By Jamie Andrews

ACDA–MN Election Results

Welcome to these two new board members who will begin their term on July 1, 2024.

Shawn Halland

Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
Metro East District
3-year term: 2024-2027

Joseph Kemper

Concordia College
Northwest District
3-year term: 2024-2027

We wish to thank the following outgoing board member for their outstanding leadership and service to our organization over the past three years:

Amy Jo Cherner
Amy Jo Cherner
Metro East District
Laura Quaintance
Laura Quaintance
Northwest District

Vocal Evolution

July 31 – August 2

Save the date and join the ACDA-MN community for the 38th annual Summer Dialogue at St. University in Collegeville. Twenty four engaging interest sessions targeting all levels of teaching have been planned by conference chair and ACDA-MN Vice President Stephanie Trump.

Headliners for the event are as follows: 

  • Kathy Romey – keynote: Choral Connection
  • Merrin Guice Gill – Directors’ Chorus conductor
  • D.D. Michael – Identifying the troubled vocal mechanism & Preventing, mitigating, remediating vocal damage for directors and singers
  • Bridget Sweet – Body Mapping for Musicians: Balance & Adolescent Voice Change & Vocal Repertoire
  • Michael McGaghie – clinician for the annual Student Conductor Workshop
  • Wendy Barden – Creating a More Inclusive Choral Class for English Learner & Accommodation and Modification in Choral Classes
  • Zach Carlson-Giving – Unified Music: Music for All, Advocacy, and Curriculum Writing
  • Sam Eaton – Using My Story to Prevent Suicide through Choral Music
  • Jerry Rubino, Andrea Leap, and Joey Clark – Perspectives on Creative Aging: A New Paradigm of Goals for the Music Classroom
  • Stephen Holmes, The Maryland State Boychoir
  • Jake Runestad – guest conductor of the All-State Mixed Choir
  • Judy Sagen – guest conductor of the All-State SA Choir
  • Derrick Fox – guest conductor of the All-State TB Choir

The Wednesday opening day schedule will feature the 13th annual Exhibits Fair with exhibitors representing undergraduate and graduate schools, tour companies, fundraising and attire specialists, composers, music vendors, community and professional choirs.

The exclusive online Summer Dialogue registration site is open now with early discount registration rates available until June 15.

Make your summer complete by attending Summer Dialogue!

For more information and to register visit:

State Conference 2024

November 22 & 23

Save the date! November 22 & 23 is slated for the annual State Conference located at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi.

Featuring a wide array of interest sessions for our members who lead choirs at the elementary, middle school, high school, college/university, church, community and professional levels. Including an evening concert featuring Minnesota composers on Fri, Nov 22.

Encouraging choirs representation from all seven districts of the state, Conference Chair and ACDA-MN President Mark Johnson has charged each District Chair to personally invite choirs to appear on the conference performance schedule. The result will again be a fascinating celebration of a diverse group of conductors who have inspired their students to excellence in performance from all geographic corners of the state.

While the Friday performance schedule will be filled with district geographic choirs, the Saturday morning and afternoon concert schedule will be filled with auditioned choirs submitting online auditions via Opus Events. Auditions are due June 1, with notification by July 1.

Click to access the online audition site here.


As we continue to reengage post-pandemic, we are looking forward to the Honor Choir season for 2023-24.


  • State 9-10 Honor Choirs: Saturday, February 15, 2025 (in conjunction with the MMEA Midwinter Clinic)
  • State 4-5-6 Honor Choirs: Saturday, March 29, 2025
  • State 7-8 Honor Choirs: Saturday, April 5, 2025

Guest conductors will be:

  • 9-10 SATB:     Jasmine Fripp, KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School
  • 9-10 SSAA:    Adrian Davis, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
  • 9-10 TBB:  Marques L.A. Garrett, University of North Texas
  • 4-5-6 Choir I: Patty Arntz, Robbinsdale Schools (ret.)
  • 4-5-6 Choir II: Greg Gilpin, conductor & composer – Nashville, TN
  • 7-8 CTB:  Lukas Warren, Hasting High School
  • 7-8 SSA:     Elizabeth Egger, Angelica Cantanti Youth Choir

Our Honor Choir leadership team offers outstanding support to our student singers and their directors throughout the year. Thanks to these co-chairs…

  • 4-5-6 Choir I: Julie Conzemius and Melanie McIvor
  • 4-5-6 Choir II: Deveny Beaton and Andrew Parr
  • 7-8 CTB:  Susan Snorek and Matt Kiminski
  • 7-8 SSA:  Megan Cox and Katie Irvin
  • 9-10 SATB:  Bri Bergstrom and Zach Kubasta
  • 9-10 SSAA:  Laura Odden Quaintance and Wendy Suoja
  • 9-10 TBB:  Jim Cox and Chris Jacobson

Look for more information about the exciting 2024-25 honor choir season posted via The Weekly Pulse and Star of the North Fall issue later this summer.

We wish to acknowledge our “retiring” co-chair for her outstanding support to our honor choir program over the years.

Julie Conzemius

4-5-6 Choir I


After several years of faithful service and leadership, ACDA-MN bids farewell and says a special thank you to Phillip Brown who has served as Repertoire & Resources (R&R) Coordinator and Kyle Pederson as R&R Chair for Minnesota Composers.

Phillip Brown
Phillip Brown
R&R Coordinator
Kyle Pederson
Kyle Pederson
R&R Chair Minnesota Composers


Scholarship applications to attend the ACDA-MN Summer Dialogue are now available at:

Scholarships will be awarded in these categories:

  • Full (registration and 3 nights of on-campus housing) @ $439
  • Partial (registration only) @ $280


  • Recent college/university graduate or members in their first two years of teaching
  • Members attending their first Summer Dialogue regardless of years of experience

Application due date is June 1, 2024

2024 ACE Award Nominations

Members in each of the seven geographic districts within ACDA-MN, will have an opportunity to nominate colleagues to receive the annual Advocate for Choral Excellence (ACE) Award.

Past recipients have been administrators, accompanists, parent booster organizations, church and community choir conductors, civic leaders who promote the choral arts, neighboring ACDA-MN members, etc. Nominations are due to your district chairs by June 1.

Contact your District Chairs as follows:

Nominate a deserving ACDA-MN member for the annual Awards Program:  

  • Emerging Choral Director Award
  • Minnesota Choral Director of the Year Award
  • F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award
  • VocalEssence Creative Programming Award – (note: middle/junior high & high school choirs are eligible in 2024)

Applications require the nomination form to be filled out with three letters of recommendation.

Nominations are due June 1, 2024

Click here to submit a nomination.


Special thanks to these ACDA-MN members who have inspired and led the development of the Star of the North during the 2023-24 academic year:

RIchard Carrick
RIchard Carrick
Managing Editor
University of Minnesota – Duluth
Miriam Augsburger
Miriam Augsburger
Associate Editor
Rockford Public Schools
Garrett Laethe
Garrett Laethe
Associate Editor
Youth Chorale of Central MN
Erik Doucette
Erik Doucette
Associate Editor
United Methodist Church, Anoka
Elisabeth Cherland
Elisabeth Cherland
Associate Editor
Minnesota State University – Mankato
Dennis Friesen-Carper
Dennis Friesen-Carper
Associate Editor
St. John’s Lutheran Church, St. Olaf

About Jamie Andrews

Jamie Andrews (he/him) has over two decades of experience working in the arts, education, and nonprofit administration. He is currently the Executive Director of the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota, and a founding member of PrimeLife Arts Learning, an on-line platform dedicated to Creative Aging. Previously he served as Development Manager for Lakeshore Players Theatre, Recruitment and Events Planning Liaison at the University of St. Thomas, and as the Chief Learning Officer at the Minnesota Opera, where he oversaw an extensive array of programs for all ages, including an industry-leading Creative Aging initiative, Music Out Loud, the first opera-based El Sistema-inspired youth program in the US, and the commission of a youth opera The Song Poet, based on the novel by Kao Kalia Yang with music by Joceyln Hagen. Active in arts advocacy, Jamie serves on the board of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts.

Jamie started his career in the arts, teaching band and choir in Forest Lake and Lester Prairie, Minnesota, after earning a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He also earned a master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Management from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.