Words of thanks from various scholarship recipients:

Ingrid Lindgren

University of St. Thomas

I am in my third year at the University of St. Thomas.  I graduated from Willmar High School in Willmar, Minnesota before entering as a first-generation college student at St. Thomas. Now, I am majoring in Vocal Music Education and minoring in Interreligious Studies. I was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship through your committee to attend my first ACDA conference. The conference was held in Chicago in February of 2022. Without this scholarship, the experience that I was granted would not have been possible, so I want to extend my thanks to you all for making this experience possible for me!

While at the conference, I attended several sessions presented by incredible speakers and teachers. A specific highlight was “Your Students Can Improvise, and You Can Teach Them!” This session was especially exciting for me as a musician with little knowledge or skill in improvisation. Learning a little bit about the idea of teaching improvisation and even hearing improvisation from a few fellow attendees was such a unique experience that I will never forget.

Additionally, attending the choir concerts was such a wonderful experience. The final concert on the last day of the conference was my favorite because of the emotion and talent that was displayed. I felt so lucky to have been there. So, again, I would like to thank you for this incredible opportunity. The conference was inspiring and exciting! I am so grateful that I was able to attend.

Samantha Walters

Zimmerman Public Schools

Thank you for the opportunity to attend the ACDA Regional Conference this year! I am currently a first-year choir teacher in Zimmerman, MN teaching middle school and high school students. This conference was my first ACDA event I had even been to outside of Minnesota. To be completely candid, I struggled a bit with middle school teaching during this first year, so many of the sessions that involved teaching that age group looked especially appealing to me. One that I felt the most engaged in was the “Warm-Ups:  How and Why With Your Choir” session that was led by Dan Anderson. As an experienced and successful middle school choral educator, he had so much great information and advice on the middle school changing voice. In fact, I currently keep his handout from the session on my piano at all times!

Another important highlight for me was the extraordinary amount of talent in the concerts. I heard so many different sounds and I walked away from each performance feeling inspired and falling in love with what I do all over again. Tears were shed during the Luther Nordic Choir’s performance, and I was all smiles during the middle school choir highlight performance.

Overall, this conference was the most impactful thing I have experienced this far into my career. My experience in Chicago was one of great inspirational growth, and a reminder of my love for choral music. I am so grateful to have been able to be a part of such an impactful event and meet some amazing people. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it!

Zach Kubasta

LeSueur-Henderson Public Schools

Thank you so much for the generous scholarship which allowed me to attend the Midwest Regional ACDA Conference in Chicago this past February. The experiences of listening to live choirs once again, attending extremely valuable interest sessions, and networking with some of the finest music educators in the country are experiences I will not take for granted.

While all of the choirs were spectacular, some of my personal favorites were the Urbandale High School Choir, Indiana University’s NOTUS, and Luther College’s Nordic Choir. I was also fortunate to attend many incredible interest sessions that empowered me to use new tools in the brief few weeks following the conference in my own classroom.

I really enjoyed “Warming Up Adolescent Choirs” with Dan Anderson, “Resilient Intercultural Pedagogies” (which was presented by my own high school director, Jacob Stensberg of Purdue University), and “Honoring Trans and Gender Expansive Singers” with Matthew L. Garrett and Joshua Palkki. Lastly, networking with choir directors from around the Midwest was invaluable and expanded my knowledge as a young choral director.

Thank you again so much for this incredible opportunity and for supporting young choral directors here in Minnesota.

Bridget Zenk

University of St. Thomas

I would like to thank you for your generosity of the FMC Endowment Fund scholarship award. I feel so grateful and blessed to be a recipient of your financial gift, which allowed me to experience the ACDA Midwestern Conference in Chicago.

I am currently a Junior pursuing a major in Vocal Music Education with a minor in Spanish. Upon graduation, I plan to share my love of music with my students in a way that encourages community and growth within themselves. I am so excited to give back to the community in this way and to encourage other people’s development of the gift that music is.

Because of your generosity, I made connections with fellow choir directors, I attended thought-provoking interest sessions, I witnessed beautifully made music, and I was able to purchase books with resources for teaching. I learned about new techniques to use with my students in the future, as well as techniques to bring back to my own choral program at the University of St. Thomas. I know that my future career has been greatly impacted by your financial gift, and I feel much more prepared and supported in taking on this role following graduation.

The gift that you have given me has impacted me more than I can put into words. Thank you for supporting me in my occupational endeavors.