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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 College.
Master Chorale alumnus Ricardo Delgado presented Dianne Brumley with flowers.
Master 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 Activities. 
 
“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 Excellence.”
 
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 tears. 
 
“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 Advent.”
Whitney starting singing at Gutierrez Middle School in Harlingen; he joined Harlingen High School South’s choral program as a freshman.
 
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.
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 Alabama.  
 
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 Department.
 
Rick 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 time.”
 
 
Pe
draza, 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 orchestra.
 
“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.”
 
Thirty-four former members of the Master Chorale returned to perform at Dianne Brumley’s retirement concert.
Thirty-four former members of the Master Chorale returned to perform at Dianne Brumley’s retirement concer
t.
Br
umley’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 concert.
 
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.”
 
Visit this link to learn more about the University Master Chorale. 
 
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.
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