Articles from our state presidents
My dear choral community... 
by Julia Kole, President, ID-ACDA
October - 2005

My musical past, like yours, is rich and varied.   My present sphere is junior high.  Thirteen years ago I quickly realized my opera and solo background did not fully prepare me for the choral classroom.  The ACDA community which includes my peers, as well as the hundreds of volunteers that provided state, northwestern and national conventions, were my foundation, faith-givers and the fabric of my creative inspiration.  Those that founded, built, and continue to energize our state organization are the most selfless people I have had the pleasure to work with.  They are my role models.  This article honors their efforts in the promotion of choral excellence in the format of one of my favorite poems, Anyway, from Mother Teresa’s book, Meditations from A Simple Path.


In a large state with a smaller population,

Even though teaching and their families were their top priority,

Even though we continue to fight the enemies of proper funding and adequate scheduling,

Most of the detail work they did was never seen by ACDA membership,

They probably had to make decisions that made them vulnerable to criticism,
Because you can never please everybody,

They built a choral organization not knowing if there would be someone to carry the torch into the future,

Most of the good work they did was never seen by those who benefited:
 Our children, our churches and our communities,

Knowing the choral art is the light of God, they overcame stress, frustration and sleepless nights,

I humbly submit that it is with honor and humility that I chose to take my turn carrying the torch of ACDA.  My goals for this year are challenging and I will need your help:  building the ID ACDA website into a resource and communication tool everyone can use; finding advertisers to cover the cost of the ID ACDA website; increasing membership by listening to how ACDA can better serve them; building ID ACDA pride by communicating our rich past and traditions; I pledge my full support in the implementation of the mentor program for our gifted young members entering the profession; begin research on the interest level, best dates and location of a summer convention. 

By the time this goes to publication, our ID ACDA Sun Valley Retreat will be over.  Paul Nesheim will have inspired us and given us many tools to touch our students and communities lives.  We will have had our First Annual Recognition and Appreciation Dinner where we honored, Dr. Gerald Schroeder, an ID ACDA founder, for a lifetime of dedication to ACDA, as well as Zola Jensen, our Idaho Secretary and Treasure, and Mike Sagun, of Sheet Music of Portland, who has supported so many of our ID ACDA events with octavos, enriching books and CD’s.  Our retreat also will have included a reading session by Ted Totorica, and performances by North Junior High, conducted by Kelly Kaye, and a returnee to Idaho, Scott Anderson and the Idaho State University Choir.  We also added Round Table sessions, lead by our new Repertoire and Standards representatives, so members could share their expertise with others. 

Friends and friends to be, thank you for all you do for the choral art, and please contact me if I can serve you in any way at


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Honoring Ed Harris In Song
by Kevin Allen-Schmid, President, MT-ACDA

This year the Montana choral directors are honoring Ed Harris, our own prolific and renowned composer, teacher, director, singer, organist, minister of music, magazine editor and general Grand Pooh-Bah of all things musical in Montana.  We are challenging each other to program some of Ed’s compositions, many of which have earned a lasting place in the choral repertoire of our nation.

The 2005 Montana All-State Choir, under the direction of Mr. Richard Nace of Tacoma, WA, will be performing Ed’s inspiring SATB  “I WILL LIFT MY EYES” during their October convention performance in Bozeman.  
The music teachers attending the general session of that same convention will sing through one of Ed’s SAB best sellers: “I AM A TRAV’LER” just for the pleasure of it.
Mr. Harris has had over one hundred choral pieces published.  For a complete list go to:
Northwest colleagues, please join us in honoring Ed Harris!






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EastburnMay the lack of force be with you
by Hal Eastburn, President, OR-ACDA

Our profession asks us to be artist, athletes, teachers, counselors and musicians. With so many hats, it is easy to be fractionalized and cause ourselves undue stress. This stress can lead to physical tension which often shows up in our singing and conducting. Other than retiring, is there anything we can do? Actually, retiring doesn’t help, you just have a harder time knowing when to quit working or quit relaxing.

Many conductors and singers have discovered the value of the “Alexander Technique” to help them center and focus their bodies so they function with less stress and effort. Another companion piece is “Awareness through Movement” a group of simple health exercises to improve your posture, vision, imagination, and personal awareness, as developed by Moshe Feldenkrais. This is commonly referred to as the “Feldenkrais Method.”.

One the tenets of the method is that a “....felt sense of force or effort is an indicator of suboptimal performance (i.e., something is wrong) even if we get the sound we want.”1 This can apply to our singers or to ourselves as conductors. How many times have you listened to a choir and noticed strain or tension in the voices only to see the conductor, who in his enthusiasm, shows excessive tension in his own body, which translates into tension in the singers? To put it another way, have you noticed when you get caught up in the emotion of a piece you don’t hear the little mistakes that you do when you listen to a recording of that same moment? “According to Weber-Fechner’s law, the ability to detect a change in stimulus varies inversely with the intensity of the stimulus..... Put more simply, effort and sensitivity are inversely related.”2 Reduce your effort and be attentive to what you sense and feel. When you do, you will become more sensitive to what you hear. The goal of “Awareness Through Movement” is to develop an awareness of self that allows for “effortless effort” or “passive control, a control achieved by having a clear intent without a sense of force.”3

I strongly recommend that you add “Singing with Your Whole Self” by Samuel H. Nelson and Elizabeth Blades-Zeller, Scarecrow Press Inc., 2002, to your library. In this book you’ll find many simple exercises that you can do individually or with a large group that will aid in giving you a new awareness of yourself.

Another very helpful book is “Awareness Through Movement” by Moshe Feldenkrais, Harper San Francisco, 1990. Seek out people who use this method and learn more about it so you can evaluate it for yourself. You can do this by asking for “Awareness Through Movement” presentations at your local and state choral workshops. With another tool at your disposal, you can better deal with the many stresses of our art. “May the ‘Lack of Force’ be with you.”

1 Samuel H. Nelson and Elizabeth Blades-Zeller, Singing with Your Whole Self (Lanham: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2002) p. 20.

2 Ibid, 13.

3 Ibid, 21.


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rejuvenate - 1 a. to make young or youthful again : REINVIGORATE b: to restore to an original or new state
by Linda Hamilton, President, WA-ACDA

Welcome back to school, with your new clothes, new goals, feeling rejuvenated and fresh! I think that the word rejuvenate should be at the forefront of every choral directors welcome back to school intro. The word literally means-to make young or youthful again, give new vigor or make fresh, and do we have the perfect way for you to rejuvenate yourself right in the middle of the school year. Plan now so you don’t miss the Northwest ACDA Convention in the City of Roses, City of Song, Portland Oregon March 15-18 2006. You will hear incredible choirs from five states and some of the most outstanding headliner choirs the Northwest has seen and heard in years.

We are so fortunate to have Michael Frasier our Northwest ACDA President as our leader and planner for this upcoming convention. It is a convention to connect, and rejuvenate!

Hopefully by now you have already downloaded the Honor Choir materials and have turned those in by the October 1st deadline. There will be four outstanding honor Choir Conductors who will inspire our students: Dr. Jerry Blackstone from the University of Michigan will conduct the High School Men’s Choir, Dr. Z. Randall Stroope will conduct the Women’s choir, Dr. Andre Thomas from Florida State University will conduct the Jr. High/ Middle School Choir and the Northwest’s own Rebecca Rottsolk will conduct the Children’s Honor Choir. If you do not send a student or get one selected to sing in one of the Honor Choirs, come attend the honor choir rehearsals to see these fabulous directors in action during their rehearsals.

Along with the great interest sessions offered by outstanding directors from all over our region the convention will offer a Jazz Night at the downtown Portland Hilton on Wednesday March 15th.

The convention headquarters hotel is the Portland Hilton and Hilton Towers with a fabulous rate of $89.00 per night. So, make your plans early, come ready to hear incredible choirs, reconnect with fellow directors and rejuvenate yourself with the sounds of beautiful music.















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Greetings from Wyoming
by Roy Dahlinger, President, WY-ACDA

The Wyoming Music Ambassadors made their fifth trip to Europe this summer. Traveling to seven countries in fifteen days was a “whirlwind” tour to say the least! 190 students and 40 adults departed Denver on June 15 and headed over the Atlantic for points east. Young musicians and their directors comprised the five performing ensembles.

Vocally there was a ninety voice mixed choir and a small mixed a cappella pop choir. I had the privilege of conducting the large mixed choir this trip. What a wonderful experience! We sang in some of the most beautiful cathedrals in Europe. A highlight of these performances was being invited to sing in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice.

Besides our cathedral performances we also shared our music with the Swiss ski village of Champery. The entire community turned out! On our day trip to see the Matterhorn we sang an impromptu performance in the town square of Zermatt.

From London to Paris, Switzerland to Austria and Venice to Germany we experienced music as a truly universal language. Our audiences were literally from all over the world, whether they be the locals or tourists. During and after each performance we gained a new appreciation of our global family. They were all gracious hosts and thankful that we came to share our music with them.

We are all aware of America’s image in some parts of the world. We didn’t experience a negative reception anywhere we went. Maybe music and the fine arts are the answer to some of our world’s political woes. Sharing our cultural heritage through music can only bring a better understanding of combined societies. When the opportunity presents itself, travel the world and share your music. It’s a good thing!








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A report from Alaska
by Pualeilani Monds, President, AK-ACDA

We’re off to a brand new start. Every year, whether we conduct school, church, or community choirs, we get the chance to begin anew, build on past successes, fix problem areas, and get excited again about this wonderful profession.

In a way, I am getting a “start-over” with ACDA as well. Technically, last year I was president-elect, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I ended up taking over for the president early. Thanks to guidance from Michael Frasier and Ron Lange, I kind of had an idea of what to do, but talk about hitting the ground running! It was more of a “catch-up” year than anything else.

This year I am hoping to have a few more of the R&S chairs in place, as well as getting more members and filling the officer positions. Alaska ACDA has so much potential, but we need to get the word out to choir directors around the state that this group is geared to their needs and issues. Many of our people belong to other organizations, and don't see a need for one more membership fee, and my goal is to show them that we here in Alaska can have a voice in the national choral forum, as many other states do.

One big roadblock for us is distance. It is very expensive for our groups and teachers to travel out of state, so events have to be chosen carefully. I would love to see more participation in ACDA honor choirs by students from Alaska . I know all of my students who attended either NWACDA or the national conventions had an experience they will remember for a lifetime! Maybe someday we can have some kind of scholarship or endowment for Alaskan students who wish to attend and participate in these events.

I urge Alaska ’s choral professionals to travel to our NW Divisional Convention in Portland , March 15-18, 2006 . It’s a great learning experience. My dream is that someday, Alaska can host one of those conventions!

I'm excited about what the future holds for choral music here in Alaska . We have so many talented directors and singers, and programs are growing fast! Here in the Mat-Su Valley , three of the larger high schools have been making do with one teacher for choir and band, which held their program growth back. Last year Colony HS got two full time teachers for music, and this year, two of the other schools followed suit. Here at Colony, we have seen the difference after just one year! Administrators and school boards are once again discovering the advantages that participating in music gives their students, and throwing their support behind these programs.

Alaska has 22 ACDA members. I urge each of you to talk to any colleague who directs a choir and who is not a member, inviting them to join. (A membership application can be found on this website.) Let’s take advantage of the growing support we’re feeling in our schools, and assume a leadership position on the issues that face all choral directors in Alaska .

This year is another opportunity for ACDA and choral conductors in Alaska to dream, to begin, to belong, to achieve, and to change. I hope we get excited about the potential for choral music in Alaska and make the most of this new year!