The year 2015 started out with the report from the ACDA national office that the membership of ACDA-MN had grown to 855 members (up from 569 in 2009) making us the third largest state chapter in the country. Our state leadership team continues to look for ways to creatively and purposefully engage these new members and welcome them into our community. We will continue to promote activities and events that specifically target our growing commitment to elementary and middle school teachers and their students.
In April, the 10th annual Choral Arts Finale was hosted by Concordia University-St. Paul with six high school choirs being selected for the honor of performing at Orchestra Hall with guest conductor/clinician Janet Galvan.
In May, we launched the first-ever State 4-5-6 Boys’ Honor Choir with 115 students being selected from a competitive audition field of 236 boys. Guest conductor Mark Johnson, artistic director of the Minnesota Boychoir, challenged and inspired those young singers to heights of musical achievement that was moving and thrilling. Our entire honor choir program (grades 4-10) experienced the most student auditions (2407) from the most schools in our history.
ACDA-MN continued to experience the positive involvement and support of members attending our two highly successful professional development conferences — Summer Dialogue (190) and the annual November State Conference weekend (282). The Male Chorus Extravaganza brought together thirteen men’s choirs with close to 800 singers, making it the largest single activity ACDA-MN has ever sponsored.
Finally, we bid farewell to several long-time leaders and staff members who, through their extraordinary efforts, led our state chapter to new heights of excellence and achievement.
Diana Leland decided it was time to experience retirement after 39 years of exemplary service to our organization as Director of Development and in multiple high profile leadership roles. Tom Hale, Web Editor for 12 years, accepted a new full-time position with the University of Minnesota. Tom oversaw the transformation of our organization from a print media presence to an active, cutting-edge and award-winning online presence.
We welcomed several new individuals in key staff and leadership positions: Dawn Thomsen, Director of Development; Dariush Akhavan, Web Editor; and a new Star of the North.net editorial team of: Bret Amundson, Managing Editor; with Associate Editors John Guidry, Ben Henschel, Katelyn Larson, Garrett Lathe, and David Winkworth.