Tears of Joy and Sadness as Brumley
Exits the Stage for the Last Time
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – APRIL 17, 2013 – Senior music
education major Jason Whitney stood in his usual place with the other students
on stage at the end-of-semester concert of the University Master Chorale on
Sunday, April 14 at The Arts Center at The University of Texas at
Brownsville and Texas Southmost
Chorale alumnus Ricardo Delgado presented Dianne Brumley with flowers.
The concert marked the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the
Master Chorale and the final concert for Diane
Brumley, Adjunct Professor and Director of Choral
“I learned so much from Mrs. Brumley, and now I want to be the kind of
teacher she is,” said Whitney, who was honored as the first recipient of the
Dianne Brumley Scholarship Endowment for Choral Music
Stunned, Whitney descended the risers and approached Dennis Mitchell,
Chairman for the South Texas Chorale Foundation Board, as his fellow students
applauded loudly. Several times Whitney wiped away the
“I am so grateful; this is going to help me so much,” Whitney said. “I
don’t receive any federal aid, and have been relying on my music department
scholarship, my work/study job with Mrs. Brumley, and my music scholarship from
Episcopal Church of the
Whitney starting singing at Gutierrez Middle School in Harlingen; he
joined Harlingen High School South’s choral program as a
He finishes his classes this spring and will spend the fall semester
doing his student teaching.
“I feel confident that I can go anywhere now, and be successful because
of how the Music Department at UTB has prepared me,” Whitney said. “Mrs. Brumley
has given me so many opportunities, coaching me toward my goal as a music
educator and a choir director.”
Scholarship recipient Jason Whitney and Dianne Brumley.
The concert also marked the retirement of Brumley as Director of the
Master Chorale. Former students and members of the Master Chorale returned to
honor their former teacher from as far away as Florida and
A Harlingen native and 2002 graduate of Harlingen High School, Valerie
Marroquin Rocha and her husband drove to Brownsville for the event with their
two small children from Pensacola, Fla. where her husband is stationed at Naval
Air Station Pensacola.
“I didn’t even make my own high school reunion but I wasn’t going to
miss this opportunity,” Rocha said. “Mrs. Brumley was such a huge influence on
my life. We all aspired to be like her.”
Rocha was among the first 16 students who made up the Master Chorale in
2003, the year it was founded by Brumley and the university Music
Pedraza flew in from Fort Rucker, Ala. where he is stationed
with the U.S. Army band.
“Going back was a treat, to be there for such a special performance, to
say goodbye to Mrs. Brumley,” Pedraza said. “She was a great choral director,
always willing to help. It was an honor to be under her direction one last
Pedraza, a 2001 graduate from Brownsville’s Rivera High School, was a
member of the Master Chorale from 2006 until 2009, the last year as chorale
president. He also played tuba with the university’s symphony
“Mrs. Brumley has left a lasting impact on all of us,” Pedraza said.
“She has so much knowledge and was able to share that with her students such
that it was meaningful.”
former members of the Master Chorale returned to perform at Dianne Brumley’s
Brumley’s retirement from UTB and TSC was her second in as many years.
In 2011, she and the South Texas Chorale – a 92-voice group accompanied by a
47-piece orchestra, all volunteers – performed a final
At that time, the South Texas Chorale Foundation announced a
scholarship endowment to honor Brumley’s commitment and contributions to music
in South Texas.
“We had a great, 10-year run, and when we decided to close our doors,
the board wanted to have a lasting legacy of the chorale and of our founding
director,” said Mitchell.
Friends and colleagues at the university have also joined in supporting
the endowment with their financial gifts.
“Dianne’s commitment and contribution to music and music education in
South Texas goes unmatched by anyone,” Mitchell said when presenting the first
scholarship to Whitney. “We take so much satisfaction in honoring her and
knowing her dedication is being recognized in a way that continues what she
worked so hard to accomplish for so many years.”
The University Bravo Opera will perform Le nozze di Figaro at 8
p.m. on Saturday, May 4 and 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 in The Arts Center. Whitney
and junior performance major Robert Reyna from Harlingen will each sing
the lead role of Figaro in one of the performances.