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Bishop Dunne Catholic School has Strings classes for beginners, intermediate musicians and advanced musicians. The number of strings students has increased every year for the past five years since teacher Julia Gray-Lion arrived on campus.

Bishop Dunne Falcon Orchestras Scale New Heights, Prepare for Competition, Concerts

On April 7, 2016, the Bishop Dunne Music Department sent its very first orchestra to the Texas Private School Music Education Association (TPSMEA) Concert and Sight Reading Contest, competing at the 3A Varsity level.

This school year marks the fifth year of the string orchestra program at Bishop Dunne and represents a major milestone in the string players' progression of skills. The competition trophy is available for viewing at the front desk.

The orchestra judge complimented the Bishop Dunne Orchestra on their stage presence, etiquette, and hard work in preparing music from the UIL Prescribed Music List. Hearing the comments encouraged the musicians, along with the suggestions for how to grow skills and ensemble sound for future performances.

One of the tunes prepared for the competition stage was performed at the Sounds of Bishop Dunne Concert held earlier this month, Be Thou My Vision, a traditional hymn from Ireland.

To hear the full Strings program, plan to attend the String Orchestra Spring Concert on Thursday, April 28, 2016, at 6:00 p.m., in the Monsignor Milam J. Joseph Auditorium, located at the school at 3900 Rugged Drive, Dallas, 75224. "When the Saints Go Marching In," "Soul Strings," "Soldier's March," "Mango Tango," and "Be Thou My Vision," are among the nine pieces to be played.

Transplanted Texan Teaches Music to All

Strings teacher Julia Gray-Lion is no beginner when it comes to the world of music, but she came to Bishop Dunne to begin a strings program. “I wanted to be part of starting something, and here I could do that.”

A graduate of Oberlin College Conservatory in Ohio, just southwest of Cleveland, she attended high school in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For 14 years she taught music in Arlington ISD, but she was ready for the jump to a new job.

With a degree in music education and math, Ms. Gray-Lion can play a number of instruments well, including viola, cello, and “I played bass in college,” she says. Now she is on the Worship Team at Bar Cross Ranch Cowboy Church in Mansfield, near Alvarado, where “we play everything: Casting Crowns, Cathedral, some Gaither songs.”

She’s a veteran at Bishop Dunne now, having taught five years, which included the 50th celebration and a “Sounds of Bishop Dunne” Concert at the Meyerson in April of 2012. That was a big production that took a lot of practice, but Ms. Gray-Lion was up for the challenge. She believes music “draws people together,” and hopes to get some of her strings students to the point where a group of them can begin performing at different events around town.

She also plans to stay for a long time, because the school is special. But what’s so special about Bishop Dunne? “I like that we’re not just cramming our students’ heads with a bunch of facts and knowledge, but teaching them how to think, how to work out things, how to get along. I especially like the senior service program, where our students can go out into the world to help and serve others.”

Although a favorite around campus, Julia thinks she’s a bit of a nerd and prefers to stay in and read when she’s not out creating music at jam sessions with her friends.  She recently read, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” by Susan Cain, and if she’s any example, she’s quite a powerful force on campus.

But how did this kid from cold and snowy Michigan end up in hot, dry Texas? She says, “My college advisor suggested I come here to work, that the music programs in Texas held promise for a music teacher like me, so I packed up my Cavalier and drove on down.”

For a self-proclaimed introvert, Ms. Gray-Lion is one transplanted Texan who, when it comes to music and teaching, knows how to roar!

 

For more information on Bishop Dunne Catholic School's Fine Arts programs see the school's website: www.bdcs.org  For information on the Strings program at Bishop Dunne contact Julia gray-lion at jgraylion@bdcs.org.

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