Spring---the time of plans and projects

What does ACDA do for me?


by Charlotte Colliver, President, Montana ACDA









“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” Leo Tolstoy 
I love springtime!  I look forward to spotting the first gopher popping its head out of the ground, the return of the swallows, meadowlarks, bluebirds and Swainson’s hawks perched on the power poles, longer days, crocus and green grass.  I even look forward to the swampy, melting snow in the cow pastures as it is a sign of spring as the odors emanating from it sweep through my rolled down car window.  
As I feel the push towards the end of the year, I find that the good intentions and organization that I started the year with have morphed into survival mode of getting everything done that doesn’t have a thing to do with good lesson plans.  
My hope is this writing will give you some resources from the ACDA website that can help you pull together some meaningful lesson plans, rejuvenate your teaching towards the end of the year and expose you to some new things that you didn’t know were available to you from your ACDA membership. 
ACDA Website

A lot of work has gone into making the website useful and user friendly.  Perhaps you’re like me and have only looked periodically and briefly at the website, not really looking in depth at the benefits your membership dues provide.  Although getting a better rate on my car insurance could be beneficial (“Nationwide is on your side!”), that’s not the benefit that keeps me as a member.  
As I was perusing the ACDA website, I read through the “ABOUT” ACDA mission statement. I noticed the core goals and values of ACDA have remained the same since 1959! With societal changes, ACDA has evolved to keep up with the times to better serve its membership.  
The Association also maintains dozens of internet sites providing up-to-the minute information to its members, including a Facebook page, a Facebook group, a YouTube site with several hundred videos, and ACDA's professional networking site, ChoralNet. All of these publications are intended to connect members, and encourage peer learning and exchange. 
ACDA Publications

*Library Archives - Music libraries and catalogs - ​www.musiclibrary.com​. This site offers deeply discounted recent/out of print music for purchase as well as helping you sell choral music from your library.

*Musica International - an international virtual choral library  
As you plan for festival, end of year concerts, next year’s concerts and conference performances, these websites may broaden the scope of your music library.  
ACDA Mentoring Program

Established in 2014, this program pairs undergraduate and graduate students, as well as beginning and established choral directors (regardless of employment) with mentors. It’s like an online dating site, but making a match between mentors and mentees.  You could say that ACDA is the “original eHarmony”! Pun definitely intended!


MCDA has a mentor program as well that is ready for your use!! 
ChorTransform ]

ChorTransform is a new ACDA initiative that employs the hallmarks of service learning in a partnership between colleges and universities, ACDA student chapters, and local choral programs in need. A defining feature of this new program is that it equips pre-service choral directors to be effective in a setting outside of their usual experiences, for example urban settings, rural schools, under-served populations, under-resourced programs, and those with a lack of administrative or community support. The experience will help pre-service educators gain insight into the challenges of early career teaching.
The topic of current teacher retention, recruitment of new teachers and out of state teachers as well as encouraging high school seniors to enter the choral teaching profession was a pressing topic at the MCDA October conference business meeting.


The establishment and implementation of ChorTransform is ACDA’s acknowledgement of a greater looming crisis as education and educators continually come under greater scrutiny and state and federal governments insufficiently fund education at every level.  

You will find incredible choral performances when you subscribe to National ACDA on Youtube.  Performances from Divisional and National conferences, specialized playlists - youth choirs, jazz choirs, etc., uploads on choral topics and videos from Tim Sharp round out this Youtube channel.  
I use these videos in conjunction with choral evaluation rubrics to get my students hearing excellent choirs, creating discerning listeners and developing their own choral skills. You can Google choir rubrics that you can use so you don’t have to “reinvent the wheel”.


Teachers Pay Teachers and Pinterest have some very useful rubrics, rounds, music games and ice breakers. Resources used from TPT and Pinterest may initially seem like they should be for the elementary classroom, but can easily be adapted to older grades.  Sometimes we need to play with our kids and even the most silly game can create camaraderie in your classroom. Google “Pass the beat around the room”.  Great focusing and fun activity! 

I have intentionally put conferences last on this list of ACDA benefits because for many of us it’s the first thing that comes to our minds as the ONLY benefit of being an ACDA member. For many of us, conferences are very cost prohibitive and we may never attend a divisional or national conference in our teaching career.  If you do have the opportunity to attend a conference, you will hear excellent choirs, attend relevant interest sessions that will give you immediate tools to take back to your classroom, and connect with regional, national and international colleagues who share the same passion as you. Many hours are put into planning conferences that are beneficial to ALL members and ALL levels of choral learning.  

Please keep in mind upcoming events for you in Montana that can be used for Professional Development and rejuvenation of your teaching spirit. .  

June 27 & 28, 2019  - MCDA Summer Institute - Bozeman, MT.  


● Headliner - Dr. Jonathan Palant is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Texas at Dallas and founder and conductor of Credo, a 115 member community choir, and the Dallas Street Choir. He will lead a lead sessions on best practices for selecting literature, recruitment of male singers, creating change in unexpected places, conducting session/master class and have a conductor’s choir on rehearsal strategies focusing on the 2019 All State music  


● Reading sessions - Montana R&R chairs will lead leveled reading sessions ● Roundtables - Montana R&R chairs will lead roundtables on topics pertinent to your area of teaching


● Picnic performance! Bring your instrument as we will have a BBQ and perform for each other at the beautiful Hyalite Reservoir. 


July 17 - 20, 2019 - International Choral Festival Missoula 
October 16 - 18,2019 MMEA in Billings, MT.  MCDA headliner Greg Gilpin 
I wish you all the best as you head towards the end of the school year! 

You may contact Charlotte Colliver at: charlotte.colliver@bsd7.org


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