Central District ACE Award

Mary Moen

Nominated and Presented by: Garrett Lathe

We are fortunate to live in a state where life-long singing is not only a shared value, but a lived experience. While we as song-carriers hone our craft to keep others moving forward on the trajectory of life-long singing, we all know that the path is made easier if singing experiences happen early in life.

Mary Moen is a song-carrier among us who is dedicated to just that… developing the love of singing in children. Mary began her path as a music educator in 1984 in International Falls, and retired this spring after teaching 28 years in the Staples Motley District.

For many of you, Staples Motley may ring a bell. For decades the choral program there has been an aspirational high school program, appearing at many conferences, home to over 100 all-state singers under the direction of such great leaders as Les Dehlin, Stan Carlson, and Steve Hoemberg. I was fortunate to serve in the district for a few years and got to know Mary as an educator and friend. I soon discovered what Stan and Steve would wholeheartedly confirm… The foundation of the choral program in Staples Motley is based on the incredible work that Mary did in the elementary program. Not only did students come into the choral ensembles understanding solfege, intonation, beautiful tone, and basic theory, the most important thing was evident: These kids LOVED singing.

Mary’s accolades and resume are impeccable. She founded the Central Minnesota Boys Choir in 2000, has appeared at MMEA clinics, received the Community Arts Leadership award from Five Wings Arts Council, and was named an Educator of Excellence by Sourcewell. We all know that these extrinsic awards, including this one tonight, pale in comparison to the eternal work of giving voice to children.

But, Mary, may this Advocate of Choral Excellence Award serve as a symbol of the eternal difference you have made in the thousands of young singers you have taught, and of the impact you’ve had on the educators around you. Some of your students and colleagues are here tonight as a testament of your work, and all of us here thank you for your service.

It is an honor to present Mary Moen with the ACDA of Minnesota Central Division “Advocate of Choral Excellence” award!