September 2014


 Post Convention


Good times and food at the Fiesta Welcome

From the President...
by Jason Thibodeaux

Congratulations to Pat Leaverton for a fantastic 2014 Convention!  The preparation of the TODA Convention differs from other conventions because the Board President does most of the work.  Mr. Leaverton planned the clinics, worked with clinicians and organized the best orchestra professional development in Texas.  Barry Green gave outstanding clinics and performances while Brian Balmages shared his music and insight for young orchestras.  Sandra Dackow, one of our favorite composers and arrangers, gave multiple invigorating sessions.  Pat is the reason these fine clinicians attended our convention.  Over 20 of the sessions were presented by you! Many of our Texas Orchestra Directors shared their experiences and wisdom with our membership.  We are lucky and thankful for your willingness to share.  To accompany the clinics Mr. Leaverton organized 7 reading session, a New Teacher Academy and the first ever TODA High School Student Day!  Thank you to everyone who gave their time to make the convention special and thank you to Pat Leaverton for all of his hard work and dedication to the Texas Orchestra Directors Association.

The TODA Board wishes you a wonderful 2014-2015 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 2014 Convention please follow the link to enter your clinic or suggestion. TODA is here for you!


 Meet the latest addition to the TODA Board;  Member At Large Christina Bires
by Lamar Smith, Secretary


Christina Bires has taught for 21 years and is currently the Director of Orchestras at Clear Brook High School in Clear Creek ISD. A graduate of the University of Maine, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and studied violin with Dr. Anatole Wieck. While still in high school, she was awarded a position as a section violinist in the Bangor Symphony and played for twelve seasons. Early in her teaching career, she taught in a K-12 school and was the band, choir, orchestra, and general music teacher. For five years, she conducted the Bangor Symphony Orchestra String Orchestra, taught at ASTA Summer String Camps, and was a region orchestra clinician.

Since moving to Texas in 2003, Bires has taught in the La Porte ISD and currently teaches in Clear Creek ISD.  Her orchestras are consistent UIL Sweepstakes winners. Christina also teaches during the summer as a sectional coach and conductor at the Sam Houston State University Orchestra Camp. Additionally, she is a highly sought-after clinician and adjudicator in the Houston area. Currently, she is TMEA Region 17 Orchestra Chair and is also a member of TMEA and TMAA. Ms. Bires currently resides in Friendswood with her violist son Brian.

We are thrilled to welcome Christina Bires to the TODA Executive Board!

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
Director, Member Services, Beverly Schlegel

7900 Centre Park Drive, Suite A
Austin, TX  78754

From the Past President
by Pat Leaverton

I hope everyone’s school year is off to a great start!  I know there are many new teachers in new positions across our state.  I encourage the membership of TODA to seek out these teachers and help them settle in and learn the ropes in your district and region.  It is the network of support from the orchestra directors here in Texas that helps us continue to grow!

Speaking of help and support, I would like to send huge thanks and say a job well done to everyone who helped with this summer’s TODA Convention.  Our convention works because our members take ownership of TODA and lend a hand when needed.  Thank you to everyone who presented or led a session.  Your shared experience, talent and knowledge are the heart of TODA.  Special thanks to Charlotte Moellering for leading our High School students in leadership activities.  Andrew Goins and his crew did a great job of organizing and projecting all of the music for the many reading sessions.  Jay Lester went above and beyond in finding wind and percussion players for two full orchestra sessions.  We had many college students who worked throughout the convention helping move equipment and organize materials.  Thanks to everyone who volunteered to preside over sessions, pass out tickets or work the registration booth.  Thank you to Danielle Prontka and Jenny Gann for organizing the beverages at the BBQ.  Huge thanks go to Howard Williams for organizing his crew of Janet Zeilinski, Drew DeJong, Jay Kilch, Desiree Overee and Max Wilson for sacrificing so much of their convention to organize, sort and prepare the give-away packets from all of the reading sessions.

The TODA convention simply would not happen without all of our corporate sponsors.  Thanks to all the vendors that exhibit at the convention.  Thanks to FJH Music for sponsoring Brian Balmages and GIA Publications along with D’Addario Strings for helping to sponsor Barry Green.  Everyone needs to thank our sponsors of the social events; Fishburn Violin Shop, Alfred Music, Music & Arts, Lisle Violin Shop, Dallas Strings, Gilbert and Lawrence Music, and Williamson Music.  Special thanks to Mark Williamson and Ron Gilbert for loaning their instruments to reading sessions and presentations.

Thank you to all the members of the TODA board and staff.  It takes a village and more to organize our convention and I cannot thank them enough for everything they do every day.  Finally, I want to thank you, the membership of TODA.  Thanks for attending the convention and being a part of the greatest profession in the world.  You shape lives every day, inspiring both your students and colleagues to be their best.  Have a great year and I will see you next summer!

A Few Pictures from Convention

High School Student Day was a great success! There were almost 100 Texas Orchestra students there!

               BBQ at Sunset Station   


Mozart's Requiem was a really fun event involving folks from TODA, TCDA & TBA!