The Helen Kemp Award

for Lifetime Commitment to Excellence in Choral Music

The Helen Kemp Award, initiated in 2010 and named in honor of its first awardee, honors an individual who, through teaching, performing, and sharing, exhibits a lifelong passion and commitment to the choral art.

2014 Awardee: E. Wayne Abercrombie

Wayne_AbercrombieE. Wayne Abercrombie is Professor Emeritus, and former Director of Choral Activities, University of Massachusetts, as well as a Past-President of the ACDA, Eastern Division. Dr. Abercrombie retired in May 2007 after 33 years in the Department of Music. He succeeded Alan Harler as Director of the Madrigal Singers in 1974, founded the University Chamber Choir in 1978, and became Director of the University Chorale in 2000.

Dr. Abercrombie is a noted conductor, clinician and workshop facilitator, with extensive experience working with singers and students at all levels. Since his retirement he has helped found the Children’s Chorus of Springfield and helped establish the International Federation of Choral Music’s new program Conductors Without Borders.

Since leaving UMass, he has continued to teach and conduct at the collegiate level. He has been guest conductor or lecturer at Amherst College, Boston University, Northeastern, University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (and was made an Honorary Member of the Men’s Glee Club), and Western New England University.

He continues to research new approaches in teaching and learning conducting, and was an observer at the Eric Ericson Masterclass 2011 in Harlem, The Netherlands.

He presented an interest session, Heart, Head and Hands II:Self-Renewing Skills for Conductors/Ensemble Leaders” at the Eastern Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association (February 18, 2012).