Barb Geier, Executive Assistant Bids Farewell

Barb Ceier

Barb Ceier

How delightful it was for me to spend time on the beautiful campus at St. John’s University during Summer Dialogue 2017. In my years as Executive Assistant, I was able to be “at” Dialogue, but was never free to “go” to Dialogue. This year, as a guest, I was able to attend sessions, listen to rehearsals and “dialogue” with friends. What an enjoyable day! As I observed, I was aware of all of the work our staff members and the people from St. John’s did behind-the-scenes to make Dialogue so successful for our members. Thank you to Bruce Becker, our Executive Director; Kristin Kivell, our Executive Assistant; and Dariush Akhavan, our Web Editor for all the hours of work behind-the-scenes. Also, thank you to Jeff Wubbels and his staff, Axel Theimer, and André Heywood for being such gracious hosts. ACDA of Minnesota always feels so welcome and comfortable on your campus.

Little did I know when I agreed in the fall of 2008 to assist Bruce Becker with the organization of the honor choir audition applications that I would be provided the opportunity to develop a staff position for this wonderful organization.  It has been my honor to serve as executive assistant for the past eight years.

I am forever indebted to Bruce. Not only is he an incredibly kind and patient boss from whom I learned so much, he is also my dear friend. We evolved into a strong team, and I will always be proud of the important accomplishments we facilitated during this exciting time of growth for ACDA-MN.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to my dear husband, Paul. When I agreed to volunteer for ACDA, I told him, “This is my chance to give back to this organization that helped me so much throughout my teaching career.” He not only understood my willingness to serve, he pushed up his sleeves and worked right beside me. I am so pleased ACDA-MN awarded him a 2017 ACE award. He has truly been an advocate for the arts his entire life.

I want to acknowledge the strong executive leadership I have served during my tenure in this position. The dedication and service of the district chairs, who bring their great ideas and news from their parts of the state to the meeting table and then provide an important link back home to their neighboring choral directors, is commendable.

We expect so much from our elected officers, and I am forever thankful for the guidance of those I served. These people give six years of dedicated leadership to our organization by the time they are done with their terms of office. So very much is expected from them. I have observed such creativity, drive, excellent leadership, and organizational skills throughout the years from these people. I will always hold the presidents for whom I have worked in the highest regard: Judy Sagen, Brian Stubbs, Steve Albaugh, Susan Zemlin and Paula Holmberg. Thank you for your excellent service to ACDA-MN.

The honor choir program was the main project I assumed the lead to develop as Executive Assistant.  How exciting to watch the audition numbers grow in the years after we provided online auditions. I am inspired by so many of our own members from this state who have taken the podiums to direct our honor choirs. Thank you to our hard working honor choir co-chairs, who work diligently to place the choirs and to make the honor choir days successful for hundreds of singers. I extend a very heartfelt thanks to those whom I consider to be our “unsung heroes”, our screeners. Think of the thousands of scales and songs these dedicated members have listened to and scored so we can place our honor choirs. I wish more of our members would step forward to volunteer to do this important work.

In the past two years Paul has been asking me, “Do you think you have given back enough yet, Barb?” My response was always, “But I am helping choir teachers, I love this!” I cannot emphasize enough how much I enjoyed all of those phone calls from all of you over the years. I grew to know so many of you through those conversations, even if we never once sat in the same room. Those connections are what I will miss the most.

Paul was right, it is time for me to be done with this work I have loved, but new adventures await us. We look forward to continued travel and to our new role as grandparents. We are so blessed.

Our mission as an organization is “To inspire and support a community of choral directors in our state.” Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for supporting me. Always continue to inspire and support each other.

Thank you and good-bye!

[toggle expand=0 title=’NEW HONOR CHOIR SEASON’]

The Honor Choirs Website has been updated for the 2017-18 honor choir season providing all of the details in how to audition students for any of the six honor choirs sponsored by ACDA-MN.

Please note the due dates to receive applications for the need-based scholarship program offered from the FMC Endowment Fund Committee.



  • Auditions Due: Friday, September 29
  • Director Notification: Tuesday, October 10
  • Scholarship Applications Due: Friday, October 20
  • Scholarship Notification: Monday, October 23
  • Payment and Registration Forms Due: Wednesday, November 1
  • Rehearsal and Concert Day: Saturday, November 18

Guest Conductors:


Steven Hoemberg
Staples MN


Andrea Ramsey
Kansas City MO


  • Auditions Due: Friday, November 3
  • Director Notification: Tuesday, November 14
  • Scholarship Applications Due: Friday, November 24
  • Scholarship Notification: Monday, November 27
  • Payment and Registration Forms Due: Wednesday, December 6
  • Rehearsal and Concert Day: Thursday, February 22


  • Rehearsals at Plymouth Congregational Church – Minneapolis
  • Concert at Minneapolis Convention Center Main Auditorium

Guest Conductors:


Jenaya Robison
Luther College


Jonathan Talberg
California St University
Long Beach CA


  • Auditions Due: Friday, February 23
  • Director Notification: Tuesday, March 6
  • Scholarship Applications Due: Friday, March 16
  • Scholarship Notification: Monday, March 19
  • Payment and Registration Forms Due: Wednesday, March 28
  • Rehearsal and Concert Day: Saturday, May 5

Guest Conductors:


Fernando Malvar-Ruiz
Princeton NJ


Barbara Sletto
Heartland Youth Choir
DesMoines IA


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

Deadlines for scholarships offered by the FMC Endowment Fund Committee are as follows for the 2017-18 academic year:


  • 7-8 Honor Choirs: Friday, October 20
  • 9-10 Honor Choirs: Friday, November 24 (Thanksgiving Weekend)
  • 4-5-6 Honor Choirs: Friday, March 16


Friday, December 1, 2017


Sunday, April 1, 2018


Friday, June 1, 2018

Respective announcements and information will be posted via The Weekly Pulse.


[toggle expand=0 title=’STUDENT MEMBER CAMPAIGN’]

ACDA-MN will sponsor a special student member campaign in association with the ACDA national office.  New or renewing students will pay a discounted membership fee of $5, while the state and national organization will kick in a total of $30 for each student member.  The membership drive will run from September 5 through October 13.  Please note that the deadline is firm.

Interested students should go directly to the ACDA national website to complete the online application form and receive instructions to submit their $5 credit card payment.




On-line registration for the 2017 State Conference opened on September 1.

Registration deadlines are as follows:

  • Early Registration Discount fees available until October 1
  • Regular Registration fees available until November 1
  • Late Registration fees available after November 1 and on-site

Go to:





Mack Wilberg

Our conference headliner is Mack Wilberg, artistic director and conductor of the world famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City UT. Dr. Wilberg will be featured in two major choral festival events throughout the weekend.


An Americana Portrait with Mack Wilberg

Friday, November 17
8:00 – 9:30 PM
Sanctuary, St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church:

  • Angelica Cantanti Concert Choir – Philip Brown, conductor
  • Centennial HS Concert Choir – Julie Enwright, conductor
  • Chanhassen HS Concert Choir – Sarah Gilbertson, conductor
  • Duluth East HS A Cappella Choir – Jerome Upton, conductor
  • Northfield HS Concert Choir – Kyle Eastman, conductor
  • St. Michael-Albertville HS Concert Choir – Joseph Osowski and Brandon Berger, conductors

Admission to this special concert event is free to ACDA-MN State Conference registrants using your name badge. Ticket sales to other ACDA-MN members and for the general public are available at the door or through Brown Paper Tickets:


A Christmas Portrait with Mack Wilberg

Saturday, November 18
1:30 – 3:00 PM
Sanctuary, St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church:

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

Admission to this special concert event is free to ACDA-MN State Conference registrants using your name badge. Ticket sales to other ACDA-MN members and for the general public are available at the door or through Brown Paper Tickets:



[toggle expand=0 title=’20176 SUMMER DIALOGUE:  A RESOUNDING SUCCESS!’]

For the 32nd time in our history, ACDA-MN’s annual Summer Dialogue program was met with enthusiastic response from the nearly 175 members that were in attendance.

The event held from August 8-11 focused on the theme Elevating our Personal Well-Being to Empower Our Choirs. Clinicians and sessions were all geared to presenting various viewpoints and perspectives in the broad meaning of this topic planned by conference chair and ACDA-MN Vice President Susan Zemlin.

A highlight of the week was the opportunity to sing in the Directors’ Chorus led by none other than Minnesota’s own Andre Heywood! Another highlight of the conference was the inclusion of the Student Conductor Workshop where 10 student conductors from the state’s colleges and universities were on hand to prepare and lead a reading session under the guidance of moderators Bradley Miller from the University of Minnesota-Morris and Michael McCaghie from Macalester College. The 7th annual Exhibits Fair and picnic lunch was held featuring 54 exhibitors from across the midwest.

Our thanks to campus host Axel Theimer and conference staff of Saint John’s University for their dedicated service as they supported our five-day event.



[toggle expand=0 title=’NEW TRANSACTION FEES IN EFFECT’]

Starting September 1, 2017, flat rate transaction fees assessed within the ACDA-MN shopping cart, will start to transition to calculated amount to reflect real costs associated with these credit card transactions and will be the responsibility of the consumer.

Once the transition period is complete, all ACDA-MN transactions associated with the Summer Dialogue, State Conference, advertising sites and any other payments to ACDA-MN will be assessed real costs associated with the transaction at .30 cents plus 2.9% fee per transaction. Subsequently, during the transition period, the existing automatic $4.00 transaction fee in place since 2010, will be eliminated.

Transaction fees for ACDA-MN Honor Choirs will automatically be embedded into the revised audition and registration fees and will be further exempt from the additional real cost calculation.

Approved, ACDA-MN Board of Directors, August 7, 2017