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Vicki Valderas, Michael Valderas and Douglass Harrell

More than 64,000 students from across the state competed this year for positions in 15 All-State ensembles. Michael Valderas, a senior at W.T. White, was one of only 1,600 pupils selected for the honor. He performed with the Texas All-State Choir in San Antonio earlier this month. It was his first time on stage with the group.

In 2014, Valderas’ mom, Vicki, who works at W.T. White, told The Dallas Morning News she was surprised to learn of her son’s singing ambitions.

“When he told us he wanted to be in the choir, we thought, ‘No way.’ He was so shy,” she said. “But Mr. Parker has brought the best out of him. He does that with a lot of these kids. He gives them confidence.”

“Mr. Parker” is Michael Parker, the former choir director at W.T. White. His retirement in 2014 was kind of a big deal. He conducted his final concert at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. In anticipation of the event, we interviewed Parker about his long, impactful career.

Dr. Douglass Harrell is the current choir director, pictured in the photo above.


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