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


ACDA-MN will be sponsoring our final honor choir event of the academic year for students in grades 4-5-6. For the fifth year, based on overwhelming support from members teaching in the elementary grades, two choirs will be organized, one for boys and another for the girls. We encourage our elementary colleagues to personally seek out and encourage children to audition at the end of February.

2020 4-5-6 Honor Choir Schedule

Auditions Due:  Friday, February 21

Director Notification:  Tuesday, March 3

Scholarship Applications Due:  Friday, March 13

Scholarship Notification:  Tuesday, March 17

Payment and Registration Forms Due:  Wednesday, March 25

Rehearsal and Concert Day:  Saturday, May 2

Guest Conductors

Bret Amundson
4-5-6 Boys Honor Choir

Michelle Gehrz
4-5-6 Girls Honor Choir


We thank these co-chairs for providing outstanding leadership and stewardship of our honor choir program:

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

Melanie McIvor
Clear Springs Elementary School, Minnetonka


We thank these outgoing honor choir co-chairs for their years of dedicated service and support to our growing honor choir program:

Jennifer Hazen
4-5-6 Girls

Statistics for 7-8 and 9-10 Honor Choirs to date:

7-8 TTB

Auditions: 249

Selected:  155

7-8 SSA

Auditions: 428

Selected:  150


Auditions: 1094 (a record number)

TBB Selected:  120

SSAA Selected:  144

SATB Selected:  145





The F. Melius Christiansen 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. Thus far in the 2019-20 school year, scholarships were awarded to:

  • 5 students in the 7-8 honor choirs
  • 8 students in the 9-10 honor choirs

Funds have been set aside to support students in the grades 4-5-6 honor choirs this coming spring. Information is posted on the ACDA-MN Honor Choir website and will be included in The Weekly Pulse as we move closer to the student scholarship application due date of Friday, March 13. So far this year, scholarships have been awarded to every student who applied by the posted deadlines.





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 complete their online ballots from March 3-10. Candidates in these positions are as follows:

State Secretary

Two Year Term 2020-22

Sarah Abelsen
Minnewashta Elementary School, Minnetonka


Central District Chair

Three Year Term 2020-23

Tim Cayler
Catholic Area Faith Community of Jesus Our Living Water

Mary Ebanks
Big Lake High School


Southeast District Chair

Three Year Term 2020-23

Michael Jeffrey
Pine Island Public Schools

Scott Perau
Red Wing High School



[toggle expand=0 title=’2020 SUMMER DIALOGUE’]


Connect • Engage • Renew

Reserve the week of August 4-7, 2020 to attend the 35th annual Summer Dialogue located this year at historic Saint John’s University in Collegeville where the first Summer Dialogue was held in the summer of 1985. Conference Chair Paula Holmberg has been planning an outstanding program that will offer relevant interest sessions, new music reading sessions, social events, and multiple opportunities to dialogue with one another throughout the four day schedule.

Event headliners are:

  • Kristina Boerger,  Augsburg University, Minneapolis
  • Matthew Culloton, The Singers (Directors’ Chorus Conductor #1)
  • Teri Larson, Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis (Directors’ Chorus Conductor #2)
  • Sandra Snow, Michigan State University (All State SATB Conductor)
  • Andrea Ramsey, Kansas City MO (All State SA Conductor)
  • Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, St. Olaf College (All State TB Conductor)

The Summer Dialogue registration website will open on May 1.



[toggle expand=0 title=’FMC SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES’]


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 for students and emerging conductors to support their graduate studies and professional development opportunities.

Application deadlines for remaining scholarship awards in 2020:

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.

May 15 – Summer Dialogue Scholarships for college/university students, and for ACDA-MN members attending their first Summer Dialogue regardless of years of experience.

Complete application information is available at:  acda-mn.com/scholarships/



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


Mark your calendars for the annual ACDA-MN State Conference scheduled for Friday-Saturday, November 20-21, 2020 located at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi. Complete program details will be featured in the Star of the North spring issue.

Among the events being planned by program chair and president-elect Stephanie Trump are the performances of over 20 auditioned and invited choirs from every geographic district of the state, 20 interest sessions for educators and conductors at all age levels. In addition, two major festival events are being planned:

Music and Worship Event on Friday evening November 20 with Anton Armstrong as Artistic and Creative Conductor; and a special event on Saturday afternoon featuring several senior adult choirs within the Twin Cities area.


[toggle expand=0 title=’2020 ANNUAL AWARDS’]


The following awards will be presented during the 2020 State Conference this November 20 & 21:

  • F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Minnesota Choral Director of the Year Award
  • Outstanding Young Choral Director Award
  • Creative Programming Award for College/University and Community Choruses

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



[toggle expand=0 title=’2020 REGIONAL ACDA CONFERENCE’]


The ACDA Central and North Central Regions will combine for the second time and produce a regional conference located in Milwaukee WI scheduled for March 4-7, 2020.



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


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.

Approved, ACDA-MN Board of Directors, August, 2019




Recognizing the broad diversity of cultures and beliefs by our member directors, our singers, and all those impacted by performances of choral music, ACDA of Minnesota reaffirms its commitment to balance and diversity in programming.

To that end, it is important that we, as the leading proponents of choral art in our state, actively commit ourselves to produce and present concert programs that balance repertoire choices from time-honored traditional sacred and secular sources; and those from a more diverse and inclusive body of artistic and cultural expression. This may include, but not be limited to, repertoire representing composers of color, female composers, composers representing the LGBTQ community, and music sources from a broad array of world cultures and traditions.

Further, we encourage our membership to be mindful and carefully examine and avoid historic repertoire that does not honor or respect diverse and inclusive communities.

Approved and Ratified, ACDA-MN Board of Directors, January, 2020