By Bruce Becker


Jamie Andrews

The Board of Directors of ACDA-MN is thrilled to announce Jamie Andrews as the new Executive Director. Jamie will begin his duties in this capacity on July 1, 2022.


Jamie Andrews (he/him) has over two decades of experience working in the arts, education, and nonprofit administration. He is 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, 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.


Working as a band and choir teacher early on, I was energized by helping young musicians find their voice. When I moved into an administrative role, I learned that I could share my passion for the arts and education in other ways, beyond the classroom. Working with students of all ages – young children, teens, teachers, and older adults – I continually saw the importance that creativity plays in everyone’s health and well-being.

I am thrilled to be a part of ACDA-MN and to work alongside dedicated professionals who keep seeking new ways to connect students through singing. I am also excited to share my “twin” passions for baseball and Monroe, WI cheese (my hometown).


Welcome New Leaders

The annual ACDA-MN elections yielded the naming of new leaders to the State Board of Directors each assuming their positions on July 1, 2022

Bryan Fisher
Bryan FisherMetro West District Chair
Southwest High School, Minneapolis
3-Year Term – 2022-2025
Adam Giebner
Adam GiebnerNortheast District Chair
Grand Rapids High School
3-Year Term – 2022-2025
Kerry Johnson
Kerry JohnsonSouthwest District Chair
Worthington High School
3-Year Term – 2022-2025

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

Chris Larson
Chris LarsonMetro West District Chair
Central Middle School, Wayzata
3-Year Term – 2019-2022
Richard Robbins
Richard RobbinsNortheast District Chair
University of Minnesota-Duluth
3-Year Term – 2019-2022
Chad Felton
Chad FeltonSouthwest District Chair
Lac qui Parle Valley Public Schools, Madison MN
3-Year Term – 2019-2022


The GREAT Minnesota Choral Get-Together!

Re-Engage • Recharge • Reimagine • Renew

Introducing a new three-day modified schedule!

Join us August 3-5 as the ACDA-MN community re-gathers after yet another challenging school year, for the 36th annual Summer Dialogue at St. University in Collegeville. Twelve repertoire and resource sessions featuring newly released titles and relevant classroom resources, along with twelve 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:  PHOTOS ON ALL

  • Ahmed Anzaldua – Directors’ Chorus conductor
  • Melanie DeMore – guest conductor of the All-State SATB Choir
  • Dwight Jilek – guest conductor of the All-State TB Choir
  • Rosephanye Powell – guest conductor of the All-State SA Choir
  • Mary Kay Geston – clinician for the annual Student Conductor Workshop
  • Anton Armstrong – keynote address

The Wednesday opening day schedule will feature the 12th annual Exhibits Fair with over 40 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 opens 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!

For more information and to register visit:


Check your calendars now for the weekend of November 18 & 19, as ACDA-MN makes plans to produce the annual State Conference located at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi.

Over sixteen 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:

Urban Initiatives High School Choral Festival

Alicia Lee

Alicia Lee, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow and faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, will join the leadership of VocalEssence with G. Phillip Shoultz and invited choral directors and students from the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and inner ring suburbs to present the third annual event on Friday afternoon.

Star of the North High School Choral Festival

Dr. Lynne Gackle

Dr. Lynne Gackle, Director of Choral Music Activities at Baylor University in Waco TX, and past president of ACDA national, will join us as guest clinician and conductor working with four auditioned Minnesota high school choirs to present a festival performance on Friday evening.

Conference Chair and ACDA-MN President-Elect Jerry Upton 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 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 online audition site:


After successfully resuming our state honor choir program during the 2021-22 academic year, , we look forward to the return of these much-anticipated events for 2022-23 in this revised schedule:

  • State 9-10 Honor Choirs:  Saturday, February 18, 2023
  • State 4-5-6 Honor Choirs:  Saturday, April 29, 2023
  • State 7-8 Honor Choirs:  Saturday, May 6, 2023

Guest conductors will be:

  • 9-10 SATB:     Merrin Guice Gill, Bethel University
  • 9-10 SSAA:     Susan Vollbrecht, College of St. Benedict
  • 9-10 TBB:       Derrick Fox, University of Nebraska-Omaha
  • 4-5-6 Boys:    Bret Amundson, College of St. Scholastica
  • 4-5-6 Girls:    Michelle Gehrz, Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs
  • 7-8 CTB:         Garrett Lathe, Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle School
  • 7-8 SSA:         Michelle Bendett, Northfield Middle School

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

Sarah Gilbertson
Sarah Gilbertson9-10 SATB
Kyle Eastman
Kyle Eastman9-10 SATB and 9-10 TBB
Brandon Nordhues
Brandon Nordhues7-8 CTB
Reid Larsen
Reid Larsen7-8 CTB

Assuming leadership positions effective for the 2022-23 school year are these new honor choir co-chairs:

Bri Bergstrom
Bri Bergstrom9-10 SATB
St. Peter High School
Jonathan Kopplin
Jonathan Kopplin9-10 TBB
Holy Family of Jesus High School
Susan Snorek
Susan Snorek7-8 CTB
Waconia Middle School
Matt Kiminski
Matt Kiminski7-8 CTB
Becker Middle School

They join the existing honor choir co-chair leadership team as follows:

  • 9-10 SATB:      Chad Garrels and Bri Bergstrom
  • 9-10 SSAA:      Laura Odden Quaintance and Wendy Suoja
  • 9-10 TBB:        Jim Cox and Jonathan Kopplin
  • 4-5-6 Boys:     Andrew Parr and Deveny Beaton
  • 4-5-6 Girls:     Julie Conzemius and Melanie McIvor
  • 7-8 CTB:          Susan Snorek and Matt Kiminski
  • 7-8 SSA:          Megan Cox and Katie Irvin

Look for more information about the exciting 2022-23 honor choir season posted via The Weekly Pulse and Star of the 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:

Michelle Gehrz
Michelle GehrzChildren & Community Choir
Sheila Shusterich
Sheila ShusterichMiddle School & Junior High School
Mark Hemingway
Mark HemingwayMusic in Worship

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 2 nights of on-campus housing) @ $369
  • Partial (registration only) @ $269


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

Application due date is June 1, 2022 


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, 2022


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 

Christus Chorus of Concordia University-St. Paul

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

Rene' Clausen
Rene' Clausen
Brian Newhouse
Brian Newhouse

In addition, the choirs will perform the world premier of “Home” 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 1996, $304,649 in scholarship funds have been awarded to 543 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 during the 2021-22 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 Minnesota
Erik Doucette
Erik DoucetteAssociate Editor
United Methodist Church, Anoka
Dennis Carper-Friesen
Dennis Carper-FriesenAssociate Editor
St. Olaf College, Northfield
Kira Haler Knutson
Kira Haler KnutsonAssociate Editor
Concordia College, Moorhead
Richard Carrick
Richard CarrickAssociate Editor
College of St. Scholastica, Duluth

We wish to especially thank Dr. Peter Durow for his guiding influence and superb leadership in managing the production of Star of the since 2019 and serving on the editorial board since 2018.

Stepping into the leadership role of Managing Editor will be Dr. Richard Carrick from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth.


Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs

Augsburg University

Augustana University

Bethel University

Carlson’s Piano World

Chanhassen Dinner Theatre

College of St. Scholastica

Concordia College, Moorhead

Concordia University, St. Paul

Forward Motion

Gateway Music Festivals & Tours

Grand Tours

JW Pepper and Son, Inc.

Luther College

MacPhail Center for Music

Minnesota Boy Choir

Minnesota Orchestra

Minnesota State University-Mankato

Murphy Robes

North Dakota State University

Northern State University

Kyle Pederson

Popplers Music

St. Cloud State University

St. Olaf Choir

Southwest Minnesota State University

Sunshine Travel

The Singers

Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus

University of Jamestown

University of Minnesota-Duluth

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

University of Northwestern-St. Paul

University of St. Thomas

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

University of Wisconsin-Superior


Wartburg College

Wenger Corporation

Youth Chorale of Central Minnesota

About Bruce Becker

Bruce W. Becker has served ACDA-MN as Executive Director since 2009, and served in various ACDA-MN leadership roles since 1976. In addition to his ACDA-MN duties, he is Director of Music at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville.