2018 Central District ACE Award Recipient
Greetings to all members of ACDA of Minnesota, honored guests, and those who came to support those honored guests. My name is Michael Sellheim and I am the Central District Chair for ACDA MN. It is my distinct honor and privilege to celebrate Sue Doering tonight.
My wife Laura and I moved to Becker, MN in the summer of 2005 shortly after teaching abroad for a few years. I had been offered a job teaching middle school choir and my wife was going to be subbing in the district.
One Sunday we decided to check out Faith Lutheran Church in town. A bonus for us that day was a choir! And they sounded pretty good! Around 30-40 people! I was so surprised that a church this size could get numbers like that! And they had Tenors!?!
After the service I introduced myself to the woman who was accompanying the choir. That was Sue. I inquired about the choir and she kept selling us on joining the church and how she would love another person on the music staff (she also was the handbell director and played the organ or piano for EVERY Sunday). After about 5 minutes…she convinced me to be the next choir director! However, she neglected to tell me that the choir that I heard that day was a special event and was the combination of three churches!
Sue and her husband Mike have been married for 41 years. They have a son and a daughter and one grandchild named Ethan. They live in Becker where Mike enjoys golfing and Sue enjoys the time when Mike golfs. Just kidding Mike!
She taught in the St. Cloud school district for 40 years. 26 in the classroom and the remainder was with the Teaching and Learning Department. Her first 7 years was teaching music at her grade level. So she would teach reading and math to her homeroom class and then music to all 4 of the classrooms at her grade level. She also coordinated with the other music teachers in the other elementary schools to put on holiday and spring concerts. She has also accompanied many, many school choirs around the Becker, MN area.
Her church music career started in 1977 when she and Mike joined Faith Lutheran Church in Becker. Sue started directing the voice choirs somewhere in the early 1980’s and started a handbell choir in 1993. She has been working with both of these ensembles until 2017 when she “retired”.
During my time as the choir director from 2005 – 2014, we did many christmas cantatas. Many times you can simply buy a cantata and all the music and script is written by some composer you might not have heard of. I was fortunate to have Sue. During the summers, she would kick around ideas for Cantatas that would have a different angle on the Christmas Story. She would write a complete script of about 40 minutes of dialogue! She needs an OSCAR! We would then find music to fit the theme for the year. It was wonderful to have the freedom to pick music that would fit our needs. Sue has consistently written one from 1999 to 2016.
Lastly, Sue is one of those people that works tremendously hard with no expectation of recognition. I’m sure she almost feels embarrassed to be here, but she deserves this award. She does the work because she loves it. People keep working with her because of her calm demeanor, her strong work ethic, her quick to laugh attitude, her flexibility and last but not least. She is one of the kindest people I know. Congratulations Sue!