The all-day choir clinic and concert was led by Thomas Jaber, professor of music at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Jabor has coached singers and conductors in countless recitals and conducted orchestra and operatic productions at Rice University for the past 20 years.
Sulaica and Arnst are under the direction of TRHS Choral Director Cindy Hessong. Arredondo is under the direction of A.C. Jones HS Choral Director Ralph Howell.
A week prior to the clinic/concert, the students competed against hundreds of students from the 55 school districts in Region 14 at Tuloso-Midway High School for the notable honor. There is no distinction by school size or class size in region competition. Students from 1A-5A schools compete side by side for one of the top chairs in each choral group. The top 20 Soprano 1, Soprano 2, Alto 1, Alto 2, Tenor 1, Tenor 2, Bass 1 and Bass 2 in the region were selected. From the top 20, the first five chairs will compete for All-State choir in January.
Arnst was ranked as one of the top five students auditioning, she will be auditioning again in January in hopes of being named to the Texas All-State Choir, an honor reserved for only the top 150 high school male and female singers in Texas.
The Region choir sang classical pieces in English, Latin and German to a full auditorium. The choir concert began with Amazing Grace in pianississimo (very soft) crescendoing to mezzo-forte (moderate) as the choir entered from the back of the auditorium onto the stage.
Following, the Treble Choir sang Cantate Domino by Ruth Watson Henderson. The opening fanfare of the piece sets a festive mood that continues throughout the entire work. Cantate Domino utilizes Latin text adapted from the psalms. Next, the choir sang Pueri Hebraeorum by Randall Thompson.
The Tenor/Bass Choir sang Ave Maria by the German composer Franz Biebl and Blow Ye the Trumpet by Kirke Mechem. The text for this expansive and thoughtful piece was adapted from a traditional hymn.
The Region Mixed Choir sang the Latin, Renaissance piece Buccinate in neomenia tuba by Giovanni Croce, composed in 1594.
They also sang Sanctus from Requiem, Op.9 by Maurice Duruflé. Requiem is perhaps the finest and most often performed composition by Duruflé. His works are based on Gregorian chant. The third piece sung by the mixed choir was the African-American folk song Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho, arranged by Edwin Fissinger. Afterward, they sang I’m Seventeen Come Sunday by the Australian-born composer and pianist Percy A. Grainger. The choir concluded the performance with Abendlied, Op. 69 no 3; Morgenlied; Drei geistliche Gesänge, Op. 69, by German composer Josef Gabriel Rheinberger and received a standing ovation.
The TMEA began in 1920 as the Texas Band Teachers Association. The Texas Music Educators Association is an organization of more than 9,000 school music educators united by common goals. These goals are to provide professional growth opportunities, to encourage interaction among music education professionals, to foster public support for music in schools, to offer quality musical experiences for students, to cultivate universal appreciation and lifetime involvement in music and to develop and maintain productive working relationships with other professional organizations.