Thanks to you, the Silent Auction was a huge success for TODA scholarships!

August 25, 2017

Volume 1
Summer 2017

In This Issue...
1.  From the President
2.  From the Past President
3.  Convention Survey

4.  Meet your new Board Member

From the President, Christina Bires

Congratulations to Lamar Smith for an amazing 2017 Convention!  Each year our TODA President plans the clinics, works with clinicians and organizes the best orchestra development in Texas.  This past convention had so many wonderful and informative clinics with great clinicians like Dr. Gail Barnes and Dr. Joanne Erwin.  Our reading session conductors did a great job in leading the sessions with great music. Huge thank yous to everyone that picks up an instrument to help the reading sessions be the huge hit that they are.

Many of our own Texas Orchestra Directors share their experiences and wisdom with our membership as clinicians, conductors, presiders as well as serve on various committees.  We are so lucky and thankful for our members' willingness to jump in and help.  In addition to the clinics, Mr. Smith organized reading sessions, New Teacher Academy and TODA High School Student Day!  Thank you to everyone who gave their time to make the convention special and a huge thank you to Lamar Smith for all of his hard work and dedication to the Texas Orchestra Directors Association!!

The TODA Board wishes you a wonderful 2017-2018 school year.  As you began your rehearsals with a new idea from a TODA clinic or program a new piece from a reading session, remember TODA is dedicated to provide support and encouragement to orchestra directors. If you have an idea or would like to present a clinic during the 2018 TODA Convention please let us know by completing the 2018 Clinic Submission form, (CLICK HERE) to enter your clinic or suggestion. 


Thank you again Lamar for such an amazing 2017 Convention!!!

From the Past President, Lamar Smith

Another school year is upon us! If you are in a new position or are returning as a veteran to the same school, the new year always brings fresh ideas and approaches. Consider how you can maintain the positivity you feel now throughout the whole year. One way to do that is to maintain important professional connections like the ones you can make as a TODA member. We love to help each other and show support!

Speaking of TODA members, thank you to all that were involved in making the 2017 Convention a success! It was a record-breaking year for membership and convention registration, and the future looks bright for our organization. Many thanks to those who volunteered as presiders, committee members, and registration helpers. Jason Thibodeaux saved the day by providing percussion for the full orchestra reading session. Melissa Livings and Paul Vanderpool were everyone's favorites in the reading sessions-they made the score projections happen with ease. Pat Leaverton stepped in and made a fantastic presentation to our High School Student Day participants. Jay Lester worked his usual magic coordinating the woodwind, brass, and percussion players for the full orchestra session. Nathan Sharplin and the amazing students from Reagan High School made logistics seamless. Christina Bires and her tireless Silent Auction Committee shattered past records and made a ton of money for our scholarship funds. Danielle Prontka and the Hospitality Committee welcomed our members graciously and made the drawings at the reading sessions fun and exciting. Howard Williams and the music-sorting human machine are incredibly efficient and priceless in the way they take care of all things related to the sheet music used in reading sessions.

Special thanks should be extended to Amy King and Luck's Music. An oversight left their logo and thanks out of the convention program, but the service Luck's provides has streamlined our new music reading session process, and they do everything for no charge. Thanks, Amy and Luck's! You're the best!

Our corporate sponsors are the backbone of the convention. Thank you Williamson Music 1st and Antonio Strad for your sponsorships and for providing the lovely instruments used during our sessions. FJH Music backed our wonderful headliners, Gail Barnes and Joanne Erwin. Lisle Violin and American Classic Tours and Music Festivals round out our Platinum Level sponsors with their outstanding contributions. Many thanks to our Gold Level sponsors: Charms, TMF Travel, Unique Travel and Tours, Tempo Press, Pride of Texas Music Festival, World View Travel, and Alfred Music.

Lastly, thank you to the 2016-2017 Board, Sharon Lutz, and Hallie Boone. It takes extraordinary teamwork to make our convention successful, and you made it happen! TODA members, thank you for your flexibility with new facilities and scheduling. Your positive attitudes made the convention a pleasure. Thank you for attending!

2017 TODA Convention Survey

Please take a few minutes to let us know what you think!

We'd love to hear what you thought of this year's convention.  Please take a very few minutes to complete this short survey by September 6, if possible.  THANK YOU


Meet your new Board member - Sarah Lopes

Congratulations to Sarah Lopes on being the latest addition to the TODA Executive Board!  She has taught public school orchestra for ten years and is the Director of Orchestras at Paetow High School in Katy ISD. A graduate of Loyola University New Orleans, she holds a Bachelor of Music Education where she studied with Dean Angeles and Allen Nisbet. During her time at Loyola, Sarah had the honor of serving as principal cellist in the orchestra, including a performance at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Also during her time in New Orleans, Sarah worked as a freelance cellist, including two years as a contract substitute with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Having found an early joy in teaching, she also taught with the New Orleans String Project for a number of years.


Following her time in New Orleans, Sarah taught middle school orchestra in Richland County schools in Columbia, South Carolina, but ultimately came home to the great State of Texas. Since moving back, her orchestras have earned consistently high ratings at contest, and more importantly, have enjoyed building a joyful community of young music enthusiasts and honorable citizens.


A dynamic presenter and clinician, Sarah is a highly sought-after clinician for both students and teachers alike. She is an active member of TMEA and TODA, having presented at convention and organized all-state orchestras.

Sarah is a great advocate for the importance of helping fellow teachers and always improving her own craft as an educator and considers herself fortunate for the opportunity to serve her colleagues while on TODA's executive board. Ms. Lopes currently resides in northwest Houston with her beloved animals, Molly, Manning, Sally & Big Herm and enjoys running.

2017-2018 TODA Board of Directors

Christina Bires, President
Lamar Smith, Past President
Sixto Elizondo IV, Vice President/Treasurer
Danielle Prontka, Secretary
Sarah Lopes, Member At Large
Sharon Lutz, Executive Director