headshot of Frankie Barraza

Frankie Barraza

headshot of Deanna Fitz

Deanna Fitz

headshot of Madison Montague

Madison Montague

headshot of Andrea Sanchez

Andrea Sanchez

headshot of Jay Teamer

Jay Teamer

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Five Stephen F. Austin State University vocal music education students have been awarded scholarships from the Texas Choral Directors Association for the 2022-23 academic year.

“Congratulations to SFA vocal music education majors Frankie Barraza, Deanna Fitz, Madison Montague, Andrea Sanchez and Jay Teamer for being selected to receive Texas Choral Directors Association scholarships,” said Dr. Michael Murphy, director of choral activities for the SFA School of Music. “Students go through a competitive application process in which they submit an application, listing qualifications and honors and achievements, transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. Having one or two students annually receive this award is a great honor. However, having five SFA students selected from 12 across the state is an incredible achievement.”

Barraza, Borger senior; Fitz, Houston junior; Montague, Liberty Hill junior; Sanchez, Kingwood senior; and Teamer, Lewisville senior, each expressed gratitude to TCDA in being selected for the awards.

“Earning this scholarship means the world to me,” Montague said. “I am fortunate enough for this to be the second scholarship that I have received from TCDA. Scholarships like these allow me to focus on school rather than having to worry about the cost of attending school, which I am also very thankful for.”

“This is a big honor, because a committee of established choir directors from all over the state select the recipients,” Teamer said. “I'm very thankful and humbled to have been selected because the committee of choir directors saw something in me that was worthy enough of investing money into my education here at SFA. We have some of the best music professors that I'm so grateful to have learned from. The experiences I've had in their classrooms have helped in making amazing opportunities like this happen for me.”

“Earning this scholarship brings me much needed tuition relief,” Barraza said, “which in turn will relax my financial situation over the course of this semester, thus allowing me to focus on practicing my craft and my academic studies.”

Upon learning of her scholarship award, Fitz said it was “encouraging to have the support of an amazing organization,” like TCDA. “By being a recipient, I felt empowered that the organization shared the same values and beliefs that I have, like safety in community and passion for music,” she said. “This is just another stepping stone towards the future of students I would be blessed to help mold.”

Sanchez was selected for TCDA’s Jackie Cocke scholarship. “Earning this scholarship felt very rewarding, and I am honored to have been chosen,” she said. “When reading through Jackie’s accomplishments, I appreciated the scholarship even more. Her contributions to music education will surely not be forgotten. Receiving this scholarship will help pay my tuition for my last year at SFA.”

Sanchez hopes to student teach in the Dallas area during the spring semester of 2023. After graduation, she will either attend graduate school or become a choral educator in Texas. During her college career, she has been involved with Sigma Alpha Iota, an international music fraternity, holding various officer positions, including editor, sergeant-at-arms and president. She has been a research and interview assistant for choral conducting and was a student conductor for this year’s TCDA convention. She received a voice scholarship from the voice faculty at SFA for the 2021-22 school year.

Teamer plans to attend graduate school “to broaden my horizons” and, following that, he’s looking forward to teaching choir at the middle school or high school level. Among his accomplishments at SFA are as an Undergraduate Research Conference College of Fine Arts presenter (spring 2021), president’s list, dean’s list, Gammill Voice Scholarship recipient, School of Music Scholarship recipient, Orientation Leader of the Year (2021) and Jack Walker Rookie of the Year (2021).

Before coming to SFA, Barraza made the Texas All-State Choir for four consecutive years. After auditioning at SFA, she was offered a top choral scholarship and enrolled as a music education major. The accomplishment of which she is most proud is her success as an academician, having been on the dean’s list since her freshman year and on the president’s list last spring. “None of this would’ve been possible if I would not have come to a university that fostered and nurtured my growth as a musician,” she said. “I am eternally grateful to all of the faculty here at SFA for giving me a home away from home.”

Fitz hopes to teach music in high school and eventually on a collegiate level. While in high school, she was selected to District Choir for two years, was a member of the Houston's Girl Chorus, held educative positions in choir council, and was president of the voice club.

Montague looks forward to becoming a high school or college choral director, and she said she is proud of being a first-generation college student.

For information about the choral program at SFA, contact the SFA School of Music at (936) 468-4602.