It is with very mixed feelings that we announce the retirement of Barb Geier, our ACDA-MN Executive Assistant effective July 1, 2017. Barb has brilliantly and confidently served our organization specifically as registrar for Summer Dialogue and State Conference, along with managing the audition and selection process for our honor choir program that now involves over 2400 students in six honor choirs per season. In addition, she has supported and provided dedicated leadership to the state office of Executive Director in numerous other capacities as needed. In her retirement letter she states:

I am excited about my impending retirement, but wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for all of the opportunities I have experienced working for our organization.

We wish Barb and her husband Paul fulfilling years ahead as they transition to full-time retirement.

ACDA-MN will formally recognize Barb during the Summer Dialogue banquet this coming August.

The ACDA-MN Board of Directors has determined that the time frame to name a successor for the part-time position of Executive Assistant is as follows:

February 1 – position posting

April 1 – application deadline

May 1 – appointment and transition

July 1 – assume duties

Stay tuned as more details will be posted in The Daily Beat.

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Work by our Web Editor Dariush Akhavan continues on the complete redevelopment and migration of the ACDA-MN website to a new platform.  We expect an updated design and easier navigation of the site to be among the major components of this work.  In addition, the site will offer our membership the opportunity to establish and respond to various online forums with topics and conversation germaine to our profession.  Stay tuned for more information and details regarding our website.


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The second official gathering of leaders within ACDA-MN met on Saturday, January 21 to continue work in the visioning process that will help propel the ACDA-MN organization into the next decade.  Committee members from all teaching and leadership levels will evaluate current organizational structure, programs and events, and recommend expanded initiatives to keep our organization relevant and responsive to an increasingly diverse community of singers and consumers of the choral art.  Work on this special initiative will continue for the next several years.  Our thanks to coordinator and convener Steven Albaugh of Rosemount High School and ACDA-MN past president for leading the process.


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We are looking forward to sponsoring our final honor choir event of the academic year for students in grades 4-5-6.  For the third year, based on overwhelming support from members teaching in the elementary grades, two choirs will be organized, one for boys and one for girls.  We highly encourage our elementary colleagues to personally seek out and encourage children to audition at the end of February.  A large audition pool ensures that the resulting honor choir experience will be successful for all participants.  Rehearsal and performance location will be held at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi.


Auditions Due:  Friday, February 24

Director Notification:  Monday, March 6

Scholarship Applications Due:  Friday, March 17

Scholarship Notification:  Monday, March 20

Payment and Registration Forms  Due:  Wednesday, March 29

Rehearsal and Concert Day:  Saturday, May 6

Guest Conductors


Ruth Dwyer

Indianapolis Children’s Choir


Charlette Moe
North Dakota State University


We thank long-time State 7-8 SSA Honor Choir co-chairs Jamye Casperson of Lakeville North High School and Terri Thomas of Hidden Oaks Middle School in Prior Lake who retired their leadership positions following the end of the 2016 honor choir day.  Jamye was the longest serving honor choir co-chair in our history, serving in that capacity continuously since 2005.

Jamye Caspperson

Jamye Casperson
Lakeville North High School

Terry Thomas

Terry Thomas
Hidden Oaks Middle School

We also thank both Shannon Sheehan of Bluff Creek Elementary School in Chanhassen, former State 4-5-6 Boys’ Choir co-chair, and Kayla Krizek of the Twin Cities Home Schoolers for the Arts, former State 4-5-6 Girls’ co-chair, for their outstanding service and dedication to our honor choir program over the past several years.


Shannon Sheehan
Bluff Creek Elementary


Kayla Krizek
Twin Cities Home Schoolers


FMC-Logo-2010The FMC Endowment Fund Committee has expanded their scholarship program to include needs-based scholarships for families seeking registration assistance for their child to attend honor choir day.  Funds have already been set aside to support students in grades 4-5-6 honor choirs.  Information and the application schedule is posted on the Honor Choir website and will be included in The Daily Beat as we move closer to the student notification date on March 20.


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The ACDA-MN leadership team is planning to sponsor the third annual Elementary Choir Forum on 4-5-6 honor choir day scheduled for Saturday, May 6, with one extended session from 3:00-4:45 pm.

The event will be located at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, and will conclude in time prior to the start of the combined State 4-5-6 Honor Choir concert beginning at 5:30 pm.  Stay tuned for more information about this event via The Daily Beat in the weeks to come.



Support ACDA-MN by casting votes for a new slate of candidates who are looking forward to leading our state organization in the next several years.  Members will be able to conveniently complete your online ballot from March 1-10.  Candidates in these positions are as follows:


Diane Heaney, Albert Lea High School

Elizabeth Shepley, Northfield Children’s Choir


Mary Ebanks, Big Lake Public Schools

Michael Sellheim,  Annandale High School


Michael Jeffrey, Pine Island Public Schools

Maria Wilson, Ellis Middle School, Austin

See complete bios of these candidates by selecting the “ELECTIONS” from the main menu above.


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For the past twelve years, Concordia University benefactors David and Sandra Frauenshuh have underwritten all of the expenses related to the sponsorship of the annual Choral Arts Finale, a premiere music festival for high school choirs.  Following the 2017 event, the sponsors will direct their philanthropic support to other endeavors near and dear to their heart.  It is estimated that over the twelve year period, they have invested over $300,000 to support this event.  ACDA-MN takes this opportunity to sincerely thank the Frauenshuh’s for their vision and sponsorship of the exceptional program.


David and Sandra Frauenshuh

Six high school choirs will come together at Concordia University-St. Paul on Sunday, March 26 for an afternoon clinic performance session with guest conductor Francisco Nunez from the Young People’s Chorus of New York City.  Later that evening, the choirs will fill the stage at Orchestra Hall to sing individually and as a massed choir under the direction of Nunez.

Selected through a blind audition process, the choirs are:

  • Albert Lea High School Concert Choir, Diane Heaney, conductor
  • Champlin Park High School Concert Choir, Laura Tempel, conductor
  • Duluth East High School A Cappella Choir, Jerome Upton, conductor
  • Hastings High School Select Chorale, Lin Warren, conductor
  • Roseville Area High School The Good ‘Pellas Chamber Choir, Kellen McMillen, conductor
  • Wayzata High School Concert Choir, Rebecca Wyffels, conductor

Each choir will receive a commemorative plaque, a $500 cash award, and transportation expenses.

ACDA-MN members are invited to attend the clinics and massed choir rehearsals at Concordia University, and are eligible to receive two complimentary tickets to the gala concert beginning at 7:30 pm.  Please watch ACDA emails for further details.


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Reserve the week of August 8-11, 2017 to attend the 32nd annual Summer Dialogue located at St. John’s University in Collegeville. Conference Chair Susan Zemlin has been planning an outstanding program that will offer relevant interest sessions, new music reading sessions, social events, and newly expanded opportunities to dialogue with one another throughout the four day schedule.  The Summer Dialogue registration website will open on May 1 with no increase in registration rates.


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We encourage ACDA-MN members to take advantage of remaining scholarship opportunities offered by the FMC Endowment Fund Committee.  Each academic year, a generous amount of funds are available to students and emerging conductors to support graduate study and professional development opportunities for extended growth in our profession.

Here follows the application deadlines for these available scholarships:

April 1 – Graduate Study Scholarships for full-time and part-time students

April 1 – Alice T. Larsen Memorial Scholarship for a female ACDA-MN member to pursue  graduate studies

June 1 – Summer Dialogue Scholarships for college/university students and for ACDA-MN members attending their first Summer Dialogue, regardless of years of experience.

Application information is available at:


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We look forward to bringing back our annual ACDA-MN award program that took a year off due to Minnesota hosting the ACDA national conference.

The following awards will be presented during the 2017 State Conference this November:

  • F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Minnesota Choral Director of the Year Award
  • Outstanding Young Choral Director Award
  • Creative Programming Award for Middle/Junior High School and/or High School Choirs

Nominations and applications for all award levels are due to the ACDA-MN state office on or before May 1.


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Mack Wilberg

We are thrilled to announce that Mack Wilberg, artistic director and conductor of the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be headlining the ACDA-MN State Conference scheduled for Friday-Saturday, November 17-18, located at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi.

Mr. Wilberg will conduct two special concert events on the conference program as follows:

Friday, November 17

An Americana Portrait with Mack Wilberg

An all-day festival featuring six auditioned high school SATB choirs, performing independently and as a massed choir singing several of Wilberg’s dazzling folk song arrangements

Public concert at 8:00 pm

High School online audition and application due April 1

Saturday, November 18

A Christmas Portrait with Mack Wilberg

A choral festival bringing together six invited community choirs, performing independently and as a massed choir singing several of Wilberg’s well-known Christmas arrangements as heard performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s annual Christmas program

Public concert at 1:30 pm

Participating choirs are:

  • Fargo-Moorhead Choral Artists – Michael Culloton, conductor
  • Minnesota Valley Men’s Chorale – Steven Boehlke, conductor
  • Minnesota Valley Women’s Chorale – Judy Sagen, conductor
  • Minnesota Mormon Chorale – Erin Gray, conductor
  • Northern Lights Chorale – Bruce Phelps, conductor
  • Two Rivers Chorale – Tim Sawyer, conductor

Online auditions and applications for choirs (clinic and concert performance) to appear throughout the remaining State Conference schedule on Friday and Saturday will be due June 1.


All auditions will be received as online submissions with our audition vendor Opus Event.  More details will be revealed in the weeks to come via The Daily Beat.