February 2023 TODA News

A Message From Our President, Aryc Lane

Greetings TODA Members! 

 On behalf of the TODA Board, I hope this newsletter finds you well and in good health as we’ve made it through the first month of the new year. A new year brings about so much new energy and excitement, and allows us to re-evaluate what we feel is important to us in both the classroom and our personal lives. I have personally found it difficult sometimes, as I am sure many of you will also attest, to juggle the workload that comes at the beginning of the spring semester when it can feel like everything is constantly happening all at once. The start of the spring semester brings a number of challenges, from campus musicals, to UIL events, to recruitment and retention drives, and so much more. 

Now, more than ever, it is important to find time for one's own personal mental and emotional health. It is okay to take time to do something that brings you joy away from the classroom! Challenge yourself to try something new, or dust off an old hobby or interest you have not considered in a while. The energy you put into yourself, refilling your cup with a new activity or interest, can positively impact your life as a music educator. It’s a long semester, but it can be all the more enjoyable when you take time to address your needs. 

TODA has had an exciting start to 2023 with a number of events already taking place, and many more in store in the near future! January 14th marked the return of the TODA Winter Clinics with a focus on rehearsal labs. The rehearsal lab concept, which began after conversations with Dr. Clif Evans and TODA Past President Margaret Brown–both at the University of Texas at Arlington–expands the traditional orchestra conducting workshop platform beyond baton to the ins and outs of a normal classroom rehearsal. Our attendees arrived with pedagogical questions related to issues they may be having with their students and the classroom literature, and left with a number of new solutions that could instantly be applied to their rehearsals back in their own classrooms. This year, the TODA Winter Clinics expanded to three locations:

Texas State University with Dr. Jacob Harrison
The University of Texas at Arlington with Dr. Clif Evans
The University of Texas at Austin with Maestro Farkhad Khudyev & Dr. Laurie Scott

We are fortunate to continue to offer this regional event, with outstanding clinicians, and continue to collaborate with our collegiate partners and the music education students on the campuses!

TODA also partnered with the American Musicological Society (AMS) in a panel discussion centered on the ethical incorporation of diverse repertoire in the K-12 orchestral classroom. The panel was moderated by Marcus R. Pyle (Dallas-area native, musicologist, and violist at Davidson College), and included Ashleigh Gordon (violist and founder of Castle of our Skins), Matthew Morrison (musicologist and violinist at NYU), and TODA’s own Desiree Overree (Orchestra Director at Seven Lakes High School) and Aryc Lane (TODA President and Orchestra Director at Reedy High School). We look forward to continuing this partnership with AMS and expanding upon the important conversations that were started from this event. 

A recording of the discussion will be made available to TODA members in the coming weeks. 

Finally, registration for our Summer Convention, July 20–22, 2023, will open in the coming weeks. We cannot wait to share our exciting lineup of headliners and clinicians as we gear up for another exciting TODA Summer Convention! 

We look forward to seeing everyone at the TODA Reception at TMEA, sponsored by Gandy Ink, on Thursday, February 9, from 7:45 PM to 10:00 PM at the Westin Hidalgo Room! 

Don’t forget to stop by the TODA Booth (#12) at TMEA in the Exhibit Hall! 

All the best,

Aryc Lane
TODA President 


Scholarship Applications are Open - Encourage Your Students to Apply!

Each year, TODA strives to award a minimum of two scholarships: one to a high school senior who plans to study string education in college, and another to a current music education major. These scholarships are made possible by donations from our TODA members and by proceeds from our annual Silent Auction, held at “The Reunion” at our Summer Convention. Please share out this information to your students (current seniors and former alike) who are eligible for the scholarship. More details can be found at


UIL Checklist
Sandra Vandertulip, TODA Past President (2015-2016)

“UIL.” It conjures up a plethora of emotions in all music directors. For some of us, our fondest memories come from UIL days. The day they got it perfect–the smiles and cheers on the bus afterwards; even the funny mishaps from those days. But, for a good deal of us, the emotion is dread. Feelings of fear and anxiety can come from the unknown. As a young teacher, I remember watching the “masters” as they cruised through UIL without batting an eye, and I always remember wanting experience. Hopefully, you will find some of these tips and tricks helpful.



TODA Reception at TMEA - Join Us, and Bring a Friend!

Our TODA Reception is something our TMEA Orchestra Division friends look forward to each year. TODA membership is not required to attend our happy hour, so it’s the perfect time to introduce new-to-the-profession directors to all the wonderful things our TODA family has to offer and connect with the current TODA Executive Board to ask all of your questions about our upcoming events. We look forward to seeing you there!

'Tis the Season...For Intentional Recruitment & Retention!

A Q&A with Heather Davis, Sartartia Middle School

Heather Davis is currently the head orchestra director at Sartartia Middle School in Fort Bend ISD. This December, her orchestra performed at the 76th Annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Not only are her orchestras regularly recognized for their high level of musicianship, but Heather has been recognized for her successful recruiting and retention practices.

How do you recruit for your program?

At Sartartia, we put all Fine Arts information into one Microsoft Sway document to make it easily accessible to all students. They only have ONE place to look when they want information about their elective choices. I have some recruiting information and a video that I keep on the school website: 

I truly believe that the students/parents can be one of your biggest recruiting tools. They will tell other families to join the program if they feel involved, challenged, and proud of the program! 


Going to TMEA? Visit the TODA Booth

Make sure to visit the TODA Booth at TMEA! Renew your membership and find out about all the wonderful things TODA is up to in 2023! We will be in Booth 12 of Exhibit Hall 1: to the left (as you enter from Market Street) of the main lobby of the “new” area of the convention center, in the same area as TMEA Convention registration.


2023 High School Leadership Day

Our next High School Student Leadership Day will be on August 5, 2023! We will have a special guest speaker: Jeffrey Grogan (Oklahoma City University), as well as opportunities for students to inspire each other with group-led workshops, roundtable discussions, and games! TODA is excited to extend this opportunity to THREE locations this year: Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston.

Please watch this brief wrap-up video from last year’s Student Leadership Day to find out what makes our student leadership workshop so unique:

And if you are interested in finding out more about how your student leaders can attend the next High School Student Leadership Day, please fill out this brief Google Form and a TODA representative will be in touch when registration opens:


Contact Info:

Texas Orchestra Directors Association

PO Box 50250, Austin, TX 78763

Phone: 512-474-2801

Email: [email protected]