, where he serves as the Associate Dean for the College of Fine Arts & Communication and as Director of Choral Activities teaching graduate courses in choral conducting and choral literature. As a clinician, Dr. Martin is often engaged as a leader in the development of choral tone and as an advocate for student leadership. Choirs under his direction have appeared at the TMEA Convention, the Southwest Division of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the International Kodály Festival, and the National Conference for ACDA. He has toured with Texas State Chorale in Vienna, Budapest, Salzburg, Prague, Bratislava, China and throughout the Garden Route of South Africa.
Dr. Martin has served with Maestro Craig Hella Johnson as the Co-Artistic Director for the Victoria Bach Festival, the Artistic Director of the Alamo City Men’s Chorale, and is currently the Director of Music and Fine Arts at historic First Protestant Church in New Braunfels. He currently serves as the National ACDA Repertoire & Standards Chair for College and University Choirs. In his spare time, he dreams of culinary school.
Betsy Cook Weber
Professor and Director of Choral Studies
University of Houston Moores School of Music
Director, Houston Symphony Chorus
Dr. Betsy Cook Weber is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music and is also active internationally as a conductor, clinician, adjudicator, and lecturer. Weber also serves as Director of the Houston Symphony Chorus. In that role, she prepares choral-orchestral masterworks for some of the world’s greatest conductors. HSC recently concluded performances with the Prague Symphony Orchestra and the Litomysl Festival Orchestra in the Czech Republic.
Choirs under Weber’s direction have been featured at multiple state (TMEA 2002, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2017) and national conventions ACDA 2007 and 2017 and NCCO 2017). Internationally, Weber has led choirs to top prizes at prestigious competitions in Wales, France and Germany.
Weber routinely prepares singers for Houston’s early music orchestras Ars Lyrica and Mercury Houston, as well as preparing singers for touring shows, including Josh Groban, NBC’s Clash of the Choirs, Telemundo’s Latin Grammy’s, Star Wars in Concert, Andreas Bocelli, and Harry Potter.
In 2013, Weber became the 1st woman to receive TCDA’s Texas Choirmaster Award. She is editor of the Betsy Cook Weber choral series with Alliance Music Publishing
Before coming to the University of Houston, Weber taught vocal music, K-12, in the public schools. She holds degrees from the University of North Texas, Westminster Choir College (Princeton, NJ), and the University of Houston.
Retired HS and Collegiate Choral Director
Editor, Carl Fischer & BriLee Music
Denise Eaton is a music educator. She recently resigned after five years at Sam Houston State where she served as the Conductor of the Sam Houston State University Women’s Choir, taught Secondary Choral Methods and coordinated the annual summer choral workshops for the Institute for Educational Development. Prior to SHSU, Denise taught high school choir in Texas for twenty-nine years. Choirs under her direction have performed at four TMEA conventions and 1 SWACDA convention. Chamber choirs under her direction have won the prestigious American Classic Madrigal Festival an unprecedented six times. Denise has been the Choral Editor for Carl Fischer Music Publication, LLC and BriLee Music Company since 2011.
An active clinician and conductor, Mrs. Eaton has conducted over thirty Texas region choirs and regional or All-State choirs in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Tennessee. Known for her innovative teaching styles, Mrs. Eaton has presented over forty workshops in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Oklahoma and Iowa.
Mrs. Eaton is the co-author of four sight reading books: SMART (Sight Reading Made Accessible Readable and Teachable), SMART Minor, published by Alliance Music and InSight Singing, and STEPS (Steps to Enhance Performance/Reading Skills) published by Carl Fischer.
TMEA Past President
Student Teacher Supervisor, Texas Tech University
Retired HS Choir Director
San Antonio, Texas
Jo Scurlock-Dillard received a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Arts in 1975 from Stephen F. Austin State University. She taught Choral Music and Theatre for 35 years before retiring from the classroom.
Jo is a Past President of the Texas Music Educators Association and she also served two years as the Vice President in charge of the Vocal Division. She has served in many Music Advisory Committees, such as: UIL Sightreading Committee, UIL Prescribed Music List Committee, Chair of the SWACDA Repertoire and Standards Committee for Women’s Choirs, Chair of the TCDA Ways and Means Committee and the UIL Music Advisory.
In 2000, Jo was named as the recipient of the Southwestern Bell UIL Sponsor of the Year for her work with students in Choir. She was also named as SFASU’s Music Alumnus of the year. In 2011, she was awarded TCDA’s Choral Excellence Award. Choirs under Jo’s Direction have been chosen to perform for the TMEA, SWACDA and ACDA conventions.
Jo Continues to be active as a Choral conductor, advocate, clinician, and consultant. She supervises student teachers for Texas Tech University, University of Texas and Texas State University.
Director of Choral Studies Emerita
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Brownsville
Canyon Lake, TX
Dianne Brumley is Director of Choral Music Studies and Professor of Music Education, Emerita at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Brownsville. She was appointed in 2003 and was the first person to hold the position of Director of Choral Studies at the University. Brumley was the founding conductor of the University Master Chorale. During her ten-year tenure at UTRGV, the Master Chorale was selected to perform at the 2011 Texas Music Educators Association Convention and toured internationally. Brumley also served for 20 years as the founding Conductor and Artistic Director of the South Texas Chorale and Orchestra.
Brumley is a frequent guest conductor, clinician, motivational speaker and adjudicator throughout Texas and the United States. Currently, she serves as a choral music education consultant. Before her time with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Brumley was a successful choral music educator in public schools. Choirs under her direction were selected for honor performances at Texas Music Educators Association conventions, American Choral Directors Association regional and national conventions and a featured performance at the Texas Choral Directors Association convention.
Active in Texas choral music endeavors for many years, in 2011 Brumley was honored to receive the Texas Choral Excellence Award from the Texas Choral Directors Association.
Professor of Music
Director of Choral Studies
University of North Texas
Allen Hightower is the Director of Choral Studies at the University of North Texas. At UNT, Allen serves as conductor of the A Cappella Choir and the Grand Chorus, and oversees a comprehensive choral program that includes seven choral ensembles. Dr. Hightower leads the master’s and doctoral programs in choral conducting. Prior to his appointment at UNT, Dr. Hightower was the first holder of the Weston Noble Endowed Chair in Music, at Luther College, where he served as conductor of the renowned Nordic Choir and Artistic Director of Christmas at Luther. As Luther’s Director of Choral Activities, he gave leadership to a choral program that included four conductors, six choirs, and over 530 singers. From 2000-2010, Dr. Hightower served as Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Sam Houston State University. During his tenure, the SHSU Chorale performed for the 2007 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association, the 2010 Southwestern Division of ACDA, and the 2003, 2006, and 2010 conventions of the Texas Music Educators Association. From 1992-1996 he was Director of Choirs at Odessa Permian High School, and led the PHS Kantorei and Chamber Orchestra in performance at the 1996 Texas Music Educators Association convention.
Karen Kenaston -French
Director of Choral Activities
University of Texas Arlington
Karen Kenaston -French is Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Texas Arlington, where she conducts the A Cappella Choir, teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting, and heads the Vocal Area. Under her direction the UTA A Cappella Choir has performed at the Texas Music Educators Association state convention (2014), has made three appearances with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and was named a finalist in the 2014 American Prize for Choral Performance for its CD, “The Road Home.” In February 2015 the choir served as Ensemble-in-Residence for the National Student Conducting Competition at the American Choral Directors Association conference in Salt Lake City, and in March 2016 gave an invited performance at the Southwestern Division Conference of ACDA in Kansas City. Prior to her arrival at UTA, Dr. Kenaston-French served as Director of Choral Activities at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, taught conducting at Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas, and was director of music ministries at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church in Irving, Texas. She holds a B.A. from West Virginia Wesleyan College, M.M. and M.S.M. degrees from Southern Methodist University, and a D.M.A. from the University of North Texas. In 2011 she was a conductor for the Choral/Orchestral Master Class of the Oregon Bach Festival, under Helmut Rilling and Jeffrey Kahane.
$295 – one group
$590 – two groups
$885 – three groups
A $100 non-refundable registration fee per group which will be applied toward the total fees.