Category: Conference

Free Registration: College Students

FREE ACDA Eastern Division REGISTRATION AVAILABLE TO COLLEGE STUDENTS!

ACDA East offers college students the opportunity to shave off some of the cost of attending our Division Conference by providing assistance during the conference. Student workers who provide six hours of assistance will receive a refund of $90. Those completing twelve hours will receive a $180 refund.

If you are interested in participating in this program, please provide the information requested, here: https://form.jotform.com/acdapa/collegiatevolunteer. The program is first-come, first-served so please apply soon to take advantage of this opportunity.

College students must register for the conference. Those completing hours as described will receive a reimbursement check from ACDA.

Easy Steps:
1.        Register for conference (and pay registration fee)
2.        Complete the application online: https://form.jotform.com/acdapa/collegiatevolunteer
3.        Work your assigned hours
4.        Receive a reimbursement check

November Notes from the Eastern Division President

Good morning colleagues and friends,

I write to you in the spirit of joy and thanksgiving as I – like you – brace for the coming weeks of “Oh so much Holiday Cheer!” For choral musicians, I can hardly imagine a more exhilarating/exhausting time of year. If your situation is anything like mine, you’ll perform for more admiring fans in the next few weeks than you will for the rest of the year in its entirety.

Since I wrote you last, I have traveled to a choral festival in Sri Lanka where my only role was to sit and absorb the singing traditions of choirs from India, Indonesia, China, Iran, and of course, Sri Lanka itself. We give so much verbiage to music as the universal language, which quite directly, becomes a bit more complicated when the music itself contains text which may or may not be familiar to the western ear. What is universal however, is the joy of singing in an ensemble – especially when that ensemble has a strong sense of shared community and musical conviction. I saw this time and time again, somehow refreshingly anew when a choir from Iran sings an African-American Spiritual, or a choir from Indonesia knocks a recent Jake Runestad piece “out of the park!” It seems that in singing, there is no east or west, let alone a sense of them or us! Humans, universally, enjoy making music together, and the inspiration the audience derives from that phenomenon is universal as well.

This is another reason, or perhaps simply the same reason, I think ACDA is such an important community of those who share the conviction of singing together. I hope you will click through on the Featured Choirs in this issue of ChoraLINK, if simply to remind yourself that what we do truly matters, and what we do to keep ourselves rejuvenated and inspired – especially in the midst of the frenetic holiday season – matters even more! For me, that inspiration is more often than not a moment of serendipity; experiencing a previously unknown composition for the first time, sharing a memory from the good ol’ days with a colleague and friend, or hearing and seeing the joy in the eyes of a singer who is overcome by the enormity of shared musical conviction.

Of course, I’m making an unabashed plug for registering for the ACDA Conference in Pittsburgh, (March 7-10, 2018) reminding you of the virtues of buying your plane ticket early and booking yourself into the conference hotel, but genuinely in the spirit of thanksgiving and renewal. We owe that to our students. We owe that to ourselves.

 

 

Paul D Head
Eastern Region President

STUDENTS: Apply for a Kegerreis Fund Scholarship!

We are currently accepting applications from ACDA STUDENT MEMBERS for the 2018 KEGERREIS SCHOLARSHIPS! 
There are multiple awards, but the application deadline of December
15, 2017 is closing in quickly! University mentors, if you have deserving students who should be applying for this prestigious award, please forward this to them and encourage them to submit an application. The process is quite straight forward, requiring a one-page resumé, a statement of your professional goals, and a letter from a mentor. Should you have additional questions, please contact the Youth and Student Activities coordinator, Christine Bass.

Conducting Masterclass with Dr. Jerry Blackstone

 

We are thrilled to have Dr. Jerry Blackstone leading our undergraduate and graduate level conducting master-classes at the ACDA Eastern Division Conference in March 2018. This is an outstanding opportunity for university students to work with Grammy award-winning conductor and master teacher, Dr. Blackstone. He will also be featured in an interest session about teaching conducting as he concludes his tenure at the University of Michigan next spring.

Two to three undergraduate and two graduate students will be selected to participate. Selected students will each receive a $500 scholarship to offset their conference-related expenses. Undergraduate & Graduate Conductors will prepare two pieces and meet for private instruction with Dr. Blackstone the day before the masterclass. The conductors will work with a collegiate level chorus during the masterclass. These masterclasses will engage graduate and undergraduate conductors who are enrolled full-time in a degree program. Applicants are not required to be enrolled in a conducting class at the time of application, only in a college/university music program.

Click here FOR DETAILS ABOUT THE APPLICATION-AUDITION PROCESS. Note that the application deadline is November 1, 2017

Get Connected

GET CONNECTED!
And help us connect…

Let’s face it. Choral directors are busy people who are communicating on several different channels every minute of every day. More often than not, a well timed message while waiting in line at the grocery store is the one that gets the read and the response.

That’s why we’re building additional bridges through social media, hoping that a well-timed post featuring a teaser about the upcoming conference will entice you to click through and read more. And the best part is that you can share social media news with friends who aren’t (yet!) part of ACDA.

Get connected, and help us connect with your friends and colleagues who can benefit from all ACDA has to offer!

See you online!

 

Conference Spotlight: Jazz for Kids!

Being a long time jazz fan, and firmly believing that jazz is America’s music and we need to teach it, I began a search years ago to find choral repertoire suitable for children and youth choirs. ACDA has long had a Jazz R&S committee, and I always tried to attend the reading sessions, but often came up empty handed. While there were frequently a few treble voiced pieces included in the wonderful repertoire they presented, the orientation was typically more towards older voices, with topics that were, shall we say, not terribly appealing to kids. (I don’t know many children who really care to sing about lost romance, often the subject of some of the best jazz repertoire!) Many of the arrangements were too complex.  Or, repertoire thatwas dubbed a “jazz” arrangement was often dumbed down and had little jazz left in it, particularly in the accompaniment.

So I began writing my own arrangements as a solution. Gradually, I found a few other composers who seemed to also understand how to write for young voices, how to select songs to arrange that kids would love to sing, and how to write accompaniments that sounded like jazz. Interested in learning more about how to getyour young singers introduced to jazz? Please join me at my “Jazz Choral Music for Kids!” session on Saturday, February 13! We will have a reading packet of repertoire, and you will be singing and scatting your way through the session. I will be presenting ideas to get even your youngest singers started, methods to help them understand the language of jazz aka scat, and a variety of music of different levels of difficulty. And, you will have fun!

Not comfortable with the genre, but curious? Even more reason to come! Be there or be square!


Dr. Joy Hirokawa is Assistant Professor of Music Education at Moravian College (Bethlehem, PA) and the Founder and Artistic Director of The Bel Canto Children’s Chorus. Under her direction, the choir has appeared on ACDA, NAfME, and PMEA conferences, and has traveled internationally. Dr. Hirokawa is a frequent guest conductor and clinician, presenting regularly at ACDA, NAfME and PMEA conferences and conducting numerous honor choirs nationally. Her published arrangements include her jazz arrangement of “Lullaby of Birdland,” recently included Voices in Concert, the new choral text published by McGraw-Hill and Hal Leonard, and “My Favorite Things,” featured on numerous honor choir programs. Her newest jazz arrangement for young voices is “Accentuate the Positive,” available from Hal Leonard. She is the current ACDA Eastern Division Repertoire and Standards Chair for Children and Youth. Dr. Hirokawa taught in the public schools for 20 years prior to her appointment at Moravian College.

The Sacred Harp

Several days ago, I was thrilled to read the New York Times article by Phillip Lutz, “A Different Note on Race at Yale.” It recognizes the efforts of Dr. Ian Quinn to implement a tradition of Sacred Harp hymn-singing at Yale University. Referring to his first experience in 2008, Dr. Quinn said, “It just turned my whole world upside down. How moving it was for me to see this musical space where anybody could just walk in off the street and have this experience of singing in four parts without having to audition, without having to feel like they were performing.”

Coincidentally, it was also in 2008 that I was invited to attend my first Sacred Harp event. As I was preparing to leave graduate school for greener pastures, a senior member of my community chorus gifted me his dated copy of The Sacred Harp (1971), with information about local and regional “singings.” I was familiar with a long list of shape-note arrangements, but I was embarrassed to say that I had never been to a traditional singing before. In response, I programmed an entire concert of shape-note tunes, and to address my ignorance, invited Jesse P. Karlsberg and Lauren Bock to lead several singing schools in Potsdam, New York in 2009. (Jesse is currently the vice president of the Sacred Harp Publishing Company. His 2015 dissertation, “Folklore’s Filter: Race, Place and Sacred Harp Singing,” is referenced in the NY Times article mentioned earlier.) Like Dr. Quinn, the experience “revolutionized my relationship to music,” and since 2009 I have taken dozens of students to regional Sacred Harp events.

From the website of The Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association (www.fasola.org):

“Sacred Harp is a uniquely American tradition that brings communities together to sing four-part hymns and anthems. It is a proudly inclusive and democratic part of our shared cultural heritage. Participants are not concerned with re-creating or re-enacting historical events. Our tradition is a living, breathing, ongoing practice passed directly to us by generations of singers, many gone on before and many still living. All events welcome beginners and newcomers, with no musical experience or religious affiliation required—in fact, the tradition was born from colonial ‘singing schools’ whose purpose was to teach beginners to sing and our methods continue to reflect this goal.”

My own Sacred Harp addiction led to the idea of sponsoring an interest session that would provide a participatory experience for other choral conductors who, like myself, have conducted many shape-note tunes without having experienced a traditional Sacred Harp singing. This session is being co-presented by Dr. Thomas Malone, with special thanks to members of the local Sacred Harp community who will be in attendance. To make the experience as real as possible, a very brief introduction will be followed by a solid forty-five minutes of singing.

What better place than Boston to start a new musical addiction? Early eighteenth-century Bostonians produced America’s first two music textbooks in 1721. Singing schools began in Boston, and spread across the Northeast, spurring the compositional creativity of William Billings and other tunesmiths from the First New England School. Composers and singing-school teachers began using fa-sol-la solmization and shape-notes to teach music across the expanding frontier. Today, Boston is home to one of the most vibrant and active Sacred Harp communities in the Northeast.

It is my hope that this experience will help instill in others a deep appreciation for traditional shape-note singing, a desire to become more active in local Sacred Harp communities, or the motivation to establish communities where none currently exist. For more information about The Sacred Harp, please visit www.fasola.org.


Dr. Jeffrey Francom is associate professor and coordinator of the choral area at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, where he conducts the Concert Choir and Crane Chorus, and teaches courses in music education and conducting. Previously, he taught at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island, where he also directed the Stony Brook Camerata Singers and Babylon Chorale. Prior to New York, Dr. Francom directed choirs at Mandarin High School in Jacksonville, Florida. He holds degrees from Stony Brook University (DMA), the University of Florida (MM), and Utah State University. Dr. Francom serves as a board member of NY-ACDA.

Are you a process or a product style choral music educator?

After presenting an interest session with the Mansfield University Concert Choir demonstrating vocal techniques at the 2006 ACDA Eastern Division Conference in New York City, Frank Albinder commented: “I didn’t know that you were such a process person.” The comment inspired my thinking. Since then as I have read articles on teaching philosophy and observed conductors in rehearsal, I have considered whether the process of how students learn is as important as the final product or, in other words, the performance. If the performance is great, does it matter how we get there? My answer is “yes, it does;” in fact, the process can enhance the product!

I am really looking forward to presenting interest sessions on Saturday morning in Boston, “The Choral Rehearsal: Process to Product,” with the Mansfield University Concert Choir as a demonstration group. Throughout my twenty-six years at Mansfield, I have been passionate about vocal pedagogy and sequential learning as applied to choral rehearsals.

Successful performances are grounded in a creative, yet systematic, rehearsal process that builds confidence through vocal development, musical knowledge, and security in musical performance. My process involves layers of learning centered upon the elements of music: rhythm, pitch, harmony, texture, and tone color, combined with articulation, dynamics, and cultural understanding.

The interest session will focus on specific concepts related to each musical selection and will demonstrate rehearsal techniques that define an efficient and effective rehearsal process resulting in a musical product that is grounded in healthy vocal technique and musical understanding. Techniques such as count-singing using the Tometics method, pitch-reading based upon solfège, text-chanting à la Robert Shaw, and changing choral colors using head- or chest-voice will be incorporated. In addition, exercises for achieving choral blend through vowel formation, dynamic balance, and voice matching will be demonstrated. Here are examples of pedagogical approaches to tone color:

Bright-forward timbre: Laudar Vollio from Cortona laudario (13th c.)

A. Bright tone color
1. Begin with puppy whine
2. Vocalize on tongue vowels only: “nee-ay-ah-ay-ee”
3. Five tones descending on “nyae, nyae, nyae,” or “yellow”
4. Fast vocalises with initial consonants: V, Z, Y
5. Vibration towards the hard palate; soft palate not as involved
B. Application to music
1. Chant text on Shaw chord
2. Learn pitches with solfège in E dorian

Dark vocal color: I’ve been in the storm so long (Jeffery Ames)

A. Vocalize with dark color (compare dark and bright)
1 Sense an open throat – sip air through straw to feel lift in palate
2. Use lip vowels: ah, oh, oo
3. Sing five tone descending scale on “ee-oh” with Oreo cookie concept
4. Sing ascending/descending scales on “noo noh nah nay nee” with puckered lips
5. Put hands on cheeks for tall vowels and rounded lips
6. Pretend you have marshmallows in throat
7. Imagine Timothy Seelig’s concept of the woofer and the tweeter:
woofer– resonance in the pharynx with lifted soft palate

The Concert Choir and I will demonstrate the rehearsal techniques with repertoire selections by Monteverdi, Parry, Britten, Messiaen, Esenvalds, Memley, Ames, Runestad, and Hatfield, and a handout with teaching techniques will be provided. Hope to see you there!


Peggy Dettwiler is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Mansfield University, where she conducts the Concert Choir, Festival Chorus, and Chamber Singers, and teaches choral conducting and methods. She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Dettwiler has served as a guest conductor and lecturer throughout the country and has given presentations at numerous NAfME and ACDA Conventions. She has produced two DVDs, one entitled, “Developing a Vocal Color Palette for Various Choral Styles” and the second, “Sing in Style.” Dettwiler made her conducting debut in Carnegie Hall in January of 2014 and presented an interest session at the World Choral Symposium in Seoul, Korea, in August of 2014.