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Dear choral colleagues,

Just nine weeks ago, we gathered as a Northwest community in Spokane for inspiring performances, innovative interest sessions, creative repertoire spotlight sessions, and heartening camaraderie. Although truncated, I am grateful for our time together and for all the music shared—this gratitude is only deepened by our current circumstance.

Due to the rapidly evolving situation at that time, we all quickly shifted gears to adapt in our choral communities at home. However, I would be remiss in not extending a very belated thanks on behalf of our Northwest membership for the extraordinary contributions of our friends who made “Sharing Our Story” possible, leaving us with positive memories together.

Thank you to all our Interest Session presenters, who diligently prepared and presented unique offerings drawn from their own rich stories: Rachel Wulff, Max Mendez, Joseph To, Timothy Fitzpatrick, Heather MacLaughlin Garbes, Steven Zopfi, Brenda Winkle, Joshua Shank, Coreen Duffy, Steven Zielke, Erin Guinup, and Diane Retallack.

Transformed from “Reading Sessions” to Repertoire Spotlight Sessions, thank you to our Northwest Board members and partners who creatively re-envisioned these: Ethan Sperry, Nicole Lamartine, Anne Lyman, John Muehleisen, Geoffrey Boers, Jeff Horenstein, Mike Scott, Ethan Chessin, Michael Porter, and Jacob Steinberger.

My musical soul brightens at the memory of so many fine choirs across our region singing their story with such passion: Hellgate High School Chevaliers, In Mulieribus, Montana State University Montanans, Chronos Vocal Ensemble, Casper Children’s Choir, CS Porter Middle School Varsity Porterliers, Vocal Affinity Chamber Singers, Ferris High School Canterbury Belles, University of Wyoming Collegiate Chorale, Male Ensemble Northwest, Cascade Middle School Treble Choir, Oregon State University Bella Voce, South Kitsap High School Highlighters, and Central Washington University Chamber Choir. (SEE PHOTOS OF EACH GROUP IN PERFORMANCE AT THE CONFERENCE) Although several choirs could not perform at the conference due to circumstances, we hope to hear them at a future conference: Portland Phoenix Chamber Choir, St. Mary’s Academy (Japan), Sonous (Idaho), Bellevue College Jazz Singers (Washington), and C. M. Russell High School Chanteur Choir (Montana). We know how much energy these singers invested in preparation for the conference, and we missed your performances.

The Northwestern “can-do” spirit was on full display with members stepping in on short notice due to travel cancellations. Thank you to Rodney Eichenberger for leading a positive and insightful conducting master class and to Stacy Brown and Alonso Brizuela for their enthusiasm (on one day’s notice) in conducting honor choirs alongside Amanda Taylor, John Byun, and Gary Packwood.

Like a duck smoothly gliding along a lake’s surface, behind the conference’s flowing operations was a team cheerfully hard at work. Thank you to equipment manager Matt Johnson; Honor choir coordinators Stacia Cammarano, Andrea LaPlante, Kent Wilson, Isaac Robbins, and Jeff Horenstein; site managers Christina Nelson and Karen Fulmer; our many student volunteers and volunteer coordinators Annie Stanger and Taylor Iverson. The Northwest Board brought a selfless spirit of service with their work for “Sharing Our Story,” and particular thanks to the conference steering committee, Carol Stewart-Smith (registration), Amy Fuller (honor choirs), Michael Porter (interest sessions), Zach Vreeman (repertoire spotlight), and Andrea Pelloquin (exhibits). The entire conference was enriched by the visioning of the state ACDA presidents; you brought us closer to each state through your concert “postcard” greetings.

The newly added role of conference manager attended to a myriad of crucial details, from conference schedule to communication with all choirs and presenters. Our gracious manager, Stan McGill, proved himself so invaluable that I’m delighted to share he will join us again in 2022. We are also grateful for the support of the National ACDA office and Brent Ballweg for working with us with a humble and supportive presence on site.

Lastly, over the past two years, I have admired the steady, thoughtful, and integrity-guided leadership of President Brian Galante. Your vision for this conference’s theme reflected your love for our Northwest choral community and all our stories. In the midst of a challenging time, you navigated through multiple conference rewrites with adaptability, patience, and clarity. I cannot think of any other person we would rather trust than you. I am grateful for your service and leadership, making 2020’s conference a story that we will all certainly remember.

Stay tuned for future communications about opportunities to serve on the Northwest ACDA board, which will embark this summer upon planning our 2022 conference in Spokane, when we will celebrate singing together in person once again!

In gratitude,

Tim Westerhaus

Northwest ACDA President-Elect


Timothy Westerhaus; Gonzaga University

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