January 2015



Renew your membership now and be ready for convention registration when it opens on February 9. Click here to renew your membership

What's New...

Save the date for the TODA member reception held during 2015 TMEA Convention

Thursday, February 12, 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Hilton, El Mirador Ballroom

From the President...
by Jason Thibodeaux

I hope the new year is off to a great start!  Many of us are working on Solo and Ensemble, Concert and SIghtreading, school musicals and our spring trips.  That in mind, it is nice to take a break and visit with our colleagues and learn new techniques for our rehearsals.  The Texas Music Educators Convention begins Wednesday February 11, 2015.  On Thursday, February 12, 2015 the Texas Orchestra Directors Association will host a reception for our members.  The reception is 7:00 pm until 9:00pm at the Hilton Hotel in El Mirador B & C Banquet Halls.  We look forward to seeing you!

Your T.O.D.A. Convention is Thursday, July 23 – Sunday, July 26, 2015.  The clinic schedule is well on its way with headliners, Carrie Lane Gruselle from FJH Publishing and David Becker from Texas Tech University.  Many of you have already volunteered to present new ideas and techniques, however, if you have not submitted your ideas please do so at the link provided below.

Whether your expertise is teaching a specific instrument or technique, recruitment/retention, conducting, organizational skills, motivating young students, technology or anything you feel is important, please submit a clinic proposal for the summer 2015 convention. 


Follow the link above, complete the form and mail or email to [email protected] and [email protected]The deadline for submissions is February 27, 2015.

I look forward to seeing all of you Feb. 12 at the TODA member reception at the Hilton.  Thank you for your time and dedication.


Money Matters
by Sandra Vandertulip, VP/Treasurer

As we begin a new year with all kinds of new resolutions to help ourselves and others, please consider giving the gift of money to the Barbara Eads Scholarship fund.  Every year TODA awards scholarships to deserving orchestra seniors who will be attending college to become a music educator. With your donations, we can continue to help these students become future TODA members. Your donation is tax deductible.

This is also a great time to remind orchestra directors to encourage their seniors who will be majoring in Music Education, to apply for the Barbara Eads Scholarship.  Application deadline is May 1, 2015.

For more information regarding donations and the Barbara Eads Scholarship application, please visit our website at:

Also a quick reminder to pre-register for TODA Convention!  It saves you both money and time!
Pre-registration opens on February 9, as does housing.  Don't delay - hotel rooms go quickly and those reduced rates are only guaranteed to June 24. All the details will be on our website,


TODA recently completed it's first ever audit.  2013 was the year audited and we are pleased to report the auditors found no discrepancies or any reason for concern.  All the financials are in order with good leadership for the organization all around.  A financial report for 2014 will be published in the next TODA News.


We are accepting applications and nominations for all of the above.  Please see our home page (www.todaweb.org) for links to all the forms.  We want to hear from you!

TODA Board of Directors

President - Jason Thibodeaux, Northeast ISD
Past President - Pat Leaverton, Fort Worth ISD
VP/Treasurer - Sandra Vandertulip, Round Rock ISD
Secretary - Lamar Smith, Carrollton ISD
Member At Large - Christina Bires, Clear Creek ISD
Executive Director - Sharon Lutz

Member Services Coordinator - Hallie Miller

7900 Centre Park Drive, Suite A
Austin, TX  78754

From the Past President
by Pat Leaverton

Over the past four and a half years I have been privileged to serve the greatest teachers in Texas as a member of the TODA board.  It is an honor to be a part of a team that helps produce the best student orchestras in the nation.  I hope I can convince many of you to consider serving TODA as a member of the board.

The great thing about the TODA board is the way it is structured.  When you come onto the board you are the Member-at-Large.  The duties of this office allow the new board member to see everything that happens throughout the year without having to commit to making too many decisions.  The next year you become Secretary.  By taking notes and keeping up with the correspondence you start to get a more accurate picture of how our organization is run.  By organizing registration you get to meet almost every orchestra teacher in our organization.  The third year on the board you are the Treasurer.  By monitoring the checking, savings, and scholarship funds you really understand more of the details of how the organization is run each year, especially during the convention.  You will spend many hours working with our outstanding vendors during this year, building professional and personal relationships that will serve you throughout your teaching career.   Fourth year on the board you become President, leading all the board meetings and planning the convention.  This is your opportunity to apply everything you learned the first three years on the board.  The final year on the board is as Past President, where you are able to assist all the other officers with the tricks and tribal knowledge you picked up over the years. All of the Past Presidents remain resources for the current board. 

Throughout the time you serve on the board you are assisted by our outstanding Executive Director, Sharon Lutz.   Her knowledge and insights help keep us on track and keep our organization moving forward.  With the help of the office staff and the transition to electronic files over the past years there is less paperwork involved in being a member of the TODA Board than ever before.

 I encourage all of you to consider running for the TODA Board.  While there was some extra work for me throughout each year at no time did I feel it interfered with my teaching duties.  Most of the work is done in the summer, with a few hours each week at home.  The things I have learned, the new ideas to which I have been exposed and the people I have met helped me to be a better orchestra teacher and music educator.  As I finish my final year on the TODA Board I know my service to this profession is going to continue.  Texas Orchestras are recognized nationally because of the great teachers and our cooperation with each other to help every student in our programs succeed.  I hope you find it in yourself to continue this great tradition of leadership in orchestra teaching.

Getting the Most From Your Convention Experience
by Lamar Smith, Secretary

Being a member of TODA affords a lot of benefits, but it is no secret that the best of all is the annual convention in July. Every year, we get to enjoy top-notch professional development, new music reading sessions, and fellowship and networking that connects us in our common goal of providing outstanding music education for our students.
Putting the convention together is a year-long task that is planned, organized and coordinated by our amazing Executive Director, Sharon Lutz, and the TODA board. Every detail is considered, from the planning of exhibit hall space to what kind of taco toppings will be included at the Fiesta Welcome! With all of these “moving parts,” we depend on the TODA membership to help at the convention. There are several opportunities to help out that allow you to contribute without giving up your entire convention (unless, of course, you want to do that!).

The Hospitality Committee is a great place to start. Member-at-Large Christina Bires will be looking for people to help with the music drawings at the reading sessions, to help as Presiders at the reading sessions, and to take tickets and hand out wristbands at the Barbeque. Contact Christina at [email protected] to let her know if you are interested.

There are other opportunities with the Reading Session Committee, Presiders, and more! If you are interested in volunteering in any other capacity at convention, shoot me an email at [email protected]. We will find a place for you!

Contributing to the convention is rewarding and allows you to meet other people in our profession in a truly unique way. And, let’s face it—it looks great on a resume! Did I mention that this is also a great way to get those coveted RIBBONS for your badge?

We look forward to hearing from you.

HANDEL’S MESSIAH- THURSDAY APRIL 2 7:30PM- MAJESTIC THEATRE- SAN ANTONIO SYMPHONY, SAN ANTONIO SYMPHONY MASTERSINGERS AND GUEST SOLOISTS - group discount offer for 50% off for any group of 10 or more who book their group by March 19!!
Click here for the prices with the 50% discount- be sure to look for the title MESSIAH for the discount prices.  Contact Karen Cramer (contact info on the form)