Emma Jirele

It was an honor and a privilege to be chosen as a Student Conductor for the 2017 ACDA Summer Dialogue Session.  Stationed on the beautiful campus of Saint John’s University, surrounded by a plethora of incredibly talented colleagues and bustling All-State campers, I couldn’t have asked for a better setting to make music together.

Throughout the week, I met new friends and saw old ones, and really appreciated the encouraging atmosphere from my colleagues throughout the entirety of the dialogue session. It was very humbling to learn that the composers and conductors that I hold in such high esteem are not only extremely talented, but are very down-to-earth and are up to helping future educators in any way, shape, or form.

One of the highlights of the week was working with Dr. Therees Hibbard.  She was very insightful and helped me improve my gestures and dig deeper into the meaning and history behind the music.  Being able to work with the other student conductors and learn from one another was just as valuable, and it was nice to be able to come together and share experiences from different colleges around Minnesota.  Without this convention, I may never have met some of these future teachers, and I am really glad that I did.

The sessions at dialogue were engaging and thought-provoking.  Dr. Axel Theimer’s session on vocal health and freeing the voice was extremely valuable to me, as I had been struggling with tension in my own voice and was looking for ways to alleviate it.  I also foresee bringing some of his techniques into my classroom in the future.  Apart from the many sessions I was able to attend, Andre Heywood led a fantastic Director’s Chorus, and I was fortunate to be able to participate in his energetic rehearsals.

I want to extend a huge thank you to the FMC committee for sponsoring this weekend.  Without you, none of the sessions, speakers, social events, and lasting experiences could have happened.  Above all, I enjoyed meeting many talented colleagues, building new friendships, and formally joining the MN choral family.

Here’s to a great school year!