Happy New Year from the Star of the North! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and that your concerts, homes, and worship services were filled with beautiful music. It was wonderful to see many of you at the State Conference, and I hope to see you at the National Conference in Cincinnati in a few days.

This issue of the Star of the North is titled Finding Our Voice: In Our Ensembles. Our Guest Feature article, “Sing for Life! Music for Life!” is authored by Jeanie Brindley-Barnett, co-founder and senior teaching artist for MacPhail Music for Life™ and Artistic Director of Giving Voice. Brindley-Barnett’s description of the organizations she serves and their rehearsal process is a wonderful take on what it means to find our own voice, and have our ensembles find their voice. The article is filled with videos, resources, and rehearsal tips that will inspire your own process and teaching.

Be sure to read Inside ACDA carefully, as it includes updates on the extremely successful FMC 151st Anniversary Concert and information about our upcoming ACDA-MN events, including: honor choirs, upcoming elections, and Summer Dialogue. Inside ACDA also recognizes this year’s award winners, who were presented their awards at the 2022 State Conference this past November. Please also take some time to read about this year’s winners of the Advocates for Choral Excellence awards, Mary Moen from our Central District, and Dave Hill from the Northeast District. Next, we shine the spotlight on Champlin Park High School Vocal Music, directed by Laura Tempel – our Star Program for this issue. Tempel’s student-centered reflection is a beautiful testament to the success of Champlin Park High School Vocal Music.

Our Voices from the District articles, authored by Amy Jo Cherner (Metro East) and Laura Quaintance (Northwest), are beautiful reflections on this issue’s theme. Quaintance encourages us to foster a lifetime of singing, and Cherner’s vulnerability will resonate with anyone who is trying to balance life as an educator, conductor, and parent.

The FMC Endowment Fund article by Bruce Becker signals his final official duties as he has led ACDA-MN faithfully for years. Bruce, we are grateful for your leadership and dedication to choral music in Minnesota. Because of the generous donations from our members and outside supporters, ACDA is able to offer scholarships to students, conductors and ensembles. These scholarships enable them to attend events like the State Conference, National Conference, and Summer Dialogue, as well as additional scholarships to continue their education. This issue’s Scholarship Sketches highlights three ensembles who were able to attend the state conference because of your generous support.

In the Commissioning Corner is a reflection from composer Thomas LaVoy on some previous projects, as well as advice for a successful collaboration between composers, conductors and ensembles. And, as always, you can find inspiration for repertoire in our Pick Six section, or if you’re in a rush, check out the 5 Words or Less. Finally, this issue’s In Remembrance honors the legacy of Kathleen Kay (Anderson) Johnson.

On behalf of the editorial team and ACDA-MN, we hope you enjoy this Winter’s issue of the Star of the North. We hope this issue helps keep you informed on what is happening in ACDA, and can provide you with some renewed energy as you continue through your 2022-2023 season.