Diane Heaney
ACDA-MN President

Here we are in a place not one of us ever imagined we would be when we made plans for a busy spring season. Our personal world has gotten smaller and our pace greatly slowed. In spite of all the disappointment, I would like to share some of the positive things that have already happened due to our system review called the 2020 Task Force Project.

The project was an almost two year organizational review that was led beautifully by Steve Albaugh with input from many choral colleagues from around the state. Our charge was to take a good look at the policies, structures, and programs of ACDA-MN to see what was working well or not so well for our membership and make recommendations for change as we move forward.

We found that most of our traditions and programs are successful, valuable, and should remain, but with some tweaking. Members shared their concerns about personal lack of time and resources to participate in some or all of the programs we have established. ACDA leadership has made it a priority to keep costs low and quality high in all our programming for state conference and summer dialogue. New sources of revenue have been investigated and additional funding sources have proven successful to help keep costs down for members, even as expenses keep escalating. Conversation and investigation into more regional offerings will continue, and we welcome input to create opportunities for members to be involved closer to home.

In our meetings there was a loud cry for more diversity and inclusiveness within our organization. We have perhaps tried to tackle this issue more than any other. To date we have created an inclusive language policy used for clinicians and leadership when working with singers in honor choirs. We have begun to revise our rubrics for honor choir selection to reflect a more diverse sound palette and be mindful of students that are not native English speakers. There is ongoing work to seek out non-sacred venues for our honor choir performances. We have a new statement on programming to encourage repertoire choices from underrepresented cultures and composers. Our state conference now features invited choirs from every region of the state and from every age level. The FMC Endowment Fund has provided more scholarship opportunities for performing choirs to travel to the state conference and for more students to participate in honor choirs.

Feedback is important and crucial for our organization to evolve and grow. Summer dialogue and state conference programming are being designed with members’ requests for topics of interest. The Weekly Pulse and the ACDA-MN Facebook page allow our membership a convenient way to communicate and share ideas. Our website has a wealth of information for you. Watch for more communication via surveys and messages from your district chairs.

There is more work to be done, and we welcome input from all our members. Speak up and please help move ACDA-MN into the next decade with new and exciting ideas that help all singers and conductors flourish!