Concordia Sweeps TAPPS 6A Fine Arts of the Year Awards for 3rd Consecutive Year
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, our 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 2021-2022 school year!
- Eliza Schumacher (Sr.) was named the TAPPS 6A Female Student of the Year.
- Caleb Tiesman (Sr.) was named the TAPPS 6A Male Student of the Year.
- Mr. Russel Reeder was named the TAPPS 6A Fine Arts Teacher of the Year.
A Decade of Dominance
From the school year of 2015-2016 to this past year of 2021-2022, these awards have been awarded six (6) times. (In 2019-2020 no awards were given due to COVID.) In the past six award seasons, Concordia has swept all three Fine Arts awards four times, including the last three seasons!
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 nine out of ten times! The Crusaders have also won the Female Student of the Year six times and the Teacher of the Year five times. A full list of those honorees is pictured on the side.
Award Recipient Resumes
Eliza Schumacher excelled in Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, One Act Play, and the Musical. In our state champion choir, she served as the choir co-president, Alto 1 section leader, and chamber choir member for four years and is the only female to do that in the last decade. Schumacher was also recognized as a top vocalist in the state by auditioning and earning spots as a member of the TPSMEA All-State Choir for three years as well as a member of the TPSMEA Region 3 Mixed Choir, again, the only female to earn those honors the last decade. She also was a three-year member of the Musical Arts Day National Honor Choir and was a Pavilion Partners Vocal Music Scholarship award winner.
In Theatre, Schumacher was the role of Corrie in this year’s One Act Play, Stages. She earned the “Best Actress” award for the entire district competition. In Shrek The Musical, Schumacher performed numerous key roles and was on stage for most of the show. For her role of Queen Lillian, she earned an “Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role” nomination for the Tommy Tune Awards, which are chosen from over 40 different private and public high schools around the Houston metro.
In TAPPS competitions, in addition to her One Act Play district Best Actress award and being a lead in our One Act Play, Schumacher earned 1 Superior Ratings in numerous vocal events: multiple years on division 1 vocal solos earning TAPPS All-State Honors recognition, Chamber Choir, Ensemble, Women’s Chorale Sweepstakes awards, and Concert Choir’s sweepstakes. In her four years in choir, not counting her sophomore year that was cancelled due to the pandemic, the Concordia Concert Choir has won two State Championships (2021 and 2022) and one State Runner-Up (2019).
Caleb Tiesman was also very involved in many Fine Arts activities at Concordia including Academic/Speech/Debate, Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, One Act Play, and the Musical. This is the second year in a row that he has been nominated and won the TAPPS 6A Fine Arts Male Student of the Year award as he won it as a junior in 2020-2021. This is the second time in school history that a male student has won this prestigious award twice (Will Flynn ’19 won it in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019).
In choir, Tiesman earned spots in the TPSMEA Region 3 Mixed Choir and was a member of the Musical Arts Day National Honor Choir. He also earned 1’s in every vocal ensemble (Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Sacred Ensemble, and Men’s Chorus) he sang in to contribute to the choir’s back-to-back state championship. His constant positivity, humor, friendliness, and Genuity have permeated through the choir and the entire school.
In Academic/Speech/Debate, Tiesman competed in Social Studies and Current Events for Academic Team. For the Speech and Debate side of the competition, he competed in four different events and placed in the top 5 at state in every one: Lincoln-Douglas Debate (Co-State Champion), Persuasive Speaking (3rd), Duet Acting (5th), and Solo Acting (5th). These results helped lead the Crusaders to a 5th place overall team finish at the State Competition this Spring. Tiesman competed in Academic/Speech/Debate all four years at Concordia and was a leader for the younger students by helping mentor and rehearse with the novice team members.
In Theatre, Tiesman was a key actor in multiple One Act Plays including Joe Summers in The Lottery (2020) and Ty in Stages (2021) with both performances earning him All Star Cast honors at the district competition. He also has been the lead male role in the last two school musicals, as Beast in Beauty and the Beast (2021) and Shrek in Shrek The Musical (2022). Caleb brought a unique joy to each rehearsal and helped set an atmosphere that welcomed all and helped bring others to his mix of fun and hard work.
Mr. Russel Reeder joined the staff at Concordia in 2012 and his role has primarily included building and growing a multimedia curricular program which has flourished over the years. Concordia offers four levels of multimedia courses with over 100 students choosing these electives in their schedules.
Recently, TAPPS included three multimedia disciplines as part of the State Art Competition. Each school can submit up to three pieces in each of the three disciplines for a total of nine potential pieces. Concordia submitted five total pieces with three in Short Film Narrative and two in Short Film Documentary.
Under Reeder’s leadership, Concordia’s results were tripods above the competition as Crusaders swept the podium in Short Film Narrative claiming 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in state. In Short Film Documentary, the two Concordia submissions were again voted the top finishing 1st and 2nd in state. The five submission results helped Concordia claim 3rd place at the State Art Competition this spring, which was their 6th consecutive top 3 placement at state.
Sit Down with the Honorees
Question: What do you love about fine arts?
Eliza: “I love how fine art is the perfect outlet for expressing creativity shamelessly. The whole point of performing is to be over the top, expressive, and sharp. You consciously think of lines and lyrics while also staying in the mindset and emotions of the character you’re playing or the piece your performing. It’s the most strenuous, thrilling, and rewarding thing, to be a part of a fine arts program.”
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 do you enjoy about teaching the multimedia classes?
Mr. Reeder: “Concordia has chosen to set high standards and invest in a subject that relates to a billion dollar plus industry, and I am truly blessed to be a part of that. Our kids are extremely creative, and it is so much fun to teach skillsets that allow them to share their visions and express themselves in a professional way.
There are so many important jobs when creating content. I love watching students choose their role and accept the responsibility of becoming a contributing member of a team set out to accomplish a predetermined goal. In that process, students increase self-confidence, become more efficient in their craft, improve peer communication, and develop stronger social skills.”
Question: Is there anything you’d like to share with younger students in fine arts?
Eliza: “My best words of wisdom are to never be afraid to try out and to never set an expectation for what you think the outcome of anything will be. I learned this lesson in two huge ways this year: For the One Act Play, I thought I would get just an ensemble role and then I ended up getting the lead! Then for the musical, I thought I had a shot at being the lead, but then I was assigned seven (7) different ensemble roles and was honored by being nominated for a Tommy Tune Award. The last few years have taught me to never assume what the outcome of something will be because with a field as subjective as this you never know how someone will envision you to fit into their ideas.”
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 find amazing people that can walk with you through your journey.”
Question: Did you have a favorite memory from your time in fine arts at Concordia?
Eliza: “My favorite fine arts memory is a toss-up between winning state in person with my choir, competing at the One Act Play competition and winning best actress in the district, AND closing out the senior tradition of writing my name and all the shows I’ve been in on the walls backstage in the women’s dressing room.”
Caleb: “One of my favorite memories was starting debate with Kennedy W. (Sr.) as freshmen and not only that we made it through four years even through COVID, but we ended up both facing each other in the state finals of Lincoln-Douglas Debate to earn the title of Co-State Champions!
Another favorite memory was participating in the Concert Choir bass sectionals and building friendships and a brotherhood with those guys. We were able to be ourselves and make great music and memories together.”
TAPPS and Henderson Cup
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.
This year specifically, our Fine Arts teams did well across the eight different competitions. In Vocal Music, our choir won the TAPPS 6A State Championship for the second consecutive school year and their 6th title in last decade (10 pts). In Instrumental Music, the Symphonic Band, Drumline, Handbells, and Jazz Band ensembles combined to also win the TAPPS 6A State Championship, their 3rd title in 7 years (10 pts). The Cheer team represented well at the State Championships with a 2nd place finish in the Spirit Division competition (8 pts). The Art team placed 3rd at State for the 6th consecutive school year (6 pts). Finally, our Academic/Speech/Debate team finished inside the top 5 thanks to a solid Speech and Debate effort claiming 5th place overall (2 pts).
In 2021-2022, Concordia was the highest scoring TAPPS Fine Arts school in the Houston Metro for the 6th consecutive year across all six divisions of TAPPS, with 36 points toward the Henderson Cup. Points were awarded for state competition results in Academics, Instrumental Music (Band, Drumline, Handbells, Jazz Band), Cheer, Vocal Music, Dance, One Act Play, and Orchestra. Concordia does not compete in Dance or Orchestra and did not advance to State in One Act Play making their finish among Houston private schools quite impressive considering only recording points in just over half of the fine art competitions. 21 out of 46 TAPPS schools (6A-1A divisions) in Houston failed to register any Fine Arts points in 2021-2022. Concordia’s 36 Fine Arts points totaled more than Cypress Christian, The Woodlands Christian, Northland Christian, Frassati Catholic, Legacy Prep, and Providence Christian’s combined total of 29 points.
One of the benefits about sending your student to Concordia is the opportunity to be involved in many different activities including athletics, ag sciences, clubs/organizations, AND fine arts. Concordia has an expansive list of Fine Art opportunities for students to participate in, and we strive for excellence in everything we do. Over the last decade, several schools around the nation have had to cut fine art programs due to lack of funding. At Concordia, we value our fine arts and are very thankful for the support given to these students and faculty. Thank you, Crusaders, for blessing others with your God-given gifts and talents! We are looking forward to another great year in 2022-2023 with a full list of fine art concerts and productions.