Welcome to a new program year, and a new season with the Star of the North.

In the coming publications, we are excited to be focusing on success. Specifically, we are looking at the broad spectrum of what success looks like, including how we define success in our programs, in our community, and in ourselves.

Our Guest Feature, “Remembering Your Why: An Interview with Bret Amundson” is a wonderful place to start, as it quickly gets to the heart of this year’s theme. Bret is not only a highly successful musician and leader, but understands what it means to balance professional and personal life. In this conversation, Bret reminds us that, when looking at what success looks like in our programs, we must first remember why we are here doing this important work.

Be sure to read Inside ACDA, as it includes a lot of important information about our upcoming state conference, this year’s Honor Choirs, and the recipients of this year’s annual award winners. This issue’s Commissioning Corner features a piece titled Just Believe with Me, composed by Lia Pearson while she was incarcerated at the Minnesota Correctional Facility – Shakopee. Lia Perason and Amanda Weber, the director of Voices of Hope, describe the healing power of choral music and its community for incarcerated people, as well as how to nurture creativity in our choirs.

For our Star Program Spotlight, we asked Mark Sedio to write about the remarkable music program at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis – read Mark’s Reflections on Retirement here. This issue also includes the return of our Home Sweet Home column, which features a wonderful interview with Sandy Baker from Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg school district, where she is both an alumna and has taught for 40 years. Looking for more inspiration? Find repertoire ideas in our Pick Six section.

The Voices from the District articles, authored by your district chairs Adam Giebner (Northeast) and Laura Quaintance (Northwest), are both thoughtful reflections on this issue’s theme of success. Check out the latest updates from the FMC Endowment Fund, Scholarship Sketches, and read about our Ace Inspiration Award recipients, Vicky Harris and Keith Cornell here.

Finally, we remember the lives and careers of Donna James, Charles Harder, John McDermid, and Roger Tenny in our In Remembrance section.

On behalf of the editorial team and ACDA-MN, we hope you enjoy the Fall issue of the Star of the North. Thanks for joining us for another year, and we look forward to seeing you at our Fall Conference in November!