I would like to take a moment to share my personal experiences while attending the 2022 ACDA Summer Dialogue as a recipient of the 2022 FMC Scholarship and give my utmost gratitude.
I will forever hold in my heart Bruce Becker’s immediate heartfelt greeting and embrace of Claire Baker (my Mankato West colleague) and I as we walked in together on the first morning of Dialogue at registration. He made us feel seen and special in just a short moment. He stood up and gave us both a hug. “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” Thank you, Bruce.
I am grateful and humbled for the honest and difficult conversation that G. Phillip Schultz and Melanie DeMore graciously gave of their time to have with me which resulted in both holding me accountable professionally, as well as offering up insight and advice as to how to continue to navigate delicate issues and appropriateness in this ever changing and evolving world. I respect both of them for their unapologetic advocacy for their people, their culture, and their high expectation for us/me to do better. I will do better. I will be better. I will continue to do the work to learn and grow both personally and professionally. Thank you both so very much.
I felt honored to have been in the presence of Dr. Anton Armstrong as he addressed us in his keynote speech. I was moved to tears. I was in awe of his presence. I heard every word he spoke, and I admire his resolve to continue to change, grow, and accept that complacency will not work right now; and yet I love knowing he is not willing to abandon himself, his beliefs, his knowledge gained through life experiences for the extremism that is so much a part of the times.
I want to say thank you and honor ALL of the directors that I’ve admired throughout my twenty years as a music educator: particularly my predecessor, Robin Hughes, from Mankato East High School. Robin is an equal trifecta of badass, sensitive soul, and pure love. She is the reason Claire and I decided to apply for the FMC Summer Dialogue scholarship. As a young director, I remember watching Robin direct the East choir at the MMEA mid-winter clinic in my early twenties thinking,
“That. THAT is what I aspire to be.”
I’ve always admired her as a woman director, as an advocate and fighter in this profession, and although she’s retired she is still extremely active and present, and I am so grateful for that.
Diane Heaney: thank you. Your leadership and strength I’ve admired for many years. You have this ability to make everything look easy, and yet you are so honest and open about the things that are not.
It was an honor to observe both Dwight Jilek and Rosephanye Powell during All State rehearsals. Thank you to both of you for your high standards and expectations of excellence, and proving that it works.
To Chris Fettig, who was a section leader for the All State TTBB choir (and choir director at Bemidji High School): you are brilliant. Your thoughtful insights and realness are magnetic. Thank you for your time, grace, kindness, encouragement, and willingness to have conversations with me over the years, and at Dialogue, when I’ve been afraid and unsure of myself.
As someone who is going to be starting their twentieth year in the field of music education: I want everyone to know how much I appreciated Dialogue. It reinforced that I’m not alone in feeling a sense of imposter syndrome, but also reinforced that I am worthy and deserving of where I’m at. I don’t have to be perfect, I just have to show up. My (recovering) Type A/perfectionistic soul needed to hear that. I had been feeling paralyzed in the not knowing. The confusion of how and what to teach. The fears of getting it wrong and hurting my students. Attending Dialogue allowed those feelings within me to dissipate. Thank you ALL so very much.
Lastly, I want to specifically thank all of the ACDA committee members, and board for making this event possible. Your hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed. I look forward to making connections with each of you. I appreciate all you do for us as choir directors in the state of Minnesota. We are lucky to have you.