What is a community chorus?
by Paul Schultz

After attending the national ACDA convention in Los Angeles last February I took some time to reflect on the sessions relating to community choruses. There was a reading session (repeated twice) containing some outstanding octavos but also some selections that many felt were not up to the standards one would hear at a national convention. Many of the division R&S chairs were also disappointed in the attendance at these reading sessions.

During these sessions, National Community Chorus R&S Chair Robert Johnson talked about the goal forming a national directory of community choruses and directors. This would be a valuable resource but we have to insure that all directors provide the national ACDA office with their contact information. The question was asked: “What exactly is a community chorus?” Mr. Johnson’s response was: “Any chorus that is part of the community.” This stimulated an interesting debate since, by this definition, a community chorus could include Boy Choirs, Children’s Choirs, College and University Choirs, High School Choirs, Men’s Choruses, Middle School/Junior High Choruses, Multi Cultural and Ethnic Choirs, Church Choirs, Two Year College Choirs, Vocal Jazz groups, and Women’s Choruses. They all contain members of any given community.

I agree that there is certainly overlap when we consider an organization such as the Tacoma Youth Chorus. Artistic Director Judith Herrington’s fine organization contains children’s choruses, high school choruses, women’s choruses, and a men’s chorus. And, they are representatives of the greater Tacoma community. Does this truly make them a community chorus?

I believe the original intention of ACDA forming a Community Chorus category in the R&S area was to serve organizations that are comprised of adults with a passion for choral singing. Many may be the well-known “town and gown” chorus associated with a college or university, most often performing oratorio repertoire. Others are more typically a 501(c) (3) organization, competing for singers, funding and audience with similar organizations in your community.

I would like to hear from the membership of the Northwest Division regarding your definition of Community Chorus. Once we agree on a definition, lets work on developing some opportunities to bring us (and our communities) together. Send your ideas regarding the following possibilities and also some creative ideas you have to share:


  • Collaborations for performance of major works.
  • Collaborations for special occasions or thematic programs.
  • Collaborations for commissions of new works.
  • Community Chorus Festivals.
  • Community Chorus Workshops, e.g.
    • Fundraising
    • Repertoire
    • Sharing libraries
    • Recruiting members
    • Rehearsal motivation

I look forward to your responses and will keep an email directory so that your responses can be shared with everyone. Thanks for sharing.

Most sincerely,

Paul W. Schultz, Chair
Community Choruses R&S
Northwest Division of ACDA








Literature Resources for the Female Jazz Choir
by Jim Jirak, Vocal Jazz R & S Chair


Perhaps you have a talented women’s choir and are interested in programming some vocal jazz literature. Every year at the Boise State Vocal Jazz Festival we always have SSAA choirs perform the music of arrangers whose names you probably know; Kirby Shaw, Jack Kunz, Frank Eychaner, Norm Wallen, Ken Kraintz, Dave Cazier, Michele Weir, and others.

Dave Cross’ name comes up quite often at our festival, as he is one arranger who has been writing for treble jazz choirs for quite awhile. Dave has published much of his music with UNC Jazz Press http://usonia.unco.edu/uncjazz/jazzpress and one of his most popular charts is “Please Don’t Do It In Here.’

The UNC website is searchable by voicing and you can find SSAA arrangements by other writers such as Michele Weir and Ward Swingle. If you really want a challenge, Ray Sheehan has written a SSAA arrangement of Woody Herman’s “Four Brothers,” entitled “Four Sisters,” of course. (At the time of this writing, the UNC site was under reconstruction)

Another publisher’s website searchable by voicing is Sound Music Publications at

www.smpjazz.com . SMP founders Frank DeMiero and Ken Kraintz are seeing to it that swingin’ charts for the ladies are available. You can find 5 titles for SSAA choirs, and each chart comes with piano and bass parts included in the purchase price. Plus, they have10 charts for SSA choirs and11 arrangements for the SA choir. This is a wealth of tried and true music for all skill levels. Each SMP chart has been rated for difficulty and many have recordings to help you make your decision.

Of course the J.W. Pepper website has filters to help you find jazz arrangements for your treble choir. I found 7 titles for SSA choirs and they were all jazz standards such as Kirby Shaw’s “Embraceable You” for unaccompanied SSAA voices. There were four other SSAA titles, all standards except Darmon Meader’s ‘The Water is Wide.’

Those of you looking for 2-part music should have a look at “Billy and Ming Do The Bebop Thing” by Michigan jazz vocalist Sunny Wilkinson & guitarist Ron Newman published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing. And Northwest ACDA members will recognize the name Tom Anderson who has written a 2-part version of "Stompin' at the Savoy" published by Hal Leonard Corporation

One of my personal favorites for treble choirs is David Elliot’s “Old MacDookle had a Band" published for SSA voices by Boosey & Hawkes. David has other titles suitable for jazz choir programming such as his arrangement “Tisket a Tasket" by the same publisher.  

Another kindred spirit for female jazzers is Michele Weir and you should know about her website www.michmusic.com where you’ll find nine SSAA charts, four of which are unique to her website. Michele provides links to other publishers who carry her music such as Heritage Music Press where you can order her treatment of “You Made Me Love You” which was read at the national ACDA convention in Los Angeles.

Dave Cazier has written 3 rompin’ tunes for SSAA choirs and you can find them with along with PDF score samples and informative difficulty ratings at www.caztunes.com.

Another website which allows you to look at the scores before you buy is www.scottmusic.com . Scott Frederickson has five tunes for SSA choirs and another five for unison/2-part singers. This last category includes one of my favorites, the wacky composition about eating Italian food, “That’s the Way Ya Do It.” Scott’s website allows you to download his charts once you pay the licensing fee.

I realize this is not a comprehensive list. Please feel free to contact me with your repertoire successes for treble voicing. The ladies certainly can swing if given the opportunity and thanks to the writers mentioned above we can provide our female jazz choirs with quality repertoire for beginners on up to the very advanced singers. Now, how many of you have an all-female rhythm section?

Jim Jirak
Vocal Jazz R&S Chair
NW Division



Jim Jirak

Post choral jobs...a service to our profession
Editorial comment by Howard Meharg, Editor, NW Notes

You can be of great service to your colleagues in the choral conducting business. Let us know when you hear of a job opening. Obviously we need to have confirmation of the job availability...rumors don't quite make it in this situation.

Send official information in brief that gives the job description, city, school district, church, college, whether the job is full time, and contact information including Web site or e-mail addresses. If you have the information, include date the job is posted, when application period closes. And then follow up by letting us know when to remove the data from our site. Mail this information to: hkmeharg@adelphia.net

I'll post it on the "jobs" page.

The HR department of your institution might be interested in knowing this. Tell 'em about it.







Music Selection for the 21 st Century Church

By Paul A. Aitken, R & S Chair
Music In Worship


Without a doubt, one of the most important challenges for the church choir director is selecting music for Sunday worship. There are a myriad number of potential places to err since you are attempting to please, in some cases, hundreds of people on any one Sunday. As the Director of Music Ministry at the Cathedral of the Rockies in Boise, Idaho, I can sympathize with fellow choir directors at every level. Because how can we, for example, provide exciting and inspirational music for the choir that will keep our clergy happy, and will also speak volumes to the congregation? I have a few ideas that have worked for me.

Church musicians have historically been a major part in providing music education for congregations and I strongly believe that we have a responsibility to creatively maintain this tradition. By this, I am saying that music is an integral part of the worship experience and we need to uphold it as such. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that music and the spoken word are a near-even match when it comes to the worship experience. If one or the other of these components are lacking, then the choir and congregation will have a less than satisfactory worship experience. Considering that all worship should be designed “to the glory of God,” then we should focus our energies on achieving the highest possible denominator. After first focusing on the Divine aspect of musical selection, we should also understand that there are three other earthy factors who come to the dance: the choir, the clergy, and the congregation…

The Choir: There are three different people who join church choirs. The first is the person who has knowledge of choral music, and is frequently willing to share this data at some length. They are often the type of individual who loves either early music OR modern music, but rarely both. The second person is the type that only likes to sing hymn arrangements. Their musical philosophy is: if I already know it, then I’ll like it – but if I have to learn something new, it’s probably bad news! The third person is the most flexible, and will sing anything put in front of them with little concern.

The Clergy: I have been very fortunate that my experience with clergy has been quite positive. In thinking about this article, I thought about writing an article about how to keep you and your clergy out of divorce court – and I likely will in a future article. My reason for thinking this at all is because your working relationship with clergy must remain open, honest and pliable. In regard to music selection, this is particularly important. The clergy must always have input, but only to the extent that it doesn’t undermine musical integrity in regard the Divine inspiration discussed above. Gain the trust of your clergy, and musical selection will rarely become an issue. Lose the trust of your clergy and you will find yourself in a dreadful micromanagement situation in regard to music selection.

The Congregation: I worry that the congregation in most places or worship are a neglected entity. Often comprising ninety percent of the church’s population in ratio to the average choir, the parishioners are often relegated to the musical back seat. But the reality is that the congregation is comprised of the same people about which we spoke in the choir: there are people with very exacting musical tastes, some with a limiting knowledge, and others who would be happy with anything. Understanding that we sometimes need to turn around and acknowledge that these wonderful people exist, and that we need to select music with the entire worshipping population in mind, is vitally important to the growth potential of any ministry.

So how can we keep all of these individuals happy without compromising ourselves into oblivion? Let me comfort you by letting you know that it truly is possible – and you won’t have to sell your soul to do it! Follow these three main points in regard to choral music selection and you will see increased musical success in your church.

  • Keep it real. I was a fan of Dr. Phil long before he was even popular and so I tell you unapologetically to “keep it real.” Choir directors sometimes have unreal expectations of their choirs and place music in front of them that is truly out of their league. A regular church choir of 10 people will likely never sing a 6-part Bach motet, in German, with any expertise! Assess your choir for its strengths and its weaknesses, and determine what it is that they will do well. Every choir will sing something well. Because if you are constantly overwhelming your choir, and they sound ill-prepared each and every week, then you will lose all trust with your choir, clergy, and congregation. However, if you keep it real, you will find that your choir will improve – and be much happier with your leadership in the end.
  • Listen and affirm. It is a proven fact that when people believe that they have a voice and when they know that they have been heard, then they will have a greater tolerance for anything placed in front of them. I make a point of talking to my pastor, individuals in my choirs, and members in the congregation almost constantly. I ask them often what it is that they would like to hear in regard to musical selection – and more often than not, I can make use of their suggestion. Affirming your choir, congregation, and clergy through the art of listening will help you tremendously in your choral music selection process.
  • Keep it varied. If you think about the way in which you eat, it never makes sense to eat from just one food group – you can only eat so many peaches! The same goes for your choral music selection. If you have your choir only singing early music, or hymn arrangements, or Mozart, or the music of “Jane Composer” (because you worked with her once), then you are heavily limiting their musical & educational experience. Keeping a broad variety of differing musical types, styles, eras, keys, speeds, and composers in your choir folder at one time will certainly help to reduce any concerns that your choir, clergy, and congregation might have regarding your musical selection.

    Paul A. Aitken holds music degrees from both the University of Western Ontario & Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and is presently completing a DMA in Choral Music from the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Aitken is Director of Music Ministry at Boise Idaho’s Cathedral of the Rockies where he oversees 16 musical ensembles in both the traditional and contemporary musical vein. Paul was the first-ever ACDA Raymond W. Brock Student Composition Competition winner.



Paul A. Aitken
Music Advocacy
by Dr. Giselle Wyers, R & S Chair for Youth and Student Activities

ACDA Advocacy Resolution

Whereas, the Human spirit is elevated to a broader understanding of itself through the study and performance in the aesthetic arts, and

Whereas, serious cutbacks in funding and support have steadily eroded state institutions and their programs throughout our country,

Be it resolved that all citizens of the United States actively voice their affirmative and collective support for necessary funding at the local, state, and national levels of education and government, to ensure the survival of arts programs.

Politics and art do intersect—every year—when lawmakers decide how to spend our tax dollars. It's a new year, so let's arm ourselves with information. This week I found ACDA’s Advocacy Resolution on the web, as well as a plethora of useful arts advocacy sites (containing the information printed below). By learning more about how music contributes to success in school, society, and our quality of life, we can more effectively justify its continuation.

Consider the following:

  • A 1998 Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol study found that high school students who participate in music have the lowest incidence of drug use.
  • Students who participate in music receive more academic honors than non-music students, and earn a higher percentage of As and Bs, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
  • Music training has been found to be more effective than computer instruction in building preschool children's abstract reasoning skills, and students with good rhythmic skills are better at detecting patterns in math, science, music and visual arts, according to studies cited in Neurological Research Journal, February 1997 and the TCAMS Professional Resource Center , 2000.
  • College admissions officers tend to favor students with a music background, claiming that such involvement contributes to better time management skills, creativity, and open-mindedness (Carl Hartman, “Arts May Improve Students’ Grades,” The Associated Press, October, 1999).
  • In a 2000 Gallup Poll, ninety-five percent of respondents considered music to be part of a well-rounded education.
  • Dr. James S. Catterall of UCLA's Graduate School of Education, found that among 25,000 students studied, those involved in the arts had higher grades and standardized test scores, more community service and lower dropout rates.
  • A 2002 study by the College Entrance Examination Board found that high school students who take four years of music classes score 90 to 100 points better on their SAT than students who take only one-half year or less of music classes.
  • Music is designated as a “core” subject in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, Title IX, Part A, Sec. 9101.

Our society tends to hold a romanticized view of music that relegates it to the realm of aesthetic pleasure and entertainment. While music certainly has that capacity, and we all feel passion for music, we need to be prepared to also identify its many concrete benefits. In our communications with lawmakers and administrators, let’s insist that music be treated as the "core" subject that Congress says it is.

Here are some suggestions for action:

  • Keep updated about upcoming legislative initiatives that affect music funding, and write or call your congressmen regularly (join the Arts Action Center at www.AmericansforTheArts.org for regular emails about the issues).
  • Support your favorite community music groups by attending their concerts, serving on their boards, or volunteering during fundraising drives.
  • Inform yourself about current research showing music’s many benefits in education and society.
  • Educate your audiences about the music they are hearing to give them a deeper sense of ownership and commitment to your program.
  • Create themed concerts that are linked to current global issues; this approach energizes your community and draws more widespread media coverage.
  • Invite local politicians and administrators to your concerts, or take your choir on a trip to the capitol.
  • Get students/parents involved by having them join you at school board/city council meetings. Often they can be the best advocates for your program.

Music Advocacy Websites:

www.childrensmusicworkshop.com/advocacy (Children’s Music Workshop) www.artsedge.kennedy-center.org (ArtsEdge)
www.aep-arts.org (Arts Education Partnership)
www.arts.gov (National Endowment for the Arts)
www.AmericansforTheArts.org (Americans for the Arts)
www.communityarts.net/ (Community Arts Network)
www.artslynx.org (Artslynx International Arts Resources)
www.amc-music.org (American Music Conference)
www.supportmusic.com (Music Education Coalition)


Dr. Giselle Wyers
The Internationalization of the music program
by Peter Wordelman, R & S Chair for Multi-Cultural Music


As you look ahead or even look back on what your music program has accomplished over the years…what does it look like to you? During the past 10 years or so, I have often thought about the important elements of a music program. When I looked back I came up with a rather strange answer. I wanted to make sure that every student or the majority of my students left my program with their passport in hand and had had the opportunity to travel to another country. The reality of this decision required a great deal of work in order to accomplish this goal.

Since this information is now printed on-line, I thought it might be of value to include the following grant application. No matter where we are, money always seems to be a major issue when it comes to touring and travel. I have included a grant application which we completed for our tour last year. It includes details of how the tour was designed, how the financial details were arranged, and hopefully ideas that might help you in formulating tour plans of your own ensembles

So, if touring is in your future or if you are dreaming about going somewhere in the near future, please feel free to use any of the ideas below that you feel might be useful. People are singing all over the world and it is wonderful to join with them in their own land.

Title: Concert Tour and Cultural Outreach Program

Description of project: The project is to help fund an Eastern Oregon University (EOU) Chamber Choir tour and cultural outreach program to Ecuador . The goals of the tour and outreach program are as follows:

  • Further the internationalization of the Eastern Music Program
  • Aid non-traditional, first generation, and financially in need students in meeting one of the cornerstones for graduation from Eastern Oregon University
  • Outreach to both child and adult musical programs in Ecuador in order to increase their ties to American educational institutions.

This project addresses the XXXX Foundation funding priorities of assistance to mature and returning students, excellence in teaching, outreach programs and music.

Forty-two students will fly to Quito, Ecuador with their choral music professor in March of 2004. During the two weeks in Ecuador they will travel from Quito, to coastal cities, to the southern city of Cuenca. During the tour they will participate in college music exchanges with choirs from Ecuadorian universities. They will meet and work with younger students from various music conservatories, and with several professional choirs in the Quito area. They will be performing South American choral music, including Ecuadorian choral music published by Dr. Peter Wordelman, as well as traditional American choral music, such as spirituals. The Ecuadorian Choral Directors Association will sponsor them in part while in Ecuador. They will also be studying indigenous cultures in the Otavolo area of Ecuador. Students will have the option of taking up to four credits of academic practicum for the tour.

This grant project is one step in the ongoing internationalization of the Eastern Music Program. Jane Knight and Hans de Wit, in Internationalization of Higher Education in Asia Pacific Countries , define internationalization as the process of integrating an international/intercultural dimension into the teaching, research and service functions of the institution. This definition understands internationalization as a process, as a response to globalization, and as including both international and local elements. The EOU music program has been involved in the internationalization process for at least 12 years. The following is a list of some of the internationalizing activities that have already taken place:

  • Faculty have worked in Ecuador , Venezuela , Russia , Mexico , Japan and Thailand
  • One full time faculty is from Mexico
  • One professor has international Fulbright experience
  • Music students have participated in exchange programs to Mexico , Ecuador and Austria
  • Prior choir tours to Eastern Europe and Ecuador
  • Strong international student presence (especially Japanese and South American), with ongoing international recruitment efforts
  • One faculty member is the editor of a multi cultural choral music series
  • Funding of international artists to come perform and teach master classes at EOU
  • Multi cultural music classes, ranging from African Drumming, multicultural choral music, to ethnomusicology courses

Eastern provides a formal mechanism for students to internationalize their education through the Cornerstone program. The Cornerstone program offers EOU students the chance to enhance their classroom learning with experiences in four areas:

  • Community Service Learning
  • Research
  • Intercultural or International Experiences
  • Internships or Mentoring

Many students complete these cornerstones by taking EOU courses that offer cornerstone opportunities, such as internships offered through Practicum courses and research opportunities that form the core of the Capstone. Some students also go beyond the curriculum and search out Cornerstone opportunities on their own, or with the help of an advisor, another member of the EOU faculty or staff or the Cornerstone Program staff. The Chamber Choir tour to Ecuador is a means through which students can fulfill the international experience cornerstone.

Community need: The internationalization of American educational experiences is a current focus of both the educational and government communities in our nation. Peter DeShazo, in a recent State Department speech on the matter, made the following quote, “Peace and prosperity in the 21st Century depend on increasing the capacity of people to think and work on a global and intercultural basis. As technology opens borders, educational and professional exchange opens minds.” He later states
Another area that troubles me is the comparatively low number of U.S. students studying abroad. Only around 120,000-140,000 American students receive credit annually for overseas study. This number is low compared to the nearly 15 million U.S. students currently enrolled in colleges and universities here. To share the full range of the American experience effectively with the people of other nations, we simply must do better in creating more study abroad opportunities for our young people.

Colleges and universities nation wide, including EOU, are attempting to address this concern by increasing international opportunities using many different strategies in addition to the familiar semester study abroad programs.

Eastern, due to its rural nature and unique mission of serving often educationally under served rural areas, must employ several different techniques to increase students’ exposure to international activities. For the year 2003, Eastern’s enrollment was 3,452 students. Sixty percent of the student body is from rural Oregon , though there are 120 international students from 28 countries. Forty percent of the student body is non-traditional students of 25 or older, many with families to support while paying for their education. Twenty percent of the student body is 35 or older. Due to the rural nature of the students, the majority of students have no international experience prior to entering EOU. ?f of the students receive some form of federal or state financial assistance.

Although EOU administration has placed a high priority on increasing the internationalization of the EOU educational experience, the majority of students experience significant barriers to direct international experience. Those barriers include:

  • Lack of international exposure in their home environments with little family support for solo travel
  • Lack of self confidence and knowledge on the part of students to believe they can successfully accomplish international travel
  • Lack of financial means to travel
  • Significant family and work obligations that make quarter long study abroad unfeasible
  • Lack of international connections that might enrich individual international travel

The EOU Chamber Choir has demographics similar to the overall student body.

  • 30% are returning non-traditional students
  • 34% are first generation college students
  • 74% work during the school year to support their education, with 37% working 15 hours a week or more
  • Only 39% receive financial support from parents
  • 63% receive loans to support their education
  • 42% of students have no prior international travel experience

The EOU Chamber Choir does differ from the typical EOU student profile in a few characteristics that demonstrate the high caliber of the students, and shows the results of prior music department internationalization efforts.

  • 63% are on scholarship
  • 58% have prior international experience
  • 43% of those with international experience have participated in prior music department internationalization efforts  

The EOU Chamber Choir tour project meets the needs of Eastern students while being sensitive to potential barriers in the following ways:

  • Strong and varied fundraising activities that give students a structured opportunity to earn the majority of the money needed
  • Accesses student financial aid in the form of grants for the students by structuring the program in such a way that it is eligible for grant funding
  • Provides a shorter time frame than other quarter abroad programs that allows working students and students with families to participate
  • Provides students with an opportunity to travel with a familiar group, thus increasing their self confidence and the likelihood that they will be able to uccessfully participate
  • Introduces them to a wide variety of people and settings in the host country beyond just college students, which gives them a greater sense of how life in the host country compares to and is similar to their own lives.

Budget for the project: See attached budget forms for details. The total amount requested from the grantor is $XXX. The total program cost is $XXX. The students provide a total match of $XXX, and the local community has provided a match of $XXX through donations. Student financial assistance match is $XXX. Most of the EOU students are self-supported on very limited financial means. Many of them have been saving for two years in order to pay their portion of the tour cost. EOU as an institution supports annual tours by dedicating $XXX from the Student Fees Committee fund. The EOU Chamber Choir has the strong support of the local community, as is demonstrated by their very generous contributions. Eastern is a school with few wealthy alumni to contribute, and La Grande is a small rural community with mainly individual donors. The amount contributed represents the investment of a significant percentage of the local population, who is very supportive of the ongoing goal of internationalization of the music program.

Description of the planning process: The planning for this particular project, as well as the ongoing goals of internationalization of the music program, are carried out by the music faculty of Eastern Oregon, the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, and the EOU Chamber Choir itself. The planning process for an international tour typically begins two years in advance of the tour itself. Many of the students are involved in ongoing planning and implementation of the tour, adding to their educational experience in international tour administration. Two years prior to the tour date, choir members and the choral music professor agree to the tour and begin to plan fundraising projects. The students do all of the fund raising themselves, though concerts and other student led activities, such as auctions and garage sales. The music faculty and the Dean approve the tour destination and dates. One year prior to the tour, funds from the Student Fees Committee are requested and approved. The year of the tour student financial aid in the form of grants is requested and received for those students who are eligible. Students acquire passports and required vaccinations, and tour details are arranged with the tour planners in the host country. For students who choose to get class credit for the tour, the two months prior to the tour and the month after the tour are spent in classes and on educational activities, such as impact papers. The US Embassy in Ecuador is involved in the planning of the tour by setting up special concert performances and assisting with in-country contacts and travel details.

Staffing: The primary staff for the program, Dr. Peter Wordelman , is a professor of choral and vocal music at Eastern Oregon University for the last 13 years. He has extensive domestic and international experience in multicultural music, music education, and music administration. He also has extensive experiences in successful domestic and international tour administration. His experiences include the following:

  • Six months teaching at Universidad San Francisco in Quito , Ecuador
  • Fulbright in Quito , Ecuador teaching an advanced music degree to professional conductors
  • Prior Chamber Choir tour and medical outreach program to Ecuador in 2001
  • Eastern European Community Choir tour in 1998
  • Chamber Choir tour to Alaska in 1995
  • International singing and conducting with the Rome opera festival
  • Editor of a multicultural music series, “Canciones del Mundo”

Music students participating in the tour will do much of the organizational and administration work needed to implement the tour. The planning and preparation needed to implement an international tour is extensive, and greatly enhances the students’ educational experience in music administration activities. Their activities range from ordering uniforms to checking cost and availability of vaccinations to managing the financial aspects of the tour.

Expected Results and Evaluation Plan:

  • 95% of Chamber Choir students will participate in the tour and meet the International Experience Cornerstone.
  • 11 non-traditional returning students will have no financial barrier to participation in the tour.
  • 95% of Chamber Choir students will have gained international travel experience.
  • Introduce 20 Ecuadorian students to the Eastern Admission process by handing out Eastern Admission promotional material to interested students.
  • Elevate the level of choral music in Ecuador by exposing Ecuadorian conductors and singers at 6 educational institutions to high level choral music that they would otherwise be unable to experience.

Peter Wordelman is professor of music at Eastern Oregon University and the chair of the northwest ACDA division Multi-cultural R & S committee.

  Editor's note: I believe you'll find invaluable material in Peter's material to help you with obtaining grant money for taking your choir to another country. Don't fail to read this excellent presentation!

Volunteer! It'll do great things for you...and your organization
by Helen Deitz, R & S Chair for Middle/Junior High Choirs


I have found that whenever I get in a rut or feel unappreciated at work, I gain the most relief, the most gratifying feeling, from volunteering. There was a lot of stress in our building during the year that our school district decided to reorganize. Several teachers would be chosen to leave the “old” school and would be given a great budget to begin a new school.  Our staff was grumpy and cliquish and the arts were once again threatened.  You may know what it’s like to feel like the chicken with it’s neck stretched over the chopping block, but it’s stretched there for months before the district decides whether or not to swing the ax.

During this time, I took a trip to my very first National ACDA convention and volunteered to chaperone 8th and 9th graders for the honor choir.  I earned my room and board and I had my first slice of heaven.  I was quite literally transformed, walking my crew around San Antonio, meeting great new people, and watching Anton Armstrong work with dignity and poise in front of the JH Honor Choir. I once again felt valued.  I returned to my district and re-invented myself as a music educator and helped set up the new school’s music department.
After several more  conventions and workshops, I decided to step up and volunteer to organize the first Oregon Music Educators Middle School Honor Choir.  It was exciting to put faces to the names I had seen on forms and see the music come to life with the guest conductor, Kathy Weldon.  By spending more time preparing for the event – I got much more out of the conference.
Unfortunately, my Class From Hell came last year. It seems to visit everyone’s class at some point in one’s career and the whole school was reeling from the negative energy.  My favorite part of teaching came when Karen Bohart asked me to take an honor choir sectional.  Yes!  I still know how to do this.  It made my year and helped me look forward to this year.
I have really enjoyed being on the Oregon ACDA board for the last 6 years.  I am the business manager – I sell ads- but the most rewarding part of the board meetings is seeing the process of building workshops and meeting quality choir directors who are filled with passion to share their passion. Sandra Brown Williams has demanded more for the middle level teachers and Oregon has done it!  During the Oregon ACDA summer workshop, we have an evening devoted specifically to the middle level.  Sandra also started the Middle Level Choral Institute and every summer there is a full weekend with college credit devoted to middle level teachers by middle level teachers!  I have benefited by volunteering to help at both.
 I’m looking forward to being more than a participant at the next National ACDA convention.  As a division R&S chair, I had the opportunity to help listen to audition tapes and pick the National JH/MS Honor Choir.  Music publishers sent us new octavos stacked three feet high from which to choose to present at the reading session in LA.
 We can always find reasons not to volunteer; there are conflicts between the hours you spend teaching, preparing lessons, calling parents, there are family commitments and on and on.  But I find that volunteering in ACDA is energizing and more personally rewarding than volunteering for my teacher’s union or school improvement team (although they are important and I do participate in both). We’re looking forward to hearing from you and about you.

  "...I find that volunteering in ACDA is energizing and more personally rewarding..."