Duncanville- Duncanville High School Choral group performed “Stand by Me” at Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Centennial Celebration in San Antonio in February. The choral group is led by Director of Choral Activities Jesse Cannon II and Ms Casey LeVie, Assistant Director.The Duncanville high school ensemble was the only group chosen to perform at the opening ceremony of TMEA’s centennial conference.
After COVID-19 forced the closing of Texas schools, members of the Duncanville High School choir, alumni, and staff recorded a virtual version of Ben E. King’s ‘Stand by Me.’ The video premiered May 28, and already has over 1,000 views on YouTube and Facebook.
Choral director Cannon said, “We are really excited with how this project turned out and the message that they share through song. If it’s one thing that this crazy, weird, barely-believable time has shown us, it’s how much we really do need each other. The words to this song have taken on a whole new meaning in the light of what’s going on right now. Still, I believe that we can get through it together – so let’s stand by each other.”
Cannon said, “We missed hearing our kids sing together, so Ms. LeVie and I gave our students this assignment. We created practice tracks and gave very detailed instructions for the students to follow. We have the best students, each of them is extremely talented. There were about 70 of our students that participated in the virtual performance of ‘Stand by Me,’ but due to some technical difficulties and privacy laws, we had to cut some video entries.”
Choral Group Soloist
Trenitee Mackey, a Duncanville HS junior, is the talented soloist for both the TMEA performance and the virtual performance. She has been singing at church services and other community events since she was 11, and has been involved with the choir for almost five years.
“I would like to go to college for music education and musical performance,” Trenitee said. “It’s been difficult not being able to rehearse with other choir members the past few months, but I have hope we’ll be together soon. I look forward to being a choir officer next year and auditioning for the all-state choir. I’m also involved in musical theatre at DHS.”
Choral Director Cannon is VP of TMEA Region XX, an organization of over 12,000 Texas school music educators. Region XX includes Dallas, DeSoto, Duncanville, Ennis, Ferris, Highland Park, Lancaster, Red Oak, Richardson, and Waxahachie. He also serves as Repertoire & Resource Chair for high school mixed choirs, providing resources for use in their classrooms. The Southwest American Choral Directors Association is a music education organization. The region includes Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
This is Cannon’s third year at Duncanville HS, and his eighth year as an educator. He also serves as DISD Secondary Choral Coordinator, working with the district’s middle school directors.
“We spend lots of time working to vertically align the choirs to impact students and build our program,” Cannon said.
The music program at Duncanville HS has 285 students and includes seven ensembles. Concert Men, Concert Women, Intermediate Women, Select Women, A Cappella Choir, Chamber Singers, and Velocity Show Choir are featured groups.
Cannon said, “We are extremely hopeful about coming together again in the fall. Our students need an outlet, and music provides that for many of them.”