The annual ACDA-MN elections yielded the naming of new leaders to the State Board of Directors each assuming their positions on July 1, 2021.

Jerry Upton
Jerry UptonState President-Elect
East High School, Duluth
(6-year term: 2021-2027)
Erynn Millard
Erynn MillardNorthwest District Chair
MN State University-Moorhead
(3-year term: 2021-2024)
Amy Jo Cherner
Amy Jo ChernerMetro East District Chair
Eagan High School
(3-year term: 2021-2024)

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

Paula Holmberg
Paula HolmbergVice President
Bethel University
Amy Johnson
Amy JohnsonMetro East District Chair
Coon Rapids High School
Dwight Jilek
Dwight Jilek Northwest District Chair
Bemidji State University


The GREAT Minnesota Choral Get-Together!

GREAT People • GREAT Sessions • GREAT Food • GREAT Times

Refresh • Renew • Rebound


Join us August 3-6 as the ACDA-MN community re-gathers after a challenging school year, for the 35th annual IN-PERSON Summer Dialogue at St. University in Collegeville. Nine reading sessions of newly released and “tried and true” titles, along with seventeen relevant and engaging interest sessions targeting all levels of teaching, have been planned by conference chair and ACDA-MN President Diane Heaney.

Headliners for the event are as follows:

G. Phillip Shoultz III
G. Phillip Shoultz III
Directors’ Chorus Immersion moderator
Jason Max Ferdinand
Jason Max Ferdinand
Guest conductor of the All-State SATB Choir
Mark Potvin
Mark Potvin
Guest conductor of the All-State TB Choir
Julie Yu Oppenheim
Julie Yu Oppenheim
Guest conductor of the All-State SA Choir
Axel Theimer
Axel Theimer
Clinician for the annual Student Conductor Workshop

The Wednesday schedule will feature the 11th annual Exhibits Fair with over 30 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 will open on May 15 with early discount registration rates available until June 15.

Make your summer complete and get ready for the school year…attend Summer Dialogue!


Honoring Legacy

Celebrating Influence and Inspiration

Check your calendars now for the weekend of November 19 & 20, as ACDA-MN makes plans to produce the annual State Conference located at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi.

Over twenty interest sessions targeting our membership who direct choirs at the elementary, middle school, high school, college/university, church, community and professional levels will be programmed.

Special Conference Festival Events are as follows:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19 – Legacy Concert #1:  The Legends Among Us

A special festival concert honoring the influence and inspiration of Legacy Concert honorees:

Philip Brunelle
Philip Brunelle
Founding artistic director of VocalEssence
Axel Theimer
Axel Theimer
Recently retired conductor at Saint John’s University after serving for 52 years.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 21 – Legacy Concert #2:  The Legends Among Us

A second special festival concert honoring the influence and inspiration of Legacy Concert honorees:

Kathy Saltzman Romey
Kathy Saltzman Romey
Director of Choral Activities, University of Minnesota, and Conductor of the Minnesota Chorale
Dale Warland
Dale Warland
Founding artistic director of the Dale Warland Singers

Conference Chair and ACDA-MN President-Elect Stephanie Trump has endorsed a way to involve choirs representing all seven districts of the state. This past winter, each District Chair was given the charge 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 concert schedule will be filled with auditioned choirs submitting online auditions via Opus Events.

Auditions are due June 1, with notification by July 1.


After an unprecedented 2020-21 academic year that saw the complete cancellation of the annual State Honor Choir season, we are looking forward to bringing back these much-anticipated events for 2021-22 in this revised schedule.

Revised Schedule:

  • State 9-10 Honor Choirs:  Thursday, February 17, 2022 (in conjunction with the MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic)
  • State 4-5-6 Honor Choirs:  Saturday, April 23, 2022
  • State 7-8 Honor Choirs:  Saturday, May 7, 2022 (note change of date)

Guest conductors will be:

  • 9-10 SATB:     Kyle Fleming, Regis University, Denver CO
  • 9-10 SSAA:     G. Phillip Shoultz, VocalEssence
  • 9-10 TBB:          Greg Douma, Eastview High School, Apple Valley
  • 4-5-6 Boys:     Herbert Washington, Phoenix (AZ) Boys’ Choir
  • 4-5-6 Girls:      Karen Howard, University of St. Thomas
  • 7-8 CTB:          Lin Warren, Hastings High School (ret)
  • 7-8 SSA:         Shelly Schaeufele, Waukee (IA) Community Schools

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

  • 9-10 SATB:      Sarah Gilbertson and Chad Garrels
  • 9-10 SSAA:      Laura Odden Quaintance and Wendy Suoja
  • 9-10 TBB:          Jim Cox and Kyle Eastman
  • 4-5-6 Boys:        Erik Ekstrom and Deveny Beaton
  • 4-5-6 Girls:         Julie Conzemius and Melanie McIvor
  • 7-8 CTB:          Reid Larsen and Brandon Nordhues
  • 7-8 SSA:          Megan Cox and Katie Irvin

Look for more information about the exciting 2021-22 honor choir season posted via The Weekly Pulse and Star of the North Fall issue later this summer.


After several years of faithful service and leadership, ACDA-MN bids farewell and says a special thank you to the following members who have served as Repertoire & Resources (R&R) Chairs:

Matt Krage
Matt Krage
Virginia High School
High School Choirs
Jennifer Parker
Jennifer Parker
Inver Hills Community College
Vocal Jazz
Randi Erlandson
Randi Erlandson
Prior Lake High School
TTBB Choirs Co-Chair
Rob Hahn
Rob Hahn
Prior Lake High School
TTBB Choirs Co-Chair
Ahmed Anzaldua
Ahmed Anzaldua
Unity Church Unitarian
World Musics & Cultures Chair

Among the duties of these dedicated servants was to screen titles for Summer Dialogue reading packets, provide resources for the Pick Six repertoire articles, and provide leadership in developing interest sessions and special performance events for Summer Dialogue and State Conference.


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) @ $418
  • Partial (registration only) @ $269


  • 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 May 15, 2021


2019 ACE Award Recipients

The Advocate for Choral Excellence (ACE) Award is offered annually to Minnesota community citizens who make a difference by their advocacy and support for choral music in their communities.

Since 2008, awards have been presented to administrators, community choral directors, church choir directors, accompanists, piano instructors, school board members, parent booster clubs and organizations, parent volunteers, arts advocates, community organizers, music store vendors, and ACDA colleagues.

Contact your ACDA-MN District Chair for candidates to consider in your geographic area:

Deadline to receive applications is on or before June 1, 2021


FMC 135th Anniversary Concert

FMC 135th Anniversary Concert

Two special Identical choral concerts now re-scheduled for November 20, 2022, (2:00 and 6:30 pm) will feature these six distinguished Minnesota choirs celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of F. Melius Christiansen, the father of a cappella choral singing in America and founder of the St. Olaf Choir.

The Augsburg Choir • The Concordia Choir-Moorhead 

The Christus Chorus of Concordia University-St. Paul

The Gustavus Choir • The St. Olaf Choir • The National Lutheran Choir

Rene' Clausen
Rene' Clausen
Former conductor of The Concordia Choir
Brian Newhouse
Brian Newhouse
Former Program Director for Classical Minnesota Public Radio

In addition, the choirs will perform the world premier of a new piece commissioned for this event by American composer Rene’ Clausen, former conductor of The Concordia Choir, collaborating with Minnesota poet Brian Newhouse, former Program Director for Classical Minnesota Public Radio.

The Christiansen choral music legacy continues to be a guiding force for ACDA-MN and the endowment fund named in his honor. All proceeds from the event will be used to ensure the vitality of choral music in Minnesota by providing direct financial support to promising Minnesota choral directors and their students wishing to further their training and experience. Since 1997, $293,808 in scholarship funds have been awarded to 508 Minnesota choral directors and their students thanks to the supporters of ACDA-MN and the FMC Endowment Fund.


Special thanks to these ACDA-MN members who have inspired and led the development of the Star of the North during a very challenging 2020-21 academic year:

Peter J. Durow
Peter J. DurowManaging Editor
From Age to Age
Miriam Augsburger
Miriam AugsburgerAssociate Editor
Rockford Public Schools
Garrett Laethe
Garrett LaetheAssociate Editor
Youth Chorale of Central MN
Cory Westgard
Cory WestgardAssociate Editor
Blaine High School
Erik Doucette
Erik DoucetteAssociate Editor
United Methodist Church, Anoka