Senior Profile: Rachel Deschner!


Tom C. Clark High School

College: University of Texas at Austin

Major: Architecture

“CCSA has been extraordinary for me in the development of myself as a person. Choir hasn’t just been an activity that I’ve participated in; it’s become a part of who I am, from the discipline and attention to detail, to the indescribable bonds that are only created when making beautiful music. Half of my life has been spent singing in this choir and has thus assisted in accessing a part of myself that could not have been accessed were it not for this children’s chorus. I’ve also gotten to witness the transformation of the choir across nine years as it developed with me. I’ve seen old and new techniques and have gotten to take advantage of many opportunities that have been made available to me.

Leaving choir will be difficult as I will be leaving behind nine years of memories from Mondays with two-finger clapping and “copper kettles” that “carry comfort killing cough and cold”. As much as I might learn and as busy as I might be throughout the next few years of my life, I know that I will still occasionally get “Siyahamba” stuck in my head for a solid week and that I’ll still know all the lyrics to “The Boll Weevil”, and even though I may not fully believe it now, I know that I will be happy to remember these because they will remind me of how lucky I was to be a part of such an amazing organization.”

Rachel Senior 2015

From the Family: Rachel joined CCSA to sing with her older siblings in the choir but she soon discovered on her own the joy of singing with such an amazing group of voices. Mrs. McCormick and Mrs. Taute demanded discipline and perfection and we watched as Rachel grew from Junior chorus to appreciate the musical reward that these rigorous rehearsals brought. We enjoyed watching her perform in many venues such as the Majestic, Tobin Center, churches, Magik Theatre, etc and hearing her sing many types of music. CCSA has helped Rachel mature both musically and personally as she has gained even greater appreciation for vocal music.

Singing has been so important in Rachel’s life and we have been grateful for CCSA’s patience with her hectic schedule so that she could continue with the choir. It has been a pleasure to be involved with CCSA for the last 13 years and we will truly miss being a part of this wonderful organization.

—Paul and Annette Deschner


Senior Profile: Erin Evelyn Isler!


Isler Academy of Home Learning

College: Northwest Vista

Major: Elementary Education

“For as long as I can remember I’ve loved music, especially singing. I recall at age 6 when I was spinning around the kitchen, making up a song about butterflies. So when my mother told me about CCSA I was excited and apprehensive. Singing was fun, but I felt like singing in a choir couldn’t possibly be as enjoyable as singing by myself. I was entirely wrong. After the first rehearsal, I was hooked. Blending my voice with others’ voices creates a beauty that I have no hope of producing by myself. The experience of singing in concert with others is utterly unique. The emotional high that comes from a successful performance is irreplaceable. CCSA has been a major part of my childhood, and the memories I made and lessons I learned will stay with me forever. Thank you, CCSA!”

Erin Senior 2015

From the Family: Having learned about CCSA through homeschool circles, Erin jumped on the chance to audition. In a burgundy dress with a floral lace collar, the petite and bright-eyed girl of 9 years eagerly faced the challenge, and her smile lit up the room. Mrs. McCormick quickly put us at ease as she led Erin through the audition and placed her in the Junior Chorus. When asked how the first rehearsal went, Erin dreamily replied, “I think my ears have died and gone to heaven!” That statement pretty well sums up our years with CCSA. We have watched Erin grow from being one of the smallest in the choir to one of the tallest. We have listened to her sing in German, Latin, French, Italian, Spanish, Zulu, and Czech. We have heard the angelic voices in multiple venues, such as AHUMC, The Majestic, San Fernando Cathedral, St Mark’s Episcopal, and the Tobin, and in collaboration with other top-notch music organizations, such as YOSA, the San Antonio Symphony, the Mastersingers, and the San Antonio Chamber Choir. We have celebrated successes and powered through challenges alongside other CCSA friends and families. We have supported CCSA through fundraising, chaperoning, uniform committee, and – perhaps most importantly – making sure our singers attended rehearsals on a regular basis. The payoff has been huge: Erin’s smile still lights up the room as she connects with the music on a deep level, and we have reaped the benefit of journeying through a lifelong love of music together.

 – Diane and Chuck Isler

Senior Profile: Marianne Astrid Thrailkill!


Incarnate Word High School

College: Southern Methodist University

Major: Biochemistry/Pre-Med

“My years with the Children’s Choir brought me great happiness; I wish I had been able to sing with them longer! I love music, but more than that I love making music with CCSA.”

Marianne Senior 2015


From the Family: The CCSA program has been a wonderful opportunity for us as a family. It was a privilege to have Marianne study under Mrs. Taute; a great lady professionally and personally.

Thank you CCSA for the beauty you brought into our lives.

— Robert and Mariana Thrailkill

Senior Profile: Monica Barba!


St. Anthony Catholic High School

College: University of the Incarnate Word

Major: Athletic Training and Rehabilitative


“Being in this choir for 11 years has been the best experience I’ve ever had. Growing and learning along with my fellow singers, and with Mrs. McCormick, Mrs. Morgan, and Mrs. Taute has been an amazing time. I am very sad to know that this was my last year with the choir. I will remember all of the fun memories we have shared, and I look forward to making new memories as I go along with my singing.”

Monica Senior 2015

From the Family: What a wonderful experience it has been to see you perform with professional groups like the San Antonio Symphony, the Mastersingers, YOSA, and the San Antonio Opera. This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity not just for you but for the entire family too. To be able to participate and sing with such amazing musicians and also perform at the Majestic Theater and the Tobin Center, what an honor.

We’ve watched you grow up over the last eleven years from a little girl in pig tails to a beautiful singer and young woman. At times it wasn’t easy; life and scheduling was always getting in the way but you never gave up. We know that these experiences will be with you for the rest of your life and will help shape your life in the future. We are very fond of the amazing and unforgettable memories that we will treasure for a lifetime. We also want to take this opportunity to thank such an amazing, dedicated, and talented staff for being part of our family’s life. Ms. McCormick, Ms. Taute, Ms. Morgan, Anne, and Nita thank you all for the most wonderful 11 years!

— Mom, Dad, Alek and Grandma

The Rivard Report’s take on Music Together, from a parent’s perspective!

Recently Bekah McNeel of The Rivard Report gave a glowing review of CCSA’s Music Together early childhood development program! In case you missed it, here’s the link:

We know how good this program is for our students, and it helps to see the appreciation of our students’ parents. We’ve seen in study after study (after studies) that music plays a critical role in our overall development, and that the effects are stronger the earlier music is introduced into our lives. We don’t want children to be denied this opportunity merely because of finances, which is why we do work with Haven for Hope. We want as many children as possible to have access – regardless of their family’s situation.DSC_0084-web

Our own Rebecca Morgan raises a great point when she asserts that “as we become a society of music consumers, we are less music makers.” We are actively encouraging people to participate in (rather than be subjected to) the world of music, because we know it will be a richer and more pleasant experience for our students and their families. McNeel sums things up rather perfectly: “Whether she is rocking out to “Des Colores,” or making her own music on her xylophone, it’s obviously that her brain is lighting up, and so is her soul.”

Check out the article – and start letting people know about the classes!

Learn more about and Register for Music Together:

Register for our Prelude Choir for 5-7 year olds:

Register for our Performing and Advanced ensembles:

Thanks Bekah McNeel and The Rivard Report for the great article!

-Darian Thomas

Violins and Voices Reflections:

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to the success of our annual Violins and Voices performance.  Family and friends from both CCSA and YOSA came together to support the youngest musicians of both organizations in an evening of incredible music making. IMG_4364

In keeping with this semester’s “fiesta theme”, CCSA’s Junior Chorus began the concert with high energy performances of Sosa’s, “El Cielo Canta Alegria”, and “Cantad al Senor” by Ziegenhais.

The audience was then treated to Jacobi Caldwell’s work with YOSA’s Prelude strings. The hard work of these young musicians was evident in their wonderful performances Caponegro’s arrangement of Shubert’s, “The Trout”, and Bob Phillips’ “Bass-ically Bluegrass.” The latter clearly an audience favorite.

YOSA’s Capriccio ensemble then took the stage with much excitement and enthusiasm, a disposition reflected in their director, Jonathan Raveneau. They performed Ahlan Sabaya Alfarah – a thrilling traditional Arabic dance arranged by K. Sarch and Mozart’s Divertimento No. 2 in D Major arranged by S. Dackow. These musicians are to be commended on their progress and quality performance.

The final part of the concert featured the Junior Chorus in collaboration with select musicians from other YOSA orchestras. Francisco Nunez’s “Three Dominican Folksongs”, under the direction of LeeAnn Valcarcel, evoked the rich and spirited culture of Latin America.  IMG_4368

Chalon Murray then led the musicians in Benjamin Britten’s “Psalm 150”.  Its tonality and changing meter marks this piece as the most difficult work the Junior Chorus has learned this season.  One patron commented, “Their mixed meter was amazing! I’m so impressed with how well they handled that. Great job!” IMG_4372

We look forward to seeing all of you throughout the rest of the season.  Be sure to get your tickets for Fiesta in Song, May 3rd at the Tobin Center where we will be announcing our new Artistic Director.  Our students will also be collaborating once again with YOSA and several other San Antonio choirs in a performance of Carmina Burana on May 17th. Please check our calendar for other planned events!  And once again, thank you for your continued support of our musicians!

Photos and post: Darian Thomas

An Afternoon with Nick Page!

We can't wait to share this experience with you!

We can’t wait to share this experience with you!

What is it like to experience an afternoon with Nick Page? It’s like attending the greatest performance on the planet. Except that you are no longer just an audience member – you and many other equally amazed people will be making the magnificent music. As an added bonus, the Pro Music Chorale on tour from Monterrey will be joining us for this performance! Come share this experience with us at Coker United Methodist Church on Sunday March 15th!

Nick Page is a Boston-based song leader, composer, and author who is dedicated to teaching people of all ages that they are capable of great miracles through the simple yet powerful, act of singing. He is the founder and Artistic Director of The Mystic Chorale, and works extensively with children and with educators (both classroom teachers and music specialists). He began leading sing-alongs for people of all ages, and traveled across North America leading what he calls “Power Sings” with adult groups, elementary, junior high, and senior high school students as well as at many colleges. He also began to incorporate the cultural styles of many traditions in his compositions, sometimes using elements from two or more traditions in the same piece.


The choir members of our Youth Academy, Junior Chorus, Project Sing and our guest choir from Monterrey, under the direction of Flora Rivera, will also be assisting Nick in leading and teaching the audience various songs. And remember: there’s no experience necessary to be a part of this audience! Come as you are with friends (as they are) and participate.

Here’s an excerpt from a story by Mr. Page himself about the loose nature of singing events that he’s used to: “A pitchpipe would be most unwelcome.   Someone establishes a pitch and everyone struggles to find the first pitches for each part. They then start to sing the song, soon realizing it’s either too high or too low.   They tend to sing everything very low, so the basses are in an uncomfortable range but everyone else is as happy as a clam.   I’m a trained choral musician, a fact that a few there know.   I try to stay out of the process of choosing the key.   But if they ask, I give them the perfect pitch to start on, never in the key it is written in.” (Shapenote Singing at Bread and Puppet, )

There will be a multitude of songs learned and performed, all followed by a combine performance of “Give Us Hope” by Jim Papoulis. This song was performed at the Bernstein MASS concert we recently had, and if the clapping along of the audience was any indication of how good this song feels then we’re sure no one will have any problem joining in with singing as well!


Who: The Children’s Chorus of San Antonio, Pro Music Chorale, and Nick Page

Cost: FREE admission

When: Sunday March 15 | 3:00pm

Where: Coker United Methodist Church, 231 E North Loop Road, San Antonio, TX 78216

We can’t wait to see you there!

A Reflection on Bernstein’s MASS

On February 22nd we had the privilege of joining The St. Mark’s Choir, Daniel Mutlu, and Dr. Doreen Rao to present Bernstein’s Mass to a full and eager audience. The concert began with a short set songs featuring CCSA, all of which put the audience in a really good mood – as was proven by the clapping along during Give Us Hope by Jim Papoulis. After all, how could one not be in a good mood when listening to a vocal arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango?

Getting the audience involved!

Getting the audience involved!

Once that portion of the fun was done, it was time to tackle the 15 movement Bernstein MASS. For the remainder of the concert we pulled out all the stops – The St. Mark’s Choir, CCSA, instrumentalists and an organist joined us on stage for this magical work. And magical it was: there were many moments of intensity (such as that incredible opening Soprano solo, sung beautifully by Ana Hernandez),

Ana Hernandez' solo at the beginning of MASS was gripping - and exhilarating!

Ana Hernandez’ solo at the beginning of MASS was gripping – and exhilarating!

levity (lyrical jokes reminiscent of Candide executed perfectly by our tenor soloist Daniel Mutlu), and the theatrical nature of the work kept the audience glued to the performance.

One could feel the collective appreciation of being able to experience such a talented group of performers who cared so much about their performance.

The beauty of St. Mark’s historic sanctuary served to enhance the quality of the whole event.

Once the piece finished, there were a few seconds of reverent silence. But as soon as the clapping started, audience members instantly rose to their feet and cheered. Afterwards one could hear murmurs of wonder and appreciation from the crowed and choristers alike – everyone knew that they were fortunate to catch a performance like this.

The closing moments of MASS were beautiful.

The closing moments of MASS were beautiful.

Here are a few remarks from those involved:

“Wanted to tell you how much the concert meant to me. Everyone who was alive at the time has their memory of President Kennedy’s death. I was in grad school in Dallas at the time. The sounds, going down town…all left strong impressions. I hadn’t even thought of that until almost at the end of the program and suddenly the images and memories came back. It was quite an experience. After that I lost all sense of the concert as an “artistic event” and was caught up in my own thoughts and feelings. But then, isn’t that what we try to do with art?” – Ric Slocum (audience member)

“It was a wonderful experience to collaborate with CCSA and Doreen Rao.  Dr. Rao’s passion for music was contagious and brought new life to the meaning of singing together as a community.” Joseph Causby (Music Director of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church)

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience - can't wait to see you at the next event!

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience – can’t wait to see you at the next event!

Luckily for everyone, this won’t be the only awe inspiring experience from CCSA! We still have some spectacular events left in our season – like our Nick Page concert, Carmina Burana with YOSA and so many other choruses, and our final concert on May 3rd!

Make sure to come and join us – you won’t want to miss any of the work we’re doing!

All Photography by Patrice Oliver.

-Darian Thomas

Now accepting applications for Artistic Director!

Join our Team!

The 2014-2015 season marks the start of a new era for CCSA and we invite you to be a part of the future! One of the founding principles of CCSA is to reach every child who has the desire to sing, using creative and engaging programming that supports and nurtures their musical potential and, moreover, encourages their growth as creative individuals and as socially responsible citizens.

Position | Artistic Director

Position: The Children’s Chorus of San Antonio seeks qualified applicants for Artistic Director. Primary responsibilities involve supervision of all artistic elements of the program and to conduct rehearsals and performances for one or more of the ensembles. The qualified candidate will be a visible advocate for the program in the local and larger community including but not limited to local schools and districts, universities and the larger choral entities. The Artistic Director works with the Executive Director and Board as part of CCSA’s leadership to create a clear vision for the organization ensuring future growth and sustainability.

Required Qualifications: An advanced degree in music, a record of successful artistic experience as a conductor of choral ensembles for children and young adults. Preferred qualifications include successful experiences in leadership of a children’s/youth chorus, and a record of successful recruitment. Additional qualifications include the ability to work effectively with music education professionals and professional musicians, and the ability to communicate effectively. This is a full-time position requiring residency in San Antonio.

Click here to visit our website and access the online application.

One more chance to join Children’s Chorus of SA

One more chance to join Children’s Chorus of SA –

The Children’s Chorus of San Antonio will hold one last round of placements for the 2014-15 season on Sept. 5-6 at Alamo Heights United Methodist Church, 825 E. Basse Road.

The chorus, which has several ensembles, is open to young performers ages 8 to 22. Those who participate will learn vocal technique and musicianship. No experience is required to take part, and financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Registration can be made through the Children’s Chorus Web site.