News and Articles
Must there be a battle over traditional vs. "contemporary" music?
by Solveig Holmquist, Director of Choral Activities, Western Oregon University, Monmouth

"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: one is roots, and the other is wings." This familiar inspirational quotation is of course about parenting. There is another, deeper application, however. It is also a compelling picture of both the nature and the gifts of God, who is simultaneously "from everlasting to everlasting" and "making all things new."

There is evidence of this intriguing yet comforting truth through scripture - and throughout the history of sacred music. Poets and composers have long been inspired to express insights about God. Certain fundamental issues are timeless, and it would be foolish to restrict ourselves to any one historical period (including the present) in our quest for shared understanding.

Those who defend traditional music in worship, and who question the wisdom of claims that only the most contemporary musical styles are relevant, have warned of the danger in "throwing the baby out with the bath water." This old maxim happens to be another particularly apt analogy in the discussion. A baby, though new, arrives with a long genetic history which we call its roots. Human life is meaningless (and impossible) without its characteristic antecedents. So, too, worship music must have the roots from our ancestors as well as the wings of new creation.

In considering the relevance of any worship music, surely the only requirement must be musical quality. The best music of any era, performed well, is irresistible because it rings true; defective musical creations or performances are of limited religious benefit, and really have no place in worship. Church musicians have the responsibility to know the difference, and to offer the widest variety of literature possible, in order to meet the diverse needs of the congregation.


Greetings from Wyoming!

Well, we are finally seeing a hint of spring around the state.  It’s been a long, cold winter here and we are ready for sunshine and warm weather. 

Wyoming ACDA held its annual business meeting at our state MENC convention in January.  Michael Krueger, chair of the choral department at the University of Wyoming, will be taking over the presidency of our state organization in July. 

The state ACDA sponsors a state wide children’s honor choir annually in June and plans are underway in organizing that event.

The state’s high school choral directors are in the planning stages for their district music festivals to be held in April.  There are six music districts in the state which provide the site for our 42 high schools to participate in this festival.  The first day of the festival is set aside for the large choirs, bands, and orchestras.  The second day is for the solo/ensemble portion of festival.  There are also some opportunities for our middle school/junior high performing groups to be adjudicated as well, although not a part of every program’s annual schedule. 

There are seven community colleges in the state, all with active choral programs available to their students.  With only one university in Wyoming, many of these junior college graduates transfer to the university to finish their undergraduate degree. 

UW has a growing choral program under the direction of Dr. Michael Krueger.  This is Mike’s fourth year at UW and he has added the Singing Statesmen (about an 80 voice men’s choir) and Jazz Choir.  There is also a Women’s Choir and a University Choir (for the community singers).  The Collegiate Chorale under Mike’s direction traveled in Europe last spring and plans are underway to take the Jazz choir to Brazil this fall.

Scholarship funding for resident high school gradutes who might want to pursue music at the university level is a major concern in our state.   The state is mandating a required high school curriculum in order to be eligible for this scholarship.  Unfortunately, music courses are not in this list of requirements.  With all of the curriculum demands of these students, there is little room, if any, for them to be actively involved in our performance groups during their entire high school tenure.  This could be a major detriment to the performance level of our groups as well as the fact that some of our most gifted students will choose to take the “required” courses to be eligible for the scholarship and miss out on a consistent schedule of practice and performance throughout their high school years. We are actively speaking with our legislators about this challenge and hope to provide some breathing room for our gifted students as well. 

Well, it’s back to the “grind” until the end of the year when we can all enjoy a bit of summer before we seek out those summer clinics and reading sessions.  Our best to all of you!

Roy Dahlinger
Wyoming ACDA President


Orphei Dranger male chorus to tour Canada and U. S.; looking for two more
bookings in northwest

"Orphei Dranger" ( the Sons of Orpheus), the best known choir of its kind in the world, will be touring Canada and the US in early November. (For more information see their website.)

The choir, under the direction of Robert Sund, has made several CD´s and appeared in concert all over the world. The choir was directed by Eric Ericson until 1990, when Mr. Sund assumed direction. This will be Robert Sund´s final year with the choir, so each concert is sure to be a great event.

Currently, the choir is looking for two more concerts in the Northwest in the first part of November. They will be bringing 75 men, plus or minus. Their fee may be negotiable but is a minimum of $10,000 USD. If you have any interest in hosting or sponsoring one of these concerts, or are aware of anyone who does, please contact Bruce Browne at browne@teleport.com by May 10.


National Convention Report
by Scott Peterson

Miami, FL

The Northwestern Division was well represented at the recent national ACDA convention in Miami, Florida, from March 6 through 10.  Three choral groups from the great Pacific Northwest had tremendously successful performances on the national stage.  

Celebration Vocal Jazz Ensemble from Bellevue Community College  and Groove for Thought from Seattle played to full houses in concert on two different nights for Jazz Night.  Congratulations to Thomas Almli, Director of  Celebration Vocal Jazz Ensemble and to all the members of Groove For Thought. 

The Charles Sprague High School Choir under the direction of Russ Christiansen completed the Northwest representation with three concerts at the convention.  All performances were of the highest quality and spoke well to the state of choral music in the Northwest.

Many members were thrilled with the performance of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus who performed Nocturnes by Claude Debussy and Symphony No. 1 "Sea Symphony" conducted by Robert Spano in the The Knight Concert Hall at the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts. Concerts were also held in the Jackie Gleason Theater for the Performing Arts in Miami Beach which was where Gleason broadcast his famous television show in the early 1960's. 

Three members of our division presented interest sessions: Steven Demorest ("Teaching Musicianship in the Choral Rehearsal"); Jeff Horenstein and Kelly Kunz ("Under the Musical Microscope: Precision in Jazz Rehearsals"). 

There were a dozen students from the Pacific Northwest in the National Children's Honor Choir conducted by  Jean Ashworth Bartle; fifteen community college students in the National 2-Year College Honor Choir conducted by Bruce Rogers and sixteen singers in the National Multicultural Honor Choir conducted by Rollo Dilworth & Francisco Nunez. 

An informal no-host reception was held at the Radisson Hotel on Friday evening and the turn-out was good.  We gathered for some fellowship and laughter and shared a time with friends and colleagues.  One of the reasons to attend a convention is to catch up with old friends and it was a success, especially considering we were a continent away.

All in all, the convention seemed to run smoothly and the Great Northwest was well represented in the performing groups, presenters and attendees. 


Gene Brooks dies July 21, 2007
Letter, below, is from Hilary Apfelstadt, president of ACDA

Greetings, friends,

We are all saddened by the loss of Gene Brooks.  His funeral service
will be held Sat., July 28 at First Baptist Church in Oklahoma City at
11 a.m.  with burial to follow at Rush Springs, OK immediately
afterwards.  Viewing hours will be held Friday evening from 6 - 8
p.m.  at the funeral home.   Specific details will be available on the
ACDA website no later than Tuesday morning, along with his
obituary.  I will send flowers on behalf of both the National Board
and the Executive Committee to the funeral home once the
information is posted.  Nancy Cox has graciously offered to do the
same for the R and S committee.

I realize that many of you cannot attend the funeral but will want to
honor Gene in some way.  The Executive Committee will work to
plan a memorial event for Gene during the time of our meetings in
September.    If you are planning to come to Oklahoma City this
weekend and would like help arranging a hotel room, please call
Patsy Long-Jilge, Administrative Assistant, at the office.  She will
need only your credit card number and can then make a
reservation for you.

We have held up the August issue of the Choral Journal so that
Gene's death will be acknowledged there as well.  Carroll Gonzo
and I spoke earlier today about having a special memorial section
in the November issue of the Choral Journal as well.

The office is open as usual although the staff are grieving for Gene,
as we all do.  Please encourage them if you happen to have contact
with them in the near future.

Thank you for all you do for ACDA.  As we move forward, we will
need to work together for the good of the organization so that
Gene's legacy will be honored.  The Executive Committee will seek
to have an Interim Executive Director in place soon and begin a
national search for the permanent position this fall.  We will
discuss this further at our meeting in Sept.

Don't forget to check the ADCA website for specific information
about the funeral home and church locations and addresses.

All the best,