by Bruce Becker

UPDATE:  2020-21 Honor Choir Season

Bruce Becker

After several months of discernment seeking responses from multiple levels of ACDA-MN leadership related to the future of our current Honor Choir season, it is apparent that the continuing Covid-related disruption and uncertainty related to the remaining academic year is having a profound impact upon our Honor Choir program.

In addition, it is likely that the audition time frame set to begin in January and conclude in mid-February, could still land within the distance learning modes of many school districts this winter, making it extremely difficult for teachers to recruit and support students in the on-line audition process. All potential levels of in-person and virtual honor choir experiences were thoroughly studied and ultimately rejected.

Dates have now been selected for the 2021-22 Honor Choir season as follows:

7-8:  November 20, 2021 (State Conference weekend) with guest conductors

               Lin Warren (CTB) and Shelly Schaeufele (SSA)

9-10:  February 17, 2022 (MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic) with guest conductors

               Greg Douma (TBB), G. Phillip Shoultz (SSAA), and Kyle Fleming (SATB)

4-5-6:  April 23, 2022 with guest conductors

               To be determined (Boys’) and Karen Howard (Girls’)

7-8:  May 7, 2022 (alternate spring date if needed)

9-10:  May 14, 2022 (alternate spring date if needed)

We thank our ACDA-MN leadership teams for their careful consideration, and our ACDA-MN membership as you support these challenging decisions.

FMC 150th Anniversary Concert Re-Scheduled for 2022

FMC 135th Anniversary Concert

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus affecting our participating choirs and potential audience support throughout the 2020-21 academic year and beyond, the FMC 150th Anniversary Concerts have been rescheduled for November 20, 2022 at 2:00 pm and 6:30 pm.

The highly anticipated event will feature six distinguished Minnesota choirs celebrating the 151st birth anniversary of F. Melius Christiansen, the father of a cappella choral singing in America and founder of the St. Olaf Choir.  In addition, these choirs will perform the world premiere of a new piece commissioned for this event: a collaboration by noted Minnesota composer René Clausen, former conductor of The Concordia Choir-Moorhead, with lyrics provided by Brian Newhouse, former program director of Classical Minnesota Public Radio.

  • The Augsburg Choir
  • The Gustavus Choir
  • The Concordia Choir-Moorhead
  • St. Olaf Choir
  • Christus Chorus of Concordia University-St. Paul
  • National Lutheran Choir

All proceeds from the event will be used to ensure the vitality of choral music in Minnesota by providing financial support to promising Minnesota choral directors and their students wishing to further their professional training and experience, and to support the ongoing state-wide programming for ACDA of Minnesota. Tickets will go on sale at Orchestra Hall in September, 2022.

Welcome New Social Media Editor

Hannah Steuer

ACDA-MN is thrilled to welcome Hannah Steuer, a vocal music education major at Macalester College, as our new Social Media Editor. As part of her volunteer duties, Hannah will supervise and manage both ACDA-MN Facebook accounts and offer insight as we seek to expand our social media presence among our membership. Welcome Hannah!

Meet the Candidates for Annual State Elections:  March 2-9

ACDA-MN members who have agreed to place their names in nomination for the following leadership positions are as follows with state-wide balloting to be scheduled March 2-9.

State President-Elect

Daryl Timmer
Woodbury High School

Jerome Upton
Duluth East High School

Metro East District Chair

Amy Jo Cherner
Eagan High School

Mari Espeland
Mounds Park Academy

Northeast District Chair

Erynn Millard
Minnesota State University-Moohead

Laura Quaintance
Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Fergus Falls

In addition, ACDA-MN membership will be asked to approve of several updates to the ACDA-MN Constitution and Bylaws.

Complete candidate bios and statements of leadership intention will be published via The Weekly Pulse in the weeks leading up to the balloting time frame.

2021 Summer Dialogue to Meet In-Person

Plans are now being made to develop an in-person program for the annual ACDA-MN Summer Dialogue, August 3-6, located at St. John’s University in Collegeville MN. The Summer Dialogue planning team led by ACDA-MN State President Diane Heaney, is keeping a close eye on current and projected future mitigation strategies related to the pandemic outbreak and will be prepared to pivot as needed.

Current FMC Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships awarded by the FMC Endowment Fund Scholarship Sub-Committee are available with these application deadlines:

Graduate StudyApril 1 deadline

  • Available to both part-time and full-time students with award amounts from $1,200-$4,000
  • Eligibility:  ACDA-MN members with at least two years of teaching/conducting service in Minnesota

Alice T. Larsen Memorial Scholarship Award:  April 1 deadline

  • Available to Minnesota choral directors seeking graduate school experience with award amount of $1,500
  • Eligibility:  Female ACDA-MN members with at least two years of teaching/conducting service in Minnesota

Summer Dialogue:  May 15 deadline

  • Available for Minnesota conductors to attend the annual Summer Dialogue conference August 3-6 located at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN
  • Two award levels:  Full Award with registration and campus housing; Partial Award with registration
  • Eligibility:  Emerging Minnesota choral directors/teachers with up to two years of experience recent college/university vocal music education graduates, ACDA-MN members who will be attending Summer Dialogue for the first time, regardless of experience

Summer Dialogue Student Conductor Workshop:  March 15 deadline

  • Available for student members to participate in the annual Summer Dialogue Student Conductor program, August 3-4, located at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN.
  • Award includes two-day registration, campus housing, and meals.
  • Students will apply with and be selected by their college/university advisor
  • Eligibility:  College junior or senior vocal music education major

2021 State Conference

Axel Theimer

Philip Brunelle

Kathy Saltzman Romey

Dale Warland

On Friday-Saturday, November 19-20, ACDA-MN members will gather for the annual State Conference located at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi. Along with performances from 10 choirs and over 20 interest sessions representing all teaching levels, two special festival concerts on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon will honor four Minnesota choral luminaries who have guided our choral community into worldwide recognition for their exemplary contributions. Among those who will be honored for their stellar legacies are:

  • Axel Theimer, who will be retiring from St. John’s University this spring
  • Philip Brunelle, founding Artistic Director of VocalEssence
  • Kathy Saltzman Romey, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Minnesota, and Choir Master of the Minnesota Chorale
  • Dale Warland, founding Artistic Director of the Dale Warland Singers

ACDA Virtual National Conference

March 17-20 are the dates that have been programmed for the first ever virtual ACDA National Conference.  “Celebrating Diversity in Music” is the theme of the event with some of these headlining performances and clinicians:

  • BBC Singers – Bob Chilcott
  • Formosa Singers – Julian Ching-Chun Su
  • Coro Entrevoces – Digna Guerra
  • The King’s Singers

Eric Whitacre, Anton Armstrong, Alice Parker, Francisco Nunez, Allen Hightower, Zebulon Highben, Rollo Dillworth, Jefferson Johnson, Kirby Shaw, Charles Anthony Silvestri, Hilary Apfelstadt, Stacy V. Gibbs, Rosephayne Powell, Joan Szymko, Simon Halsey

On-Line Registration is available at:

Welcome to New ACDA-MN Members

As part of the new member campaign launched by the ACDA national office this past fall, Minnesota was able to recruit and offer a complimentary one-year membership to these 20 Minnesota directors:

  • Noah Anderson, Red Rock Central Public Schools, nominated by Stephen Kingsbury
  • Jenna Udenberg, Two Harbors Public Schools, nominated by Sheila Shusterich
  • Illana Peter, Montevideo Public Schools, nominated by Stephen Kingsbury
  • Adam Miller, Totino Grace High School, nominated by Paula Holmberg
  • Grace Simpson, Faribault High School, nominated by Diane Heaney
  • Jennifer Humke, Rochester Mayo High School, nominated by Diane Heaney
  • Kade Davidson, Yellow Medicine East High School, nominated by Chad Felton

The following members were recruited by Executive Director Bruce Becker:

  • Leandra Craigmile, Park Rapids High School
  • Claire Malinowski, Dover Eyota Public Schools
  • Eric Harstad, Madelia Public Schools
  • Jacob Kempenich, Albany Public Schools
  • Emma Jirele, Jackson County Central Public Schools
  • Sean Benz, TriCity United Public Schools
  • Adam Gruendemann, Sauk Centre High School
  • Derek Bebeau, Redwood Valley Public Schools
  • Carey Kopp, Lake City High School
  • Donovan Hanson, East Grand Forks High School
  • Susan Thomas, Onamia High School
  • Daniel Olson, Crosby-Ironton Public Schools
  • Gwynne Mishler, LaCresent-Hokah Public Schools

If you are interested in nominating any other colleagues for membership in ACDA, please contact Executive Director Bruce Becker at: