Please use your "back" link or arrow to return to our revised NW ACDA website.

April, 2012
"I just feel so sorry for anybody that ain't us!"

by Solveig Holmquist, President, NW ACDAholmquist

I've got a good friend who is known for exclaiming during good parties, " I just feel so sorry for anybody that ain't us!" That was pretty much my thinking throughout our 2012 NW ACDA Conference, which concluded last Sunday in Seattle. The whole thing just felt blessed, from beginning to end, and since returning home I've had a bit of time to reflect on why that might be.

It started with incredibly meticulous planning on the part of Program Chair Gary Weidenaar, who assembled a very smart and hardworking team to think of and plan all of the details of this most tightly packed four days. It's incomprehensible how many hours they all put in; students and ex-students were the stars of the team, including Gary's assistant Kim, student helper coordinator Micah, Matt at the control booth, and Miket and Angela overseeing tech support and equipment for the interest sessions.

All of the the groups selected to perform were of the highest quality, making us shake our heads during each concert hour at how lucky we were to be hearing such performances by our friends' choirs.

The selection process was in Gary's job description, too, again with a skilled team of screeners for states and division.

Bruce Browne awarded the Leadership, Excellence in and Devotion to the Choral Arts Award; March 17, 2012

browne1My dear Colleagues and Friends:

Because I was so completely blindsided by the award from you last weekend, I was left with little to say except an awkward joke and paltry thanks. So I’d like to add these heartfelt greetings to you all.

I am so proud to be in the company of those who have been nominated to this wonderful award. It made my day, my weekend, and my year!  “Humbled” is not the word: I felt two feet tall! Beyond that, I have to recognize the others who came before me in my own choral career, without whom I could have accomplished very little.

We live in a kleptocracy.  The arts is one place where one may – after a fashion – freelybrowne2 “borrow” ideas from colleagues and master conductors with whom they’ve worked. My artistic perspective would be very narrow if I had not learned from the likes of  Rod Eichenberger, Helmut Rilling, Robert Shaw, Andrew Parrot, Eric Ericson, Frieder Bernius, James DePreist, Arthur Newman, and James Schwartz.

No, you don’t know either of the last two names.  But Mr. Schwartz, my high school choir director, gave a nervous ninny of a fifteen year old some ideas about Lukas Foss, Aaron Copland, and Jacobus Gallus, among many others.  So those of us who are teaching high school and middle school, in my opinion, are the heroes of baton passing in the arts.

Arthur Newman showed me how to sing. I’ve never stopped using his ideas in working with singers in any choir.

And Rod Eichenberger, choral godfather to many of us who grew up in this part of the country in the ‘70s and ‘80s; he keeps on giving through his workshops on the Oregon coast which many of you have attended, and I’ve profited immensely from his mentorship.

As you all know, we as mentors and teachers also learn from our students, as it works both ways. I am continually reinvigorated by my former and current students in schools and churches around the country.

As for all of you, if I’ve been a rehearsal or concert with you, I’ve stolen an idea or two, for which I do NOT apologize, but thank you for your contribution. Any evidence to the contrary, I’ll keep learning from all of you.

Sincere thanks!


I am especially proud of our good fortune in securing the Ansan City Choir and the Kammerchor Stuttgart, as well as the Vancouver Cantata Singers. We couldn't stop talking about their performances, any one of which were worthy of inclusion in a national conference. The Korean choir's performance, particularly, was a visual feast as well as an aural one, as Twyla Brunson wrote in an email. Special kudos to Peter Park and to Bruce and Daryl Browne who facilitated and supervised the Ansan and Stuttgart visits, respectively.

And, speaking of the Browne's. I was so pleased to see this year's prestigious Leadership and Service Award going to Bruce Browne. He has served the choral art beautifully in our division. Bruce was president of NW ACDA in the 1980's and led a wonderful convention in Portland. But in recent years is even better known for his superb choral work at both the university and professional level. He is truly a NW treasure for us all.

Stacy Winn Brown assembled a crack team of honor choir chairs, plus a chaperone coordinator,  topped off by honor choir conductors who are household names. Those lucky kids! And lucky us, to be able to hear and see the inspiring performances on Sunday afternoon. It was so clear that all of the students treasured the experience, and I for one was moved to tears as I witnessed the next generation getting hooked!

It was fun to have the long-suffering help of Katie Lewis and Craig Gregory, from the national office in OK City. I fear they never left the Spruce Room!

Another who saw almost nothing of the conference, since she was at our service continually, was our division treasurer, Carol Stewart Smith. An accountant, she governs our books and our finances as a labor of love. She's literally the reason we are in good shape. Did you also know that she's a church choir director? What a sacrifice, to work in that little room when she'd paid to attend the conference! [Full disclosure: we travelled home together on the train, and Carol slept for the entire four-hour trip.]

Site chairs Matt and Naomi Strauser did yeomen's work as site chairs for Town Hall, and all of the concert arrangements went off beautifully. Once again, people who really didn't get to attend the conference, working behind the scenes so that the performing choirs and we in the audience could have a seamless artistic experience.

Did you attend any of the fine reading sessions? Please thank not only the R&S Chairs who planned them, but most especially our industry representative Wendy McKee of JW Pepper, who assembled all of the packets. To fully appreciate the sheer number of those packets, you should have seen the Madrona Room the night before the conference began: the stacks were literally mind-boggling.

And we will all benefit from Howard Meharg's photographic skills when pictures from the conference start showing up on the website!  He seemed to to be everywhere, and that meant lugging some very heavy equipment over some long distances.

Finally, I want to suggest another big factor which I believe contributed in no small measure to the success of this conference: it was held in now-familiar setting. In the course of the weekend I kept thinking how happy everyone seemed, how there was a palpable energy everywhere I went.

I really believe that because we were freed from the stress of getting accustomed to a new setting, of worrying about being late because we got lost, we were more relaxed. All of our venues were within easy walking distance, we had gotten a sense of where the best eating places were, the rates at the conference hotel had been reduced to a manageable amount -- all contributed to that positive energy. OK, it snowed on St. Patrick's Day, but that was fun.

I do know there are arguments for moving from city to city within the division for these conferences, but please consider if any other location can offer the frequency of flights and advantages of excellent venues for our use. We do know we're contracted to be in Seattle for the 2014 conference; after that, the president will be able to decide. I urge you to think about this, and to make your thoughts known. I'm just putting it out there for consideration, that we should make Seattle the permanent site. NW ACDA has the largest geographic area of any division, and we have the responsibility of making our conferences accessible

If  indeed you were someone who had to miss this conference, I do feel sorry that you "weren't us!" The next one will be here before we know it. Right, Gary? Looking forward to seeing you there!


muehleisen-kyrNorthwest composers provide a rich source for literature performed at the conference

If you attended every concert, including the "Jazz Night" event and the "Interfaith Music in Worship Service," you heard about 170 songs at the NW ACDA conference from Thursday afternoon, March 15 to Sunday, March 18 where we concluded with the Honor Choir concerts. Around 15% of the choral literature used by the choirs of the conference was composed or arranged by northwest composers.

Several of these composers had more than one song programmed. Here is a complilation of names of northwest composers and arrangers (hoping we've missed no one):

Eric Banks, Dan Davison, Marc Hafso, Bern Herbolsheimer, Judy Herrington, Jeff Horenstein, Ken Kraintz, Robert Kyr, Anne Lyman, John Muehleisen, Richard Nance, Michael Saunders, Standford Scriven, Vijay Singh, Ethan Sperry, Joan Szymko, Karen Thomas, Reg Unterseher, Norm Wallen, and Giselle Wyers.



January 31, 2012

Patrick Ryan elected president-elect of NW ACDA

by Soryanlveig Holmquist, President, NW ACDA

Today, Craig Gregory at the National Office wrote to tell me that the balloting for NW President-Elect has resulted in Patrick being named the winner. Congratulations, Patrick! Craig added that it was a very close race, which isn't surprising with two such strong and highly qualified candidates on the ballot.

My deep thanks and gratitude to you both for being willing to take on this vitally important role in ACDA. Our division would have been well served with with either of you in the position. It's clear that our membership agreed.


December 13, 2011

Register now! The best Christmas gift you've ever given yourself...and those who sing in your choirs.holmquist

"Attending a conference where we're together with choral colleagues as we hear and perform choral music, learn about how it's all done and being exposed to new creations is basically our daily life experience multiplied and on steroids!"

by Solveig Holmquist, President, NWACDA

You're all ready for Christmas, right? This being December 13, of course not! The holiday season can be compared in some ways to all of our concerts and in fact our concert seasons, can't it? We know the dates, we plan the repertoire long in advance, we have an organized preparation schedule, we've been doing this work for years so we know how to roll with the unexpected setbacks -- yet it seems there's no way to avoid the last-minute flurry of details that must be coordinated just at the end.

Personally, I've learned to consider that flurry part of the fun, making all of the event real at last. That was true even when (or maybe especially when) I was involved full time in church music. All the extra services and meetings were a large part of what Christmas was about. (Full disclosure: members of a church musician's family are often collateral damage. My grown sons don't attend church now. But that's material for another sort of column.) 

So it is with conference planning. I know you're aware that a vast amount of planning and detail work has already gone on, in preparation for our NW Division Conference in Seattle, March 15-18.

The heavy lifting has been done by Gary Weidenaar, Program Chair and Division President-elect, and he's done a masterful job with this unbelievably complicated responsibility. All of us on the conference committee followed a time-honored plan in selecting the venues, performing groups, interest session presenters, honor choir singers and their respective conductors -- all those vital components and more are in place, ready for your conferencing pleasure.

NOW IT'S YOUR TURN! We've built it, expecting and hoping that you will come. 

Criag Gregory, Division Liaison at the National Office, has reported that there are now (Dec. 13) about 35 people pre-registered. Of course we expect there'll be lots more -- there always are -- but when I asked Craig how this very low number compares to other years and other divisions, he said that it's pretty typical, and that there's a massive flurry of activity at the last minute (just like Christmas?). Maybe Christmas seems more fun as the flurry of activity increases, but conferences (and concert seasons) are actually a lot more fun for the planners if all details are set. And if registrations come in early, the staff at the National office can do its best for us.

Here's my big suggestion to us all as we head into the new year: break with tradition and REGISTER NOW!

If you already know you'll be attending, just get that part done so that you can cross that detail off your list. That feels as good as finding the right present. OH WAIT! That IS the right present! Call it the best gift you ever received.

And if you're either on the fence about attending or hadn't even considered it, my advice is exactly the same: REGISTER NOW. It'll be one of most important gifts you ever gave yourself. (Those who wouldn't miss a conference already know that -- they're just procrastinating.) But for you who've never been part of a conference, consider this: choral music is arguably the most intensely human of all musical activity, in that it involves setting of deeply meaningful texts on music specifically designed to express those texts. And what's more, those texts and those melodies are brought to life by the human voice, not alone but in community! None of those levels of group insight are possible with a symphony or a piano sonata. 

Aren't we lucky to have choral music as our life's work?

But wait, there's more! Attending a conference where we're together with choral colleagues as we hear and perform choral music, learn about how it's all done and being exposed to new creations is basically our daily life experience multiplied and on steroids!


March 14, 2011

Solveig sums it up; the Chicago ACDA Conference of 2011

Jholmquistust back from the National Conference in Chicago last night, I’m amazed as always at how much professional growth and artistic blessing we pack into those few short days.

It was an outstanding event, well planned and coordinated, and Chicago was a fun place to be. Around 5000 ACDA members thought so, as we hurried back and forth from venue to venue, stopping to chat with long-lost friends on the way.

All the nearby restaurants were packed with people whose every third word was “rehearsal” or “repertoire”. I’d say we pretty much owned that section of town from March 9-12, and when we did go on field trips to Jazz Night or to Rockefeller Chapel, the line of buses was really impressive. chicago

Even on Saturday, ACDA members were easy to spot: we were the ones NOT wearing green plastic hats and downing huge mugs of beer at 10:00 in the morning, as the St. Patrick’s Day parade came through.

I guess I’m pretty slow to grasp some big ideas. Sorry about that. Here’s the one that hit home as I browsed through the conference materials on the plane ride home: ACDA isn’t an executive committee or an office full of workers in Oklahoma City. It’s us. Yes, that’s been said often enough, but the concrete truth of it jumped out as I circled all the NW Division mbrowne-etcembers (and selected singers) who contributed to the rich fabric of this experience. You’ll see as I list them – but please be kind if I missed somebody. Please write to tell me, in that case.

First, the NW people who served on the Conference Committee, and whose planning has occupied several years of work: Program Chair, Bill Mayclin; Jr. High/MS Honor Choir Commissioned Composer, Dan Davison; Women’s Honor Choir Chair, Nicole Lamartine;  Onsite Transportation, Brian Galante.

Two NW members serve on the National R&S Committee, and were active in securing the many, varied, and fine interest sessions: Male Choirs, Ethan Sperry, and Vocal Jazz, Kirk Marcy, both of whom also presented interest sessions themselves, as did Geoffrey Boers, who teamed with Weston Noble in an interest session

Increasingly, the Technology Committee makes our ACDA work more organized and easier to share. That seven-member committee includes Brian Galante, Julie Parsons, and Howard Meharg.

Three NW ensembles were selected to perform during Concert Sessions: the 36 singers in The Esoterics, led by Eric Banks; the 55-member Rex Putnam H.S. A Cappesotericsella Choir, under the direction of John Baker; and “Vocal Jazz I” from Central Washington University, whose 18 singers are directed by Vijay Singh. They did us proud, and I even heard that The Esoterics gave a private performance of their entire concert to Executive Director Tim Sharp at a late-night party!

NW composers whose works were prominently featured in the Concert Sessions:
Vijay Singh (Vocal Jazz I, WA), Ethan Sperry (The Counterpoints, IN, and University of Kentucky Men’s Chorus, KT), Joan Szymko (Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, FL, and University Women’s Choir “Cantala), WI),

Foboersur NW people were featured in Button Hole Sessions, making themselves available for one-on-one conversations on these topics: Ethan Sperry, Male Choirs, Kirk Marcy, Vocal Jazz; Joan Szymko, Composition; and Karen Fulmer, H.S. Choir.

The National Honor Choirs included 46 hard-working singers from our NW Division. They all had a wonderful time preparing exciting and moving performances.  Here’s the tally:
Children’s Choir: 12 singers: 2 from OR, 7 from WA, 3 from WY
Jr.High/MS Choir: 8 singers: 1 from OR, 2 from WA, 5 from WY.
Women’s Choir: 11 singers: 2 from AK, 2 from OR, 3 from WA, 4 from WY
Men’s Choir: 15 singers: 3 from AK, 4 from OR, 5 from WA, 3 from WY.

Speaking of the Honor Choirs and their performances, works by NW composers was also featured
there. In addition to the specially commissioned piece by Dan Davison for the Jr.High/MS group, compositions by Judith Harrington and Peter Robb were performed by the Children’s Choir, and the Women’s Choir opened their concert with a terrific piece by Joan Szymko.

Two members of the NW Board could be found working hard in their booths in the
Exhibit Halls (Perhaps the largest on record?) Seriously, you could be lost for days there): Wendy McKee, our Industry Representative, was in charge of the huge and busy J. W. Pepper area, and Frank de Miero, NW Jazz R&S Chair, was meeting and greeting colleagues in his Sound Music Publications booth. Earthsongs Publishing of Corvallis also had a booth handled by Twila Hunsaker, Stephanie Mehlenbacher, and Kurt Mehlenbacher.

Many of your NW Board officers attended the conference, of course. Here are the ones I saw:  Richard Nance, Past President; Howard Meharg, Webmaster (and one of the official photographers for the National Conference); Sue Schreiner, OR President; Russ Otte, OR Past President; Leora Schwitters, WA Past President; Lori Wiest, WA Pres-elect; Nicole Lamartine, WY President; Katrina Rooney, WY Pres-elect; Marcia Patton, Children’s R&S; Karen Thomas, Community Choir R&S; Frank De Miero, Jazz R&S, Reg Unterseher, Male Choirs, Kurt McKee, Multicultural R&S, Kirk Aamot, Student Activities R&S, Twyla Brunson, Secretary and Membership Chair; Brian Galante, Program Layout, and Stacy Winn, 2012 Honor Choir Chair.

I want to list other attendees I spotted, in the sure and certain knowledge that I’m missing a bunch of people because we were on different tracks, or our paths didn’t cross (in that mass of people), or I simply forgot somebody I actually talked to.

As I said before, please do write and tell me if you were there, so I can add you to the list! So, others included Loren Wenz, Paul Klemme, Pat Patton, Leslie Guelker-Cone (also a WA Past Pres.), Kerry Burtis, Helen Dietz, Renee Henderson, Bruce Browne, Doree Jarboe, Mia Savage, Elizabeth Southwood, Diane Retallak, Mark Slegers, Peter Park, John Muehleisen, Steve Demorest, Justin Wisness, David Anderson, Morna Edmsaltzman-fulmerundson, John Hendrix, Tim Fitzpatrick, Wendy Moy, Penny Cramer, Carrie Rice, Erin Gabriel, Linda Berg, Pam Nordquist, Thonda Juliano, Richard Sparks, Karlene Miles, Jeshua Franklin, Jim Jirak, Jeremiah Selvey, Roberta Jackson, Debra Burgess, Pete Nordquist, Michael Connolly, Katrina Rooney, Bob Hussa, Beth Keene, Sean Ambrose, Susan Cogdill. There really have to have been more. I'm sorry if I missed you!

I’ve saved two names for last, because they have both achieved the highest position in ACDA, that of National President. One is Royce Saltzman, National President from 1979-1981, and the other is Karen Fulmer, current President-elect Designate. We are so very proud of both of these leaders, since they are the only two National Presidents to have been elected from the NW, by far the smallest division. As many of you probably know, Royce even went on to found and serve as President of IFCM.  You who know them can attest that these capable and thorough leaders of distinction never stop working on behalf of ACDA.

We can certainly be proud of the contribution to this year’s National Conference, made by members of the NW Division! (Please offer a round of applause at this time.)

Finally, I must call attention to at least two of the names from this year’s In Memorium list: we have lost both Joyce Eilers Bacak and Richard Dalzell. It is possible that others listed in the conference program were from the NW.  If so, please let me know.

Obviously, attending a National Conference is an expensive undertaking. If you were unable to attend for that or for schedule conflict reasons, do mark your calendar for our upcoming NW Conference, to be held in Seattle from March 15-18, 2012. It promises to be exciting and fun: more details will be forthcoming as soon as all arrangements are finalized. Please consider auditioning to have your group selected to perform; information regarding the process is linked to this website, as well as the call for interest sessions.

I’ll see you in Seattle next year, and hopefully in Dallas, TX in 2013!

All best wishes,
Solveig Holmquist
President, NW Division


September, 2010

Learn a new word; get serious about about "going to the well" for inspiration and personal growth!

by Solveig Holmquist, President, NW Division

Hholmquistere we go – time to get serious about our work and our schedules. Summer is just so much fun, with hectic vacation getaways interspersed with time spent sipping iced tea on the deck, just staring into space. No matter what our “day jobs” are, summer is promoted in the media as a total change of pace, so we just oblige by being casual about a lot of things, right? Not such a bad thing.

There’s even a word for this: foostering, a time of pre-creative procrastination, when the brain and spirit are PREPARING to get serious. Foostering is a crucial part of what we do, right?

Well, I teach at a state university on the quarter system, so admittedly I’ve got a couple of weeks before the alarm clock has to be set. I know that some of you have been back in harness for a while, but I’ll bet you remember foostering.

But now – time to get serious.  Even if your music has been planned for the whole year and all your rehearsals have been mapped out, it’s time to remember to take care of your self. Plan now to go to the well for inspiration and personal growth:


The registration details will be coming out in October, so now’s thnationale time to lay the groundwork with administrators, pastors, potential hotel room-mates. Oh yeah, spouses, too. You’ve read these exhortations in columns like this for years, I know, and you probably fall into one of two groups: 1) you’ve never been to a national conference, and though it sounds interesting you’ve yet to be convinced; 2) having attended before, you’re a committed attendee.

The Chicago attractions are many, and are elaborated on the ACDA homepage: guest choirs Taipei Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Kammerchor Children’s Choir, Musica Intima, and Chanticleer, who will perform the Brock Commission piece by Stephen Sametz.

(Only) two tracks attending concerts in Roosevelt Auditorium and Symphony Hall. Saturday immersion day for church choirs and their directors. Two worship services, one at Rockefeller Chapel planned by John Ferguson and conducted by Anton Armstrong, the other a shabat at Anshe Emet Synagogue with cantor Alberto Mizrahi. 

National Honor Choirs led by Henry Leck, Rollo Dilworth, Lynne Gackle, and Peter Bagley. Six jazz choirs on Friday night. Selected choirs from each of the seven ACDA Divisions. Final night performance, Elijah, conducted by Helmuth Rilling with the Chicago Symphony and Symphony Chorus. Well-planned interest and reading sessions, with reading packets available online.

A full and rewarding schedule, for sure – but the true value of our national conferences to our membership is the whole package, the intangible inspiration that comes from attending these events with our colleague, meeting new friends, and talking about the choral art. This total package, multiplied by the number of members who attend, deepens our overall national contribution to our art: our rehearsals and performances are irrevocably influenced; as directors we have a richer and stronger commitment to all the aspects of what we do; we understand the power of choral music to enrich and inform the human experience.

If this all sounds too lofty, too idealistic, maybe you’re part of Group 1).  If you could have written this column in the hope that more of your friends will make the trip this time, you’re part of  Group 2), no doubt about it!

See you in Chicago!

Solveig Holmquist, President
NW Division ACDA



August 2, 2010

by Solveig Holmquist

holmquistHello, ACDA friends,

I greet you for the first time as NWACDA President, and find myself just as tongue-tied (well, just as writer’s-blocked) as any of my predecessors or current colleagues say they’ve been in this position. Isn’t that silly? That makes as much sense as thinking you have to be profound at a family reunion, when in fact it’s simply a time to enjoy being together. You can see the parallel, of course, since this bond we share, this passion for the choral art, is what creates the ACDA family. That’s our genetic heritage, and what gives us the intriguing ability to instantly connect with ACDA colleagues we’ve never met.

A few months ago I was sitting at dinner with my father at the residential care center where he now lives, and one of the aides leaned over and said, “That man over there is quite a musician, too. He sings for the residents whenever he visits his mother.” I walked over and introduced myself, and within about 24 seconds found myself deep in choral talk with Professor Paul Smith, choral director at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas and ACDA member, Southern Division. There weren’t even six degrees of separation!  OK, we’re alike in having parents who are wheelchair bound and unable to converse, but it felt so positive and fun to discover all the ACDA friends we had in common. With each of his visits to Oregon we chat about repertoire and other choral matters, and I share his joy in the near completion of their chapel/recital hall.  I also now understand when his mother conducts, as I play the piano for the residents!

Many years ago, as Oregon ACDA President, I wrote a column about the benefits of ACDA membership, saying that really it’s the only way for over-scheduled choir directors to have any friends. I think I should alter the phrasing now and say that it’s possible that ACDA provides our most meaningful friendships. Isn’t it true that any time we’re together, either at meetings or conferences or even chance encounters, it’s satisfying not to have to explain our lives?  Isn’t it true that we learn incalculable life lessons from each other, often through the deep communication of music? Doesn’t someone say at almost every ACDA gathering that we are incredibly lucky to be able to live this vocation that has chosen us?

Earlier this summer several I attended the National Leadership Training event in Chicago, along with NW ACDA leaders NW President-elect Gary Weidenaar, State Presidents Patrick Ryan (Montana), Sue Schreiner (Oregon), and Nicole Lamartine(Wyoming), and of course our own Karen Fulmer, National President-elect Designate. Though with 40 state presidents and many other leaders there, as well as members of the professional staff, you’d think the event would be formal and by necessity impersonal, exactly the reverse was true: I know I speak for all of the NW contingent in saying we felt the friendship of shared goals and interests instantly. The home office staff became people with faces and personal lives, instead of the disembodied voices we’d interacted with.

What became immediately obvious at the leadership event was that ACDA is changing rapidly, strengthening and looking forward in exciting ways. We all know that changes in the executive structure over the past few years have been accompanied by occasional chaos and confusion – let’s compare it to buying a new house and accomplishing the move from the old one: fun but frustrating. Now this “move” is almost finished and we can look up to see that the view is fabulous! You’ll be hearing the details of the new initiatives in the coming months.

One big change involves the Choral Journal, which is now more comprehensive in scope and incorporating practical information that the membership has been asking for. Overall, you’ll find that the ACDA leadership is committed to speaking more directly and interactively to choral directors where we do our choral work: in other words, being responsive to the mission of the organization.

Please look online and in the CJ for information about the National Conference in March, to be held in Chicago. Yes, we need and can use ACDA resources every day, but national ACDA conferences are our opportunities to go to the well in every sense. A Washington ACDA colleague told me just last week that a few years ago he was ready to leave the profession. The pressure was getting to him and it all now just seemed like hard work. Then he attended a national conference in which he  heard a women’s choir from Finland.  His life was literally changed as he realized that he was no good to himself or anybody else unless he intentionally provided beauty in his life, provided by someone else. He’s made some big changes in his daily life, but he also says he’ll never miss a national conference!

I’m honored to serve you and ACDA as your NW President. I plan to contribute a column at the beginning of every month; that way it’ll feel like more conversation than intimidating lecture, and long or short, there might be something that would spark a conversation. It’s going to be fun getting to know each other.

Musically yours,
Solveig Holmquist
NWACDA President


January, 2010

President-Elect, Solveig Holmquist INVITES and URGES you to attend the NW ACDA conference in Seattle, March 10-13, 2010

Dear ACDA friends,holmquist

Greetings from your NW ACDA President-elect, writing to invite and urge you to make your plans now to attend the NW Conference in Seattle in March. Here's a thought: in the spirit of Christmas, why not consider attending the conference as your best gift to yourself? All of the many things that make our conferences worthwhile make this a perfect fit! 

Do you give concert tickets to loved ones?
Here you go, give yourself three amazing and varied guest choirs, any one of which would be a memorable holiday gift ticket: the Crystal Children's Choir from San Francisco, and the Grammy-winning Phoebruffynix Chorale and Soweto Gospel Choir! And how many gift concert tickets carry the bonus of meeting and leachangrning from the director? In Seattle we'll have Karl Chang of Crystal and Charles Bruffy of the Phoenix Chorale, presenting interest sessions. 

Would you give an inspirational resource book to somebody on your gift list?
In this gift to yourself, you can go one better: attend performances by 23 of our finest NW Division choirs, and take in reading sessions geared to your programming needs. You'll come away with your creativity inspired and challenged. A book can do that, but there's really no substitute for live performance, and these will carry the bonus of discussion groups, as you walk to the next event!

Will you be giving a carefully chosen exercise, language, or educational DVD to someone?
For yourself, choose the incomparable opportunity and benefit of seeing and learning from not one but 12 interest session presenters in person, all of whom would be worth buying on a DVD. When you check out the conference offerings, you'll see that you're getting a huge array of intriguing subjects, from movement to vocal technique to world music performance practice to building a blog -- and much more. We're bringing the real people to you, so that you can ask them questions right away. Sure beats having to go to a website listed on a DVD. 

How about gifts to your favorite sowetocharity during the holidays?
By attending the conference you can give yourself the pleasure of supporting music education. You can honor the wonderful young singers chosen for the four honor choirs: attend their rehearsals, applaud their concerts, engage them in conversation. Two of the groups will be be rehearsing right there at the Sheraton, and the others will be just a short walk away. But there's more! Student choral conductors will be learning from National President-elect Jo-Michael Scheibe and from Grammy-award winner Charles Bruffy in conducting master classes, and will be all over the place as volunteers. As these students help us with so many nuts and bolts of the conference, they are beginning to form lifelong connections in the choral world. 

Is personal relaxation time through a renewing getaway one of the prime gifts you give to others?
Treat yourself, this time. These are stressful, exhausting times, and it's probably never been more important for you to surround yourself with like-minded friends. Renew old acquaintances and make new ones. Imagine yourself at Jazz Night in the 35th-floor Cirrus Room, under the stars!  

I read a quote the other day that spoke to our society's current obsession with computer "connections" at the expense of personal contact: "Life is what is happening behind your back while you're glued to a screen."  How refreshing to be in Seattle, surrounded with music and conversation! What a gift -- and it can be purchased now, by filling out your conference registration. And remember: you deserve it.

See you in Seattle.


Solveig Holmquist of Western Oregon University named president-elect of the northwestern division, ACDA

President Scott Peterson sent  this note to members of the NW board (dated February 28, 2008)

"I have just been notified by Hilary Apfelstadt, National President, that the National Executive Board has approved Solveig Holmquist as the new President-Elect-Designate of the Northwestern Division.  She will take office on July 1st as President-Elect when Richard Nance assumes the Presidency."

"Congratulations to Solveig!  She will be a great leader in our Division and I offer her my congratulations.
" (Scott Peterson)

NW ACDA once again had the good fortune of presenting two well-qualified candidates for this office in Scott Anderson of Idaho, and Solveig Holmquist. Although the voting in the past has often been very close, for the first time in our history we had a tie vote. ACDA national officials recommended both candidates be contacted to see if they would agree to another vote of the membership. Scott Anderson declined. The national board, in a recent meeting, simply approved the election of Solveig Holmquist.

Solveig's response:

One of the reasons we love living in the Northwest is that we cherish our individualism, stubbornly refusing to fit into boxes. We shouldn't be surprised, then, that we in the NW Division have managed to achieved a "first" in ACDA history:  an absolute tie in the voting for NW President-Elect Designate! Who knew such a thing could happen? Well, we might have predicted SOMETHING out of the ordinary in this most interesting General Election year.

As you know, the tie between Scott Anderson and me has now been broken, and I am honored and humbled to have this opportunity to serve you and ACDA.

And her official bio:

Professor of Music Solveig Holmquist, in her twelfth year as Director of Choral Activities at Western Oregon University. Her teaching duties include conducting the Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, providing musical direction for the yearly musicals in collaboration with the department of Theater/Dance, and teaching Conducting, Choral Methods, and Choral Literature. As a certified adjudicator, Holmquist is in demand at numerous clinics, festivals, and contests throughout the Northwest; guest conducting appearances include the Spokane Festival of the Arts, the Colorado Western Region Honor Choir, and the Anchorage High Schools Choral Festival. She made her fourth appearance conducting on the Carnegie Hall stage in February 2007, with WOU Chamber Singers as the core ensemble.
Dr. Holmquist is the founder and Artistic Director of the Festival Chorale Oregon, a civic choir in its 28th season which has developed a reputation for musical excellence in Oregon and in the international community.  Festival Chorale Oregon has enjoyed performing tours through Germany, France, Scandinavia, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Spain. At home, FCO regularly performs major choral/orchestral works for Willamette Valley audiences.    
Dr. Holmquist received her musical training at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where she sang with the renowned St. Olaf Choir; at Western Oregon State College; and at the University of Oregon.  Her professional affiliations include the American Choral Directors Association, serving as President of the Oregon chapter from 2003-2005 and also as a Repertoire & Standards Chair on the Northwest Board. She was President of Oregon Music Educators National Conference from 1992-1994, and has filled appointments on many committees for both state and national organizations. 

Since 1985, Holmquist has been an auditioned member of the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, Helmuth Rilling, conductor, and in 1991 was selected to the festival’s conducting master class.  The Oregon Bach Festival Choir won the 2000 Grammy for Best Choral Performance for its premiere recording of “Credo” by Polish composer Krzystof Penderecki; the OBF Choir was subsequently invited to perform the work at the World Symposium of Choral Music in the summer of 2002. In the summer of 2006, the OBF choir and orchestra began a 3-year project which will conclude in 2009, recording the late Haydn masses for Hanssler-Verlag. 

Holmquist was involved in church music for thirty-seven years, most recently serving for fifteen years as Music Director at First Methodist Church in Salem, where she was organist and led a sequential music program that included nine choirs, a summer music camp, youth musicals, a concert series, and a weekly music column.  An accomplished organist, she has been called upon to play dedicatory recitals on several organ installations in the area.

Dr. Holmquist and her husband Jon live in Salem. They have six grown children and ten grandchildren.


Top of this page | NWACDA Home