Sing a new song unto the Lord! God blesses people with a unique ability – to create!
At Concordia, it is very important that we offer our students, families, faculty, and staff opportunities to create and experience music, theatre, and art. We believe strongly in providing a comprehensive stage of offerings for our students to develop a love for fine arts.
Over the last decade, programs have flourished, and God has blessed Concordia with students and leaders that have taken these programs to new levels around Texas and the country. Every school year, TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) distributes several select “Of the Year” awards for fine art and athletic performance and participation.
We are proud to announce that Concordia swept all three of the TAPPS 6A Fine Arts of the Year Awards for 2020-2021 school year!
- Maddy Snideman (Sr.) was named the TAPPS 6A Female Student of the Year.
- Caleb Tiesman (Jr.) was named the TAPPS 6A Male Student of the Year.
- Mr. Michael Palomaki was named the TAPPS 6A Fine Arts Teacher of the Year.
A Decade of Dominance
In the past decade, the Fine Arts programs have earned impressive accolades. Concordia received their first TAPPS Fine Arts of the Year award in 2012-2013. Since then, Concordia has won the Male Student of the Year eight out of nine times! The Crusaders have also won the Female Student of the Year five times and the Teacher of the Year four times. A full list of those honorees is pictured on the side.
From the school year of 2015-2016 to this past year of 2020-2021, these awards have been given five times. (In 2019-2020 no awards were given due to COVID.) In the past five award seasons, Concordia has swept all three Fine Arts awards three times.
Award Recipient Resumes
Snideman was very involved in Fine Arts at Concordia over her four years. In her senior year, she helped lead the Band, Field Band, and Jazz Band while also showcasing her theatrical gifts on stage. She acted as Old Man Warner in this year’s One Act Play, The Lottery, garnering All-Star Cast selection. She again blessed the audience as Lumiere in our Spring Musical, Beauty and the Beast. In previous years, Snideman participated in Choir, Drumline, and Handbells at Concordia as well as traveled the country with band tours to the Upper Midwest and California.
Tiesman was also very involved in many Fine Arts activities at Concordia in just three years. This past year as a junior, he helped lead the choir to the State Championship as well as being in the Chamber Choir. He played the role of Joe Summers in this year’s One Act Play, The Lottery, and earned Honorable Mention All-Star Cast. Then, in our Spring Musical, Beauty and the Beast, he played the lead role of Beast. In addition to his choral and theatrical performances, Tiesman led our Academic, Speech, and Debate team at the 2021 State Competition in both Debate and Persuasive Speaking. In Persuasive Speaking, Tiesman was a State Finalist claiming 3rd place overall, and in Debate, Tiesman finished as a State Semifinalist.
Mr. Palomaki has been leading Concordia choirs for nine years (2012-Present). Over his tenure, our choir has won five State Championships, from 2013-2016 (TAPPS 5A) and most recently in 2021 (6A), in addition to three State Runner-Up finishes in 2017-2019. Due to COVID, there was not a State Championship in 2020, so for the last eight competitions that were awarded, the Concordia choir has placed in the top-2 each year! This past year, Palomaki completed his Masters in Choral Conducting from Sam Houston State University.
Q&A with the Honorees
Question: What do you love about fine arts?
Maddy: “Fine arts have encompassed my entire life. I love how they spark creativity and create a sense of family as you collaboratively bring musical, theatrical, or artistic creations to life. Participating in fine arts brings beauty into the world, whether it be through theatre, music, or art.”
Caleb: “What I love most about fine arts is the families that you get to be a part of. Every single different club or activity becomes a home away from home. I was pretty busy most of the time, but I didn’t care because everyone that I got to be busy with became like a brother or sister to me.”
Question: What inspired you to want to become a choir teacher/conductor?
Mr. Palomaki: “I’ve always had a love for music but being a part of a choir in college completely changed my life. The feeling of singing together and making music to glorify God is incomparable to anything else I’ve experienced. I wanted to be able to share that love and passion with others while hopefully giving them moments that they can cherish and take with them as they move on from Concordia. I’ve witnessed the impact that choral music can have on members of the choir and the audiences that we sing for, and it has been a tremendous blessing to be a part of that at CLHS for the past 9 years.”
Question: Is there anything you’d like to share with younger students in fine arts?
Maddy: “My advice to all younger students is to put 100% effort into the things you care about. As you discover the activities and pursuits that you love the most out of all the choices offered at Concordia, be sure to remember your priorities. What matters most is pursuing what you love, and that in turn will bring happiness to yourself and others.”
Caleb: “I would like younger students interested in fine arts to know that you should try as many clubs/activities as possible. Life is a journey so have some fun along the way. This is also a great way to fine amazing people that can walk with you through your journey.”
Another way in which Concordia’s fine arts programs have gained notoriety is through the TAPPS State Competitions each year. TAPPS awards the Henderson Cup each school year for school’s state competition results in athletics, fine arts, and academics.
In 2020-2021, Concordia was the highest scoring TAPPS Fine Arts school in the Houston Metro (5th consecutive year) across all six divisions of TAPPS, with 26 points toward the Henderson Cup. Points were awarded for state competition results in Academics, Band, Cheer, Choir, Dance, One Act Play, and Orchestra. 13 TAPPS schools in Houston failed to register any Fine Arts points in 2020-2021.
This year specifically, our Fine Arts teams did quite well across the board. The Choir won the TAPPS 6A State Championship, their 8th title in 13 years (10 pts). The Art team placed 3rd at State for the 5th consecutive school year (6 pts). The Band finished 3rd at State, the Field Band group claimed 1st in the 2020 Competition, and the Drumline finished 4th (6 pts). The Cheer team also represented well with a 4th place finish at State (4 pts).
One of the benefits about sending your student to Concordia is the opportunity to be involved in many different activities. Concordia has an expansive list of Fine Art opportunities for students to participate in, and we strive for excellence in everything we do. Many schools do not put as much emphasis on fine arts or have even cut programs due to funding. We value our fine arts and are very thankful for the support given to these students and faculty. Thank you for blessing others with your God-given gifts and talents! We are looking forward to another great year in 2021-2022 with a full list of fine art concerts and productions.