Monthly Archives: June 2014

Advanced Ensembles Rehearse with Dr. Doreen Rao

IRaoPRshot (1)n preparation for the opening of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, CCSA’s treble and mixed advanced ensembles gathered last week for four days of rehearsal with Interim Artistic Director Dr. Doreen Rao.

Rao flew in from Chicago to not only teach new music for next season, but to also bond with the ensembles and foster a community of support before the season even begins. She will return to San Antonio in late July when she directs the 2014 Elementary Honor Choir at the TCDA Convention, held July 27-30.

The singers were excited to work with Rao, describing her as “enthusiastic,” “energetic,” and “hip.”

“I like her vibe,” said Mishel Malik, a CCSA singer in the mixed chorus. “She’s active, she’s…youthful, she knows us, she understands us…I like her.”

“I think of her as…very fun, and she has set the bar high for us,” added Luna Montoya, who is also in the mixed chorus.

Rao is known the world over for her groundbreaking work in the field of music education. Appointed music director and conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus in 2008, Rao holds the Cameron Baird Conductor’s Chair. She also holds the University of Toronto’s Elmer Iseler Chair in Conducting Emeritus. During Rao’s long association with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, she prepared the award-winning Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus (Anima) for concerts, tours, and recorded performances that won four Grammy Awards and a Grand Prix du Disque under Sir George Solti, Margaret Hillis, Claudio Abbado, and James Levine.

Rao blog1

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Senior Reflections – Mary Shannon Di Filippo

Being a part of CCSA has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It has given me so many opportunities to meet new people and experience things that I would never have been able to otherwise. The friends I have met, lessons I have learned, and the memories I have made are things I will carry with me for the rest of my life. There is a story Mrs. McCormick tells on the last day of the season opening retreat. The story is about a tribe in Africa and in this tribe every member has a special song that the other members sing to them at crucial life transitions. I may not have grown up in that African tribe, but I have found my song.  I will be forever grateful to Mrs. McCormick, Mrs. Taute, and my family for teaching me my song and singing it to me when I forget it. As I leave CCSA, I know that in life sometimes I will lose, but I will frequently win and either way I am deeply loved by God, my family, and my friends at CCSA. There may be moments when I feel a little warbly, but so have all the great singers, and if I just keep singing I’ll find my way home.


Senior Reflections – Addison Cook

add_scanIn middle school, I chose to play an instrument over being in the school choir because my school schedule wouldn’t allow for both.  However, I loved to sing so my parents had me try out for CCSA.  I thought it would be a substitute for that school choir experience but quickly saw how CCSA would be so much more than that for me.  The music was harder, later with complicated rhythms and harmonies.  These made learning and perfecting them more of an accomplishment than I would have experienced in public school. As the music got to be more complex and challenging, my enjoyment singing with the CCSA increased in proportion. Also, the caliber of the voices in the groups made the performances sound amazing and I felt satisfied and proud after every single one.

Singing with CCSA has made me a great listener, a better performer, and a more accomplished singer.  The past seven years have helped fine-tune my musicianship as well.  Some of the experiences I had with CCSA, such as singing with the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra and going to Washington D.C. were astonishing, and made me feel like a professional singer.

Ms. McCormick and Ms. Taute have always made me feel extremely valued and treated me with great kindness.  I am glad I got to be a member such an awesome organization and will miss these wonderful teachers/directors who I’ve spent a significant portion of my life with.


Senior Reflections – Sofia Greimel-Garza

ChoirSofiaPortrait (1)I have been a member of CCSA since I was 7 years old.  These 11 years in the choir have been filled with wonderful friendships, top-notch instruction and repertoire, special opportunities to learn from collaborations with professional musicians, and the privilege of bringing music to our community through a great variety of venues.

When I began in the Prelude Choir, Mrs. Morgan’s playfulness drew me in. Then Mrs. Taute and Mrs. McCormick took over the process of making me musically literate and supporting the development of my voice.  They have challenged me with learning difficult and truly beautiful repertoire, always motivating me to give more in a climate of joy and respect.  They have instilled in me a sense of commitment and reciprocity.  All of our voices work together to make the music.  This is at the heart of my friendships with my fellow singers.  Mrs. Taute and Mrs. McCormick have also helped me to begin to develop a set of public professional skills that will serve me for a lifetime, such as punctuality, professional attire, posture, diction, and delivery.

Over the years we have had so many wonderful opportunities to make music with talented musicians, like the Mastersingers, YOSA, the San Antonio Symphony under both Ken David Masur and Sebastian Lang-Lessing, the San Antonio Opera, as well as visiting directors, like Barbara Baker.  While singing with the Young People’s Choir of New York City I felt the immense power of joining voices with other youth to bring music to the people.  I am forever thankful for my time with CCSA.


Senior Reflections – Daniel Velasquez

DSC_0688 (2)My time in CCSA has been wonderful. I started when I was in the 4th grade, nine years ago, in the junior chorus. I remember how I loved going to rehearsal but how scared I was of making a mistake in front of Mrs. McCormick, however my enjoyment of singing kept me returning week after week. Eventually, I realized that she was just trying to develop me into the best singer I could be. This tradition of excellence and discipline continued throughout my years in CCSA and transitioned into many aspects of life besides choir. Many of my successes, outside of choir, I attribute to the discipline and dedication to detail that I learned from Mrs. McCormick and Ms. Taute.  I have many happy and fond memories, i.e. the first Luminaria; practicing and singing Barbershop with Ms. Taute and her “Men”; singing with the Symphony on my birthday and being transported by pedicab; the New York trip; the very recent composers’ concert and many many more memories.  The friends I’ve made and the experiences I’ve been fortunate to have will be something I’ll always cherish.  Thank you Mrs. McCormick and Ms. Taute for always believing in me!