New Executive Assistant Named

Kristin Kivell

The ACDA-MN leadership team is pleased to announce that Kristin Kivell has accepted the appointment as new Executive Assistant. Kristin will begin immediately to transition into the position effective July 1. Kivell most recently has been choral director at Faribault Middle School and has served ACDA-MN as Southeast District Chair.

Honoring Barb Geier

Barb Ceier

Barb Ceier

ACDA-MN plans to honor the retirement of Executive Assistant Barb Geier at the Summer Dialogue Award and Recognition Banquet on Thursday, August 10, at St. John’s University.  More about Barb’s work in Bruce’s The Last Word column.

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It’s here! After over a year of planning and development, the new ACDA-MN website is up and running. Developed by our competent and creative Web Editor, Dariush Akhavan, the goals of the new website are to provide ease of navigation and expanded opportunities for interactive dialogue between members. As the weeks and months move forward, we will announce further enhancements to the site as they become available.

If you have any questions, comments, feature requests or glitch reports please contact Dariush at



With the development of the new ACDA-MN website comes the re-development of our membership messaging program. The Weekly Pulse will now be sent out each Tuesday and will feature paid announcements, along with important messages/deadlines related to the organization. The Weekly Pulse EXTRA will be sent out on Fridays if additional urgent messaging and/or time sensitive paid announcements warrant.


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The ACDA-MN leadership team is pleased to announce the results of the annual state-wide elections held this past March.  All elected leaders will assume their positions on July 1, 2017.


State President-Elect
Diane Heaney
Albert Lea High School
Six Year Term

Michael Sellheim

Central District Chair
Michael Sellheim
Annandale High School
Three Year Term

Southeast District Chair - Maria Wilson, Ellis Middle School, Austin (three year term)

Southeast District Chair
Maria Wilson
Ellis Middle School, Austin
Three Year Term

While we are excited to welcome these new leaders to our organization, we also wish to acknowledge the incredible leadership offered by these ACDA-MN who have served our growing organization with superb distinction and service:

State Vice President - Brian Stubbs, Brainerd High School (2007-2013; 2015-2017)

State Vice President
Brian Stubbs
Brainerd High School
2007-2013 & 2015-2017
Special extended term service of eight years!

Central District Chair - Nate Raabe, Dassel-Cokato Public Schools (2014-2017)

Central District Chair
Nate Raabe
Dassel-Cokato Public Schools

Kristin Kivell

Southeast District Chair
Kristin Kivell
Faribault Middle School


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The 32nd annual Summer Dialogue will be held August 8-11 at St. John’s University in Collegeville MN. Conference Chair Susan Zemlin has programmed a stellar line-up of state clinicians and interest session topics around the personally renewing theme of:  Elevating Personal Well Being to Empower Our Choirs.

In addition, thirteen new music reading sessions will be organized by our state R&R Committee Chairs, featuring over 140 hand-selected titles.

Early discount registration deadline is:  June 15

Registration rates include:

  • Morning continental breakfasts
  • Picnic lunch
  • Thursday evening award banquet

More information and on-line registration available at:


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Conference Chair Paula Holmberg has already confirmed and programmed over twenty interest sessions for the 2017 State Conference scheduled for Friday-Saturday, November 17-18 at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi.


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.

The Friday festival will feature six auditioned high school mixed choirs appearing in An Americana Portrait with Mack Wilberg, culminating in a grand finale concert at 8:00 pm. Selected high school choirs are:

  • 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

The Saturday 1:30 PM festival concert will showcase six outstanding community choirs featured in A Christmas Portrait with Mack Wilberg. Choirs participating in this event are:

  • 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

Reserve these dates on your calendar for November, 2017!

Don’t miss it!


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After twelve momentous years that featured sixty Minnesota high schools and twelve nationally renowned clinicians, the annual Choral Arts Finale has bid their farewell.  Over the years, concert sponsors and Concordia University-St. Paul benefactors David and Sandra Frauenshuh have faithfully supported the premier choral festival.  We thank them for faithfully promoting our choral art during this time.  Finale Coordinator David Mennicke of Concordia-St. Paul has also been instrumental in positively encouraging and supporting high school choirs and their directors during these years.  Mission Accomplished!

Choirs that appeared in the final festival on Sunday, March 26 were:

  • 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


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Honor Choirs 2016-17 Statistics

State 7-8 TTB



Guest Conductor:  Steven Albaugh, Rosemount High School

Tenor 1: 116

Tenor 2:  62

Baritone:  66

Total:  244

Selected:  150

State 7-8 SSA



Guest Conductor:  Gilian Teoh-Berbee, Lake Middle School, Woodbury

Soprano 1:  137

Soprano 2:  199

Alto:  155

Total:  491

Selected:  150

State 9-10 SSAA



Guest Conductor:  Therees Hibbard, St. Olaf College

State 9-10 SATB



Guest Conductor:  Lee Nelson, Wartburg College

Soprano:  264

Alto:  403

Tenor:  70

Bass:  198

Total:  935

Selected:  130 SSAA; 130 SATB

State 4-5-6 Boys


Guest Conductor:  Ruth Dwyer, Indianapolis Children’s Choir

High:  83

Low:  123

Total:  206

Selected:  115

State 4-5-6 Girls


Guest Conductor:  Charlette Moe, North Dakota State University

High:  128

Low:  195

Either:  105

Total:  428

Selected:  150

2016-17 Grand Totals

Auditioned Students:  2304

Selected Students:  825


2017-18 State Honor Choir Schedule


Auditions Due:  Friday, September 29

Guest Conductors:

Boys – Steven Hoemberg

Girls – Andrea Ramsey

Honor Choir Day:  Saturday, November 18, 2017

Location:  Mahtomedi High School & St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church


Auditions Due:  Friday, November 3

Guest Conductors:

SSAA – Jennaya Robison

SATB – Jonathan Talberg

Honor Choir Day:  Thursday, February 22, 2018

Location:  TBD


Auditions Due:  Friday, February 23

Guest Conductors:

Boys – Fernando Malvar-Ruiz

Girls – Barbara Sletto

Honor Choir Day:  Saturday, May 5, 2018

Location:  St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church


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Thanks to the generosity of ACDA-MN members and donors to the FMC Endowment Fund, the FMC scholarship subcommittee awarded these recent scholarships to these ACDA-MN members:


2017 ACDA National Conference Scholarships

Jaclyn Anderson – North Central University

Nicholas Hager – Concordia College-Moorhead

Victoria Janasz – St. Cloud Apollo High School

Emma Jirele – University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Jeremiah Krueger – St. Cloud State University

Andrea Peterson – University of Northwestern-St. Paul

Laura Potratz – University Baptist Church-St. Paul

Jonathan Rydberg – St. Cloud State University

Megan Shipley – St. Cloud State University

Mikayla Vetter – North Central University

Cory Westgard – Minnesota State University-Mankato

2017 Graduate Study Scholarships

Paige Armstrong – University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Katelyn Larson – University of St. Thomas

Jami Lercher – University of Miami, Frost School of Music

Brandon Nordhues – University of St. Thomas

Nicole Thietje – University of St. Thomas

Amanda Weber* – University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

   *Alice T. Larsen Memorial Scholarship Award

2017 World Choral Symposium Scholarship

Michelle HayesAnoka High School

Michelle Hayes
Anoka High School

2016-17 Needs-Based Honor Choir Scholarships

7-8 Honor Choir Recipients:  5

9-10 Honor Choir Recipients:  2

4-5-6 Honor Choir Recipients:  7

Since its inception in 1997, the FMC Endowment Fund Committee has awarded a grand total of 324 Minnesota choral directors and students receiving scholarship awards totaling $209,295.  More details are available in the 2016 FMC Annual Report to be posted by the end of May, 2017.