Category Archives: Director’s DIARY

Texas State Choirs Today podcast

The Texas State Choirs have launched a new podcast, “Texas State Choirs Today.” Hosted by Associate Director of Choral Activities Jonathan Babcock, the podcast features interviews with guest artists and faculty. This season will include interviews with composers Gwyneth Walker and Jocelyn Hagen; Ralph Allwood, O.B.E. former Precentor and Director of Music at Eton College, UK; as well as faculty artists Marc Reynolds, Craig Hella Johnson and Lynn Brinckmeyer. Episodes are released the first and fifteenth of every month. You can find Texas State Choirs Today on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe today!

Bands to celebrate 100-year history

Three hundred and sixty-five days go by and it is a year. Ten of those years pass and it is a decade. Ten decades pass and the overwhelming feeling of a hundred years passing by is a century filled with rich memories and evolution. The upcoming year, 2019 – 2020, the Bobcat Bands are planning many events to celebrate the Bands’ hundredth anniversary. The Texas State Bands Centennial Music Project is one of the projects taking part in the annual online giving “Step up for State” campaign, which is occurring October 3 through today for 1,899 minutes (corresponding to the year in which the university was founded). The fund drive is an opportunity to support the commission of a new composition dedicated to the elite TXST Wind Symphony.

John Fleming, the dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, asked Dr. Kevin Mooney to write a decade-by-decade history of the music program at TXST. “I’m proud to be a Bobcat, and, being associated with the School of Music, am honored to have been asked to document its history,” Dr. Kevin Mooney said. While researching, Dr. Mooney has found details that contrast to the modern-day marching band of about 350 students. “The Bobcat Band enjoys a reputation for exciting half-time performances and exhibits an impressive force on the field. This is quite in contrast to its early days,” Dr. Mooney said. “Dr. Robert A. Tampke was the first faculty director of the band, as the band was student directed prior to his arrival in 1923. He recalled in a 1978 interview that when they first played as a college band (there were ten or twelve [students] in the band at the time), they were stopped at the gate when they arrived at the field and asked to pay admission.”

“One interesting thing that I discovered was that among the first seventeen faculty members when the doors first opened to students of that first fall class in 1903 was a music teacher, Miss Mary Stuart Butler. Butler Hall here on campus was named after her. She was primarily a voice teacher, but she taught every college student, since at least one music course was required for all students.”

— story by music-major Jennifer Gutierrez

A not-so-radical idea

An op-ed column in today’s paper July 11 by David Brooks reviewed the documentary film “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” about the career and impact of Mr. Rogers and his wonderful children’s TV series, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. The column used the phrase, “radical kindness.” It struck me deeply that this is exactly what our community desperately needs to pour out from its vast supply of human goodness.

Wise words

The Wall Street Journal on April 28 published an opinion column by Peggy Noonan. Though it was about politics, it contained some wise advice for life in general. Here are some quotes, rearranged into verse:

   Don’t lose your composure.  Don’t become sour.  Maintain your poise. 

     Maintain your own standards.  Keep on your game.  Do your best.

       Think long-term.  Speak your mind. 

         Share your heart.

Somos Musicos news celebrates anniversary

TC writes:  This month is the third anniversary of our first post at this news blog of the School of Music at Texas State. Some 200 posts have been published since July of 2014.

Previous to July of 2014, the School of Music published monthly electronic newsletters. Back issues of those can be accessed at

The School of Music continues to thrive as a vibrant center of musical and scholarly activity, and our alumni are doing great things as they serve their community.

Our Shared Values

The Provost has reminded us all of Our Shared Values as a university community, which include valuing . . .
• “A diversity of people and ideas, a spirit of inclusiveness, a global perspective, and a sense of community as essential conditions for campus life”
• “The cultivation of character and the modeling of honesty, integrity, compassion, fairness, respect, and ethical behavior, both in the classroom and beyond”
• “Engaged teaching and learning based on dialogue, student involvement, and the free exchange of ideas
• “A commitment to public service as a resource for personal, educational, cultural, and economic development”
• “Thoughtful reflection, collaboration, planning”

Clark’s Rules for Musician Success

Teaching is not so much imparting knowledge as it is facilitating learning. A teacher is an enabling coach on the sideline; all the on-field action is by the student, the learner.

From a veteran coach, here is a simple but effective playbook. Each rule is a command to action.

Rule 1:   SHOW UP.        Rule 2PAY ATTENTION.        Rule 3DO THE WORK.

Rule 4JOIN A TEAM.        Rule 5PLAN AHEAD.        Rule 6BECOME A LEADER.


Feel free to quote and pass them on!

riding a bike

Exquisite sound in Performing Arts Center

TC writes: Several splendid recent faculty concerts in our Performing Arts Center Recital Hall gave us the pleasure of hearing the live, pure sound of voices, strings, wind instruments, and piano in a wonderfully intimate acoustical space. The faculty are also commenting on their experience performing there. One said, “For a performer, the sound on stage is amazing, so incredibly clear and present. You can hear everything, the most subtle nuances. It is such an honor to perform there in what is for a musician a sacred place.”

JaffeHolden acousticians collaborated extensively with our performing artist faculty, merging their expertise with ours to create an exquisite place to make and listen to classical music. Bravi!

I invite all music lovers to come and experience great music in this beautiful place. Go to Texas State Presents for calendar and tickets.

We mourn and celebrate

TC writes:  “A major point of pride for the School of Music and Texas State is the legacy of John Stansberry. Outstanding musician and teacher, Maestro Stansberry for many years directed our bands and was instrumental in establishing the Texas State Symphony Orchestra. Countless students and colleagues consider ourselves blessed to have had the opportunity to work with him, make fine music with him, and know him as a wonderful human being. We celebrate and cherish the joy and inspiration he has given us.

John passed peacefully this morning, February 17, after many years of decline from Alzheimer’s. His spirit is flying free!

The last time I had the privilege of being with John was a few years ago, when our Wind Ensemble, which he used to direct, gave an invited performance for TMEA in the Lila Cockrell Theater in San Antonio. John was proud of what we were carrying on of his legacy.

It turns out that five days before he died, that same top ensemble, now under the direction of Caroline Beatty, gave a spectacular concert once again for TMEA in Lila Cockrell. (See ‘Wind Symphony tours, triumphs at TMEA‘.) Again John would have been extremely proud.

And now this evening, I just heard a wonderful concert showcasing more than 100 children in our String Project, Hill Country Youth Chorale, and guests from the local Boys and Girls Clubs, playing and singing what they have learned so far this year. They are not quite ready for Carnegie Hall, but proud and full of enthusiasm for making music.

My heart swelled with love for children and love of music at all levels. And consummate music educator John Stansberry was there with us too in spirit. We are all part of a great, unending musical river of beauty and joy.