September 2023 TODA News

A Message From Our President, Colleen Whatley

With each passing year of post-pandemic-teaching, I am reminded of the simple joys of our profession. Events have ramped back up, our students are reluctantly emerging from their screens, and we’re able to get back together to build connections and community. As exhausting as the beginning of the year is, I can’t help but find myself reflecting with gratitude on the moments I’ve shared with all of you in the last few years. Often, I’m asked by colleagues new to the profession, “why join TODA?” My answer, always, is “TODA is family.” I am a better teacher, musician, friend, colleague, and parent because of the time, conversations, and meals I’ve shared with all of you over the course of my career, and I cherish the time we get to spend together. As we begin our 2023–2024 school year, I hope to see you all at our events, and to share a moment with each of you to continue to connect the pieces of our ever-expanding community.

At the beginning of August, TODA was delighted to see our student leadership teams congregate around the state to attend our 2023 TODA High School Student Leadership Day. With the event taking place in Carrollton, Houston, and San Antonio simultaneously, we were able to kick off the day with an energizing virtual workshop featuring the illustrious Jeff Grogan, then admire the growth, teamwork, and collaboration of our student leadership teams over the course of the day. Big thanks to Jessica Harry at Newman Smith HS, Dr. Brad Smith at Kinder HSVPA, and Jason Thibodeaux at Churchill HS for hosting the event, and to all of the directors who dedicated their days to strengthening and enhancing their leadership teams.

As we continue to expand our events in an effort to reach all of the corners of the state, TODA is thrilled to announce that we’re adding a Houston location to our Winter Clinics. Born out of a need for a mid-year virtual professional development opportunity in January 2021, our Winter Clinics have quickly evolved into an increasingly-popular Rehearsal Lab and/or Conducting Workshop. At the Winter Clinic, directors have the opportunity to step onto the podium to rehearse a piece of music of their choice with an orchestra and receive feedback on their rehearsal strategies and/or conducting technique. With the orchestra being made up of a combination of university students and orchestra directors, it’s a really special event that promotes the honing of our own skills and networking within our profession. It’s truly a heartwarming experience to witness the mingling of music majors, future string educators, esteemed university conductors and string pedagogy educators, and current orchestra directors. We hope you’ll join us this January in one of our three locations: University of Houston, University of Texas at Arlington, or University of Texas at Austin.

While our 2023 Convention reflections are fresh on our minds, your TODA Executive Board will be meeting this month to begin the process of planning our 2024 Summer Convention. Just as our own students inspired each other to improve their home campus leadership teams at our TODA High School Student Leadership Day, directors too have so much to learn from each other. We hope many of you will consider submitting a Clinic Proposal for our 2024 Convention so that you can share your personal expertise with directors around the state and beyond. Additionally, if you are craving a specific session in an area you’d like to grow in, please email us at [email protected] to let us know! We take your input to heart, and do our best to meet the vast variety of needs across the state.

Best wishes to all on a fantastic fall semester. Please stay in touch, and let us know how TODA can help you!

Colleen Whatley
TODA President


Now Open - 2024 Summer Convention Clinic Submissions

If you have an idea for an innovative clinic for the 2024 TODA Annual Convention, please submit it to us beginning September 1.  The deadline is Friday, September 22.

Your Board of Directors will meet soon and are already planning clinics and activities for next summer!!

Please submit your clinic ideas HERE.


Introducing Sean Kime, the Newest Addition to the TODA Board of Directors


2024 TODA Winter Clinic

As you begin planning for your spring semester, remember that TODA is here to help you! TODA is family, and your TODA Board works hard to ensure that you feel supported and prepared for the classroom and the stage. Do you need CPE credit? Help managing your rehearsal time during class or teaching a particular articulation? The beauty of the rehearsal lab is that it provides tips, ideas, encouragement, and support for those new to the classroom, seasoned veterans on the podium, and all those in between. Whether you sign up for podium time to receive conducting help and/or rehearsal tips and tricks, or sign up to play in the orchestra, you will walk away with the inspiration you need to start the new year.

Registration will open in October. Save the date, and invite a friend!


Tips & Tricks
compiled by Desiree Overree

Interested in diversifying your programming but not sure where to start? Check out these Educational Resources for Inclusivity, compiled by TODA Member Desiree Overree.


TODA Has a Free Job Board

Directors: Browse Available Job Postings on our searchable Job Board.

Employers: Post full-time and part-time opportunities for music educators, church and community ensemble conductors and musicians.


2023 HS Student Leadership Day Recap

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend our 2023 HS Student Leadership Day events in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio areas! We had nearly 300 high school students attend sessions that included an inspirational session by Dr. Jeffrey Grogan, student leaders sharing the great things happening in their programs, college student Q&As, and much more! If you were not able to attend this year, we hope you’ll consider joining this collaborative and motivational event with your student leadership teams next year.


Contact Info:

Texas Orchestra Directors Association

PO Box 50250, Austin, TX 78763

Phone: 512-474-2801

Email: [email protected]