Aspen Bue 2Attending at least one fall conference has become a pilgrimage of sorts for the members of the ACDA student chapter here at Concordia College. Each year we bring the largest number of students (from the largest student chapter in the state), and the experience is nothing short of inspirational and enriching. I see each conference as being a rite of passage in both my professional and academic lives. I always leave thinking, “Yes, this is what I want to do.” My desire to teach is validated and rejuvenated, and I am one step closer to entering this field that I am so passionate about. This year’s conference was no exception.

The male voice was the main focus this year. I found all of the sessions, presentations, and performances that reflected this focus incredibly helpful. As a female, it can be intimidating trying to navigate the deep, dark ocean that is the male voice especially when an unexpected tsunami hits (aka puberty). Dan LeJeune’s session entitled “Singing Sons: Nurturing Boys’ Voices from Six to Sixteen” was a stand-out for me. After hearing his middle school students give an amazing performance that blew me away, I was beyond anxious to attend his session. And he did not disappoint. I almost felt guilty for attending because he was throwing out so many insights and tips; it was like raiding a treasure chest.

There were many more highlights for me, but I am merely one voice. Here are some personal reflections from the 40+ Cobbers who attended this year’s conference:

“I really enjoyed the concerts. To see such wide breadth of music in such a short amount of time was truly astonishing, and to see how much you can do with any age group is inspiration for me. The workshops were good, and most of them had very useful and relevant information.”

Noah Bray (first-time attendee)


“As always, the clinic sessions were some of the best learning experiences of the conference for me. The performances were solid all around, and I especially loved hearing Cantus again. And as for individual speakers, I don’t know how they found Mr. Clint Pianalto, but please bring him and others like him back; his session in the Student Symposium was more than worth the price of admission on its own!”

Jason Dunbar (second-time attendee)


“I was very impressed with my first ACDA Conference experience.  The workshops were informative and the concerts were a beautiful celebration of choral music.  I especially liked the collaborative sessions when the mentors worked with their choirs.  It was nice to be able to learn from some out-of-state clinicians as well.  I liked that, despite how large the ACDA-MN organization is, there is a wonderful sense of community amongst educator members and student members alike.”

Kennedy Niska (first-time attendee)


“When I think about the fall conference I mostly think about the amount of music that we get to listen to. Yes it is amazing to hear all about tools that we can use as teachers in the future, but I love getting to sit down listen to and enjoy repertoire that I wouldn’t have the time to listen to otherwise. I get to think about how music is used in new ways like with the Roosevelt High School choir that only had three male singers and included dance and student created compositions. This was a highlight of mine last year and continued to be a highlight of mine this year. I also loved Dr. Chris Pianalto and what he spoke on how to use music learning to apply to other areas of learning, like biology with the function and position of the larynx or algebra with his music multiplication example. I think that that kind of interdisciplinary learning is amazing.”

Andrew Swartchick (second-time attendee)

Another successful conference in the bag for ACDA of Minnesota. The high level of musicianship and academia we have seen has left us thirsting for more once again. College will not last forever; our careers are right around the corner. As we prepare to take the plunge into the real world, it is reassuring to have ACDA-MN cheering us on. Thank you for being with us from the very beginning.

Aspen Bue
Concordia College’s ACDA Student Chapter President
ACDA-MN Student Representative on Board of Directors