[toggle expand=0 title=’WELCOME NEW LEADERSHIP’]


ACDA-MN welcomes these newly elected and appointed leaders as of July 1, 2019.

Executive Board of Directors

Stephanie Trump

Stephanie Trump
Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, Plymouth

Board of Directors

Chris Larson
Metro West District Chair
Central Middle School, Wayzata

Richard Robbins
Northeast District Chair
University of Minnesota-Duluth

Chad Felton
Southwest District Chair
Lac qui Parle Valley Public Schools, Madison

Repertoire and Resource (R&R) Chairs

Michelle Gehrz
Children and Community Choirs
Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs

Stephen Kingsbury
Student Activities Chair
Southwest Minnesota State University

Rick Kvam
Community Choirs Chair
Rochester Choral Arts Ensemble

Nicole Thietje
Contemporary Commercial Chair
New Prague High School

Ahmed Anzaldua
Ethnic Music Chair
Unity Church Unitarian, St. Paul


Honor Choir Co-Chairs

4-5-6 Boys

Jennifer Ulven
Excel High School

Erik Ekstrom
Lakeville North High School & Century Middle School

4-5-6 Girls

Julie Conzemius
Mahtomedi Middle School

FMC Endowment Fund Committee

Mark Nelson


[toggle expand=0 title=’2019-20 HONOR CHOIR SEASON’]


Inspiring New Generations For Excellence…

For detailed information on how to audition students for the ACDA-MN Honor Choir program go to:


Student participation in the ACDA-MN honor choir program is a direct benefit of current membership in ACDA.


Saturday, November 16

Rehearsals:  Mahtomedi High School

Performance:  St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, Mahtomedi

TTB Conductor:

  Nicole Thietje
New Prague High School

SSA Conductor:

Melanie Kjellberg
Andover High School


Friday, September 27 – Auditions Due

Tuesday, October 8 – Director Notification

Friday, October 18 – Scholarship Applications Due

Wednesday, October 30 – Registration/Payments Due


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Rehearsals:  Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis

Performance:  Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis

TBB Conductor:

Ryan Beeken
Wichita State University, Wichita KS

      SSAA Conductor:

Brandon Dean
Gustavus Adolphus College

  SATB Conductor:

Aimee Beckmann-Collier
Drake University, Des Moines IA (ret)


Friday, November 1 – Auditions Due

Tuesday, November 12 – Director Notification

Friday, November 22 – Scholarship Applications Due

Wednesday, December 4 – Registration/Payments Due


Saturday, May 2, 2020

Rehearsals and Performance:  St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church • Mahtomedi

Boys’ Conductor:

Bret Amundson
St. John’s Boys Choir

Girls’ Conductor:

Michelle Gehrz
Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs


Friday, February 21 – Auditions Due

Tuesday, March 3 – Director Notification

Friday, March 13 – Scholarship Applications Due

Wednesday, March 25 – Registration/Payments Due


Audition fees for 2019-20 remain at $16.00 per student, and registration fees for selected students at $124.

Audition and registration fees cover these annual costs:  on-line audition site costs, guest conductor artistic fees and travel expenses, accompanist, instrumentalists, on-site medical staff, rental of performance and rehearsal facilities, liability insurance premiums, food, T-shirt, downloadable audio recording of the concert, and ACDA-MN administrative staff support services.


[toggle expand=0 title=’MEMBERSHIP’]


We are excited to announce that access to the ACDA-MN membership roster from the ACDA national office will now be available to all members in Minnesota. This monthly updated roster will now serve our organization as our official membership roster. To access, a member must register on the ACDA-MN website at acda-mn.com/register/


ACDA-MN will receive ten complimentary memberships to be distributed to new members during the ACDA national new member campaign this fall. ACDA-MN Board of Directors have been invited to nominate new member prospects from all seven geographic districts. In addition, members within ACDA-MN will have an opportunity to nominate new members by sending contact information directly to Executive Director Bruce Becker at execdirector@acda-mn.org with the following nomination information:

  • Name of new member prospect
  • Institution served
  • Email address


The ACDA national and state office will support up to 66 new student members in Minnesota by paying $30 of their national student dues amount, leaving $5 per student to pay for a one year membership. This student membership program will begin the middle of September and continue until 66 students have responded.


[toggle expand=0 title=’STATE CONFERENCE’]

2019 State Conference

Andre Thomas

The 2019 ACDA-MN State Conference will be held on Friday and Saturday, November 15-16 at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi. Headlining this year’s event will be American conductor, composer and leader Dr. Andre Thomas, who recently retired from Florida State University. In collaboration with VocalEssence, Dr. Thomas will take up a one-week Minnesota residency and will be featured in several other community-wide events, concluding with conducting the Minnesota premiere of his new gospel mass with the VocalEssence Chorus and full orchestra scheduled for Sunday, November 17, located at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi.

His appearance with ACDA-MN will include a new Urban Initiatives High School Choral Festival for choral music students in Minneapolis and St. Paul public high schools scheduled for Thursday, November 14, located at Augsburg University. Groups appearing on this festival program are:

  • Concert Choir from Open World Learning Academy-St. Paul, Alex Ferderer, conductor
  • Varsity Choir from South High School-Minneapolis, Laurie Meyers, conductor
  • VocalEssence Singers of this Age (SOTA) – G. Phillip Shoultz, conductor

In addition SATB quartets from all remaining Mpls/St. Paul public schools will be invited to participate.

On Friday, November 15, after delivering a conference keynote address and conducting master class, Dr. Thomas will lead the Star of the North High School Choral Festival with rehearsals located at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater. Three choirs, selected from competitive auditions include:

  • Cantus Certus from Roseville Area High School, Kellen McMillen, conductor
  • Concert Choir from Irondale High School, Jason Etten, conductor
  • Concert Choir from St. Michael Albertville High School, Joseph Osowski & Brandon Berger, conductors

On Friday evening, both the Thursday and Friday high school festivals will combine their singers for an 8:00 pm public performance located at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi

Saturday, November 16, 1:30 pm will see Dr. Thomas bring together four Minnesota collegiate choirs to produce an exciting event entitled:  Way Over Beulah Land, a concert featuring many of his spiritual arrangements. Groups selected for this performance include some of his former students now teaching in Minnesota, among them:

  • Chapel Choir from St. Olaf College, Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, conductor
  • Concert Choir from Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Erynn Millard, conductor
  • University Singers from University of Minnesota-Duluth, Richard Robbins, conductor
  • Gospel Choir from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Adrian Davis, conductor

In addition to these festival choirs, ten choirs were selected from within each of seven ACDA-MN geographic districts to appear on the conference program. Friday afternoon’s performance block will include:

  • Prima Voce (Children’s Choir) – Allegro Choral Academy, Apple Valley – Kari Douma, conductor
  • Bella Fiore (Young Women’s Choir) – Sing Out Loud, Rochester – Stephanie Nolting, conductor
  • 8th Grade Choir – South Junior High School, St. Cloud – Kristen Mattick, conductor
  • 8th Grade Choir – Pine City High School – Jennifer Krinke, conductor
  • Concert Choir – Lincoln High School, Thief River Falls – Darcy Reese, conductor
  • SMSU Chorale – Southwestern MN State University, Marshall – Stephen Kingsbury, conductor
  • A Cappella Choir – East High School, Duluth – Jerome Upton, conductor

The Saturday morning concert block will feature:

  • Senior Choir – Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Minneapolis – David Mennicke, conductor
  • Alumni Choir – Bemidji State University, Twin Cities – Mark Carlson, conductor
  • Concert Choir – St. Cloud State University – Matt Ferrell, conductor

In addition, 18 interest sessions targeting all age levels of singers/conductors will be scheduled throughout the two-day event.

Registration for the State Conference can be accessed at:



[toggle expand=0 title=’ANNUAL AWARDS’]

ACDA-MN will honor the following individuals for their outstanding contributions to our choral music community at a Saturday, November 16 luncheon during the annual State Conference weekend:

Creative Programming Award (co-sponsored by VocalEssence)

Sartell High School Choral Program

Brandon Nordhues, Conductor

  Joanna Richards, Conductor


Outstanding Young Choral Conductor Award

Ben Henschel

Blake Upper School

Minnesota Choral Director of the Year Award

Steven Albaugh

Steven Albaugh

Rosemount High School


F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award

Nancy Grundahl

Augsburg University & Angelica Cantanti Youth Choirs, ret.


[toggle expand=0 title=’COMMISSION APPLICATION‘]

On-line applications from Minnesota choral composers for the next round of ACDA-MN commissioning projects will be accepted beginning September 15 and concluding on November 1.

Commissions are being planned for the following state choral ensembles:

  • 2020-21 ACDA-MN State 7-8 TTB Honor Choir
  • 2021-22 MMEA All State TB Choir

Interested composers will apply on the ACDA-MN website, and upload a career resume and three contrasting scores (pdf) with corresponding audio files (mp3) directly to Opus Event. For more information contact Executive Director Bruce W. Becker at:  execdirector@acda-mn.org


[toggle expand=0 title=’INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE POLICY‘]

At the August 2019 Board of Directors meeting, the following policy on inclusive language was approved:

In order to honor and promote greater sensitivity to our diverse choral community, ACDA-MN encourages contracted and volunteer choral leaders to use inclusive and gender-neutral language at all official activities, events, and programs sponsored by our organization.


[toggle expand=0 title=’VOLUNTEER WITH ACDA-MN’]

If you are interested in offering your time to volunteer with any ACDA-MN event or activity, please contact Executive Director Bruce W. Becker at:  execdirector@acda-mn.org.

We are seeking volunteer leadership positions with State Honor Choirs, State Conference, Summer Dialogue, Interest Session presentations, and future leadership with our Repertoire and Resource (R&R) positions, along with our State Board of Directors.


[toggle expand=0 title=’CHANGE OF ADDRESS’]

If you have moved to a new home or school address, please contact the ACDA national membership office with this information at:

405.232.8161 xt 110

With ACDA-MN now utilizing the ACDA national membership roster for our state organization, it’s important that members revise and update their contact information.