Back in 2009 when I first came on board as Executive Director, the ACDA-MN leadership team granted my request to assume the position on a part-time basis while I finished my final year of service within District 196 as a Peer Leader/Coach. The extra year provided me with more retirement and severance benefits. I knew that with a full-time job, a part-time church music position, and the new ACDA-MN part-time job, that I would need some extra help during crucial registration times and during the honor choir audition schedule that serviced four state honor choirs. At that time, we still accepted and processed audition CD’s for 1400 student entries that had to be mailed into the state office, opened up, registered and sorted into appropriate bins. They were then physically transported to the audition screeners site at a central location.
My District 196 friend and colleague Barb Geier had just retired from her choral position at Eagan High School. Observing Barb over the many years, I knew she had just the right administrative skills and temperament to provide the competent assistance our organization would need. She readily accepted the new volunteer position and immediately made a huge impact in how we supported the honor choir program. She, along with her husband Paul, accepted another volunteer request to return to their honor choir support duties in 2010, when the student auditions swelled to a record 1654 CD’s!
In 2011, state president Steve Albaugh encouraged the ACDA-MN leadership and honor choir team to consider moving to a new on-line audition system that had been successful with ACDA national and some divisional honor choir auditions. As I began the task of investigating the new audition program and realizing the enormous amount of time it would take to master the program, I again approached Barb Geier and asked her to take on a major new management position within the organization to deal specifically with the new online audition program via Opus Event. Additionally, the ACDA-MN leadership team responded with compensation for the new support position. Again, Barb enthusiastically and competently led the charge to master the details, set up our new state audition process, and teach the process to leaders and membership.
In 2012 it became apparent that our organization was in need of new registrar support for Summer Dialogue and the State Conference. After posting the volunteer position for a number of months, we received no response! I then recommended to the leadership team that we bring on Barb Geier to assume those duties and expand her compensation. Looking out for the good of the organization, Barb again extended her helping hand and accepted the challenge in the new expanded position of Executive Assistant.
A helping hand is what first motivated Barb Geier to support our organization, and it was that helping hand that personally assisted hundreds and hundreds of ACDA-MN members, honor choir parents, clinicians, guest conductors, vendors, exhibitors, board members, and R&R committee chairs over the past eight years. She extended her helping hand to countless projects that were more successful because of her gifted skillset.
It is my contention that a person doesn’t develop a “helping hand” without first possessing a “servant heart.” Barb’s servant heart has been one of thoughtful consideration, unbounding compassion, incredible competence, a calming presence, and reassuring service. Her helping hand and servant heart have supported my position and our organization in ways that have seen us grow from four to six honor choirs, from 1400 student auditions to over 2400, from one dozen to three dozen audition screeners, from seven interest sessions during the 2010 state conference to over 22 sessions in 2015, from 535 members in 2009 to our current membership of 900. But more importantly, Barb’s servant heart supported each member’s questions, one at a time, as if each question was the most important she had received.
ACDA-MN will take time to celebrate this gifted leader and acknowledge the enormous contributions she and her husband Paul have made at the Summer Dialogue Award and Recognition Banquet on Thursday, August 10, at Saint John’s University.
That’s all for now…. Fine.