Notes From Mr. D


Fall 2016

Welcome back to what I’m sure will be another exciting and memorable year of music-making for our all our students. I hope you and your families have had a chance to spend some good quality time this summer.

I’m looking forward to starting fresh with all five of our choruses. I’ve spent a great deal of time choosing repertoire for each group that I’m certain the singers will enjoy learning and performing—and our audiences will be pleased to listen to.

Please take time to look over the dates on this year’s calendar, as well as other topics on our music website. From the updated voice teacher list, to trip information and concert attire, almost everything you need to be aware of is posted on this site. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to contact me or our Choral Booster President Elise Browne Hughes.

Before I go any further, I would like to extend the greatest of thanks and gratitude to Elise. Over the past several years, she has volunteered countless hours of her time to chair and work so many aspects of our large organization. Most notable is concert dress, especially for Men’s Chorus. It is not an understatement to say that one of the reasons the students look as polished as they do is because of Elise’s dedication. She has also been key to assuring that parents stay informed of all the goings-on of our choral program. Please do me a favor, and thank her for me and all of us.

In fact, my gratitude goes to so many parents—past, present, and future—who volunteer for the many jobs behind the scenes that are necessary to help make our program what it is. If you haven’t yet, please consider volunteering for one of these positions today. Parental support and involvement is fundamental to successful music programs, and our music parents are second to none.

By now, I know that you have likely signed up for our listserv, Choralnet. Throughout the year, Elise and I will post important information that you and your child need to be aware of to stay current with class happenings, performance/rehearsal details, and other critical news. Complete instructions for how to subscribe are here.

Now on to important information regarding the coming school year. In addition to our yearly events such as the Winter Choral Concert, Festival of the Arts, MCPS Assessments, etc. I would like to mention a few unique events, three in particular:

  • “JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR”—We are very excited to perform the Whitman premiere of this exceptional work as our fall musical. The piece is rock opera at its best, and is poised to become a favorite, (as it was when I was in high school) of a whole new generation. This is our first major project of the year as a performing arts department. Many of our singers will be in the cast and on a production crew. As a matter of fact, the musical has become a showcase of so many of our talented students in the choral and instrumental programs.
  • MMEA CONFERENCE PERFORMANCE—Chamber Choir, Men’s and Women’s Choruses have been invited to perform at the annual Maryland Music Educators Association Conference in Baltimore February 10 or 11 (date TBD shortly). We will present a “Performance Plus” session as a showcase to music educators of all levels, one where each group will perform a set and demonstrate various techniques and strategies to help colleagues build a successful high school choral programs.
  • ANNUAL MUSIC TRIP TO ORLANDO—For decades, we’ve traveled to Orlando every three years for our annual music trip, which allows our sophomores, juniors, and seniors to all experience the trip once while they are in the choral program. This time around, we have chosen Universal Studios as our festival site. Our upper level groups will compete in the Music USA High School Competition; the intermediate groups will participate in professionally led and designed recording sessions used in animated films. All of this will take place around our home base, the beautiful Cabana Bay Beach Resort on the Universal grounds.

I’d like to extend a hearty welcome to the incoming freshmen—the class of 2020. I’ve heard that you are a wonderful, warm-hearted, kind, and, of course, talented group of young people. We welcome you and yours into our large Whitman Choral Family, and I look forward to working with you and showing you the Whitman way to make memorable music for a lifetime.

Lastly, parents, THANK YOU so much for your financial support. Your prompt payment of the annual $20 MCPS class fee, as well as your yearly booster dues of $100 is greatly appreciated. It would be nice to think that MCPS pays for the myriad of materials and expenses that are needed to run a large program such as ours. But, as with most school systems, it simply doesn’t. We are dependent on your generosity to provide this outstanding program for your child. And, trust me when I say, it is so appreciated. Payment and donation instructions can be found here.

Please join us at our concerts, festivals, and shows, as well as at our Sept. 15 booster meeting and our annual chorus parents party on Oct. 16.

All the best for another year of music and memories.

—Mr. D