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Annual Thanksgiving Letter

Dear Vocal Music Family,

With the Thanksgiving Holiday here it seems the right moment to reflect on the blessings received, not the least of which is the opportunity to make music together with your students. Like I’ve said before, I can think of no other art form that so exquisitely teaches us both independence and interdependence than choral music. 

Every culture and tradition has its own answers, and I dare say each of us must have his or her own. It seems to me that tradition and community are central to it all. We talk often in Vocal Music about the basic human need to belong to something bigger than ourselves, and there is no question that in choral music, we have that. It starts with the individual as part of the chorus, but by taking a broader view,we can see that we are part of a tradition that extends back centuries. 

Let us, not only in this season but at all times, remember those to whom we are indebted and take time to remember how this has impacted us in what we do. This art form is sustained and enriched not only by our own efforts, but also by those countless generations who preceded us, and whether they knew it or not, were our teachers. So too, with all the teachers we’ve had, the coaches who have helped us along the way, close friends and our families~your support is not unnoticed. 

Students- over the next weeks, keep your eyes, ears, and hearts open, for if we do our part, this miracle will play itself out again. Sometimes this happens in ways that are clearly visible and sometimes less so, but there is no doubt that it happens, again and again, and that is undoubtedly something for which to be grateful.

With that begin said, what a tremendous semester it has been so far…a great Fall Festival (showcased by our middle school vocal groups), a superb All-State/All-Region process for the high school and middle school students, the announcement of the 2019 National Champions- Music Education Foundation, the December 8th  invitational concert with the Fort Worth Chorale, the collaboration and friendship performance with the OSU choirs and UTA University Singers, and workshops with renowned choral directors and choral composers. This is not to mention the musical, additional community performances, preparation for the national invitational conference (SWACDA), after-school rehearsals, AND academic studies.

Truth be told we should all be going crazy! But with the talent and dedication of our students, the strong support of our parents, the GPFAA administration, and our choir family, I keep finding myself being more and more thankful to each one of you.

The semester is far from finished, but I do want to encourage you to take some time over break and celebrate your accomplishments, and more importantly…each other. Through all these excellent opportunities, we must not lose sight of how we can accomplish them, and that is by supporting and leaning on each other.

Our GPFAA Family Christmas/Holiday show with the Jazz Band strand (Dec. 12th and 13th) will be quickly approaching when we get back. We must be prepared not only with our music, but our energy and our calendars. This event is mandatory for ALL students; this will count as a significant grade. Check our fantastic website (gpfaavm.com) for specific days students are rehearsing, all students will need to be present for dress rehearsal night. We encourage all-vocal music parents to come and enjoy a beautiful production, and please consider volunteering your time to help make this concert successful!

With Warmest wishes for a joyous Thanksgiving Holiday,  

Mr. Joel Duarte and Mrs. Candice Maughan


Quote of the Day:

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments, where our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” ~ Thornton Wilder

#stayhumble #vocalmusicgivesthanks