Building Communities Festival Choir

Application for Adults with Special Needs interested in singing in the choir
Online Application
Paper Application

Application for Choral Directors or Music Therapists interested in singing in the choir
Online Application
Paper Application

See also: Building Communities with Song

The Building Communities Festival Choir will gather singers with intellectual and developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries who are passionate about singing. Singers will learn new music, make new friends, learn from each other, sing with leading conductors & song leaders, and perform for a large, supportive audience of conductors. Choral directors & music therapists wishing to join the choir will be immersed in repertoire and techniques that are effective for singers with cognitive challenges. Conducted by Allison Fromm, Alice Parker, and Nick Page, the Festival Choir will celebrate these singers’ unique contributions to our communities through the unifying power of their voices joined in song.

Video Link
For a sense of what Festival Choir singers may experience, please see these video excerpts from ACDA’s 2008 Eastern Division Conference in Hartford and 2011 National Conference in Chicago. The video features Joyful Noise and conductors Allison Fromm, Alice Parker & Nick Page, who will also lead the Building Communities Festival Choir.


  • Age 18 and up
  • From choruses & music programs throughout ACDA’s Eastern Division: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia, and other states or nations as space allows
  • Singers with intellectual challenges, developmental disabilities or acquired brain injuries
  • Will have support from a family member or caregiver throughout: all rehearsals, performances, meals, breaks & overnight
  • Conductors & Music Therapists wishing to sing alongside singers of different abilities
  • Can be in Providence for rehearsal & performance times (Noon February 17 through 1 PM February 18, 2012)
  • Must stay at Providence Westin Hotel Friday night, February 17, 2012. (ACDA conference rate is $149 per room per night.)


  • Love of music and singing
  • Previous experience in choral singing or music therapy groups, in weekly choral rehearsals or group sessions of 60-90 minutes’ duration over a period of at least 6 months (break within rehearsal time OK)
  • Remains focused & engaged during rehearsals
  • Recommended by choral director or music therapist
  • Adapts to new experiences and wishes to meet a diverse group of people
  • Grants permission for group photos and video/audio-recording

Desirable, although not essential:

  • Can match pitch
  • Sings with pleasant vocal tone
  • Has a vocal range of at least one octave
  • Can speak short song phrases in rhythm, e.g. “You are my sunshine”
  • Can sing rounds, partner songs and in 2-part harmony


Application Deadline – extended to November 15, 2011

The Building Communities with Song Festival Choir application period has been extended to November 15th, and has now added a paper submission form. Participants can either use the online or the paper form. This Festival Choir will be an exciting and new opportunity for Adults with Special Needs and for Choir Directors and Music Therapist who would like to see the possibilities of creating meaningful musically opportunities for Adults with Special Needs in their community or practices. The choir will be led by Allison Fromm, Alice Parker and Nick Page.

 – Applications for Choir Members (online form).
Applications for Choir Members (paper form).
(The application for singers contains sections for responses of the applicant, the choral director or music therapist, the parent/guardian, the accompanying family member or caregiver, and the sponsor. You might wish to review the paper form before filling out the online form.)

– Applications for Music Therapists and Singing Choral Directors (online form)
– Applications for Music Therapists and Singing Choral Directors (paper form)

Costs per Singer –  Application:  $25, Registration:  $100.
Payment of the $25 Application Fee may be made either by check or by PayPal. If paying by check, make check payable to: ACDA Eastern Division, memo line: ACDA Festival Choir, and send to:
Dr. Jason Thoms
Concordia College-New York
171 White Plains Road
Bronxville, New York 10708

If paying by PayPal, please use the button below.

Selection of Festival Chorus Members
If many applications are received, singers will be selected for the Building Communities Festival Choir based on their statements, geographic distribution, caregiver commitment, and the availability of necessary accommodations. Early application by those requiring ADA accessible hotel rooms is encouraged.

Notices of acceptance will be emailed to sponsors on or before November 1, 2011. Rosters will subsequently be posted on this website.
Accepted participants will be expected to register online and make online hotel reservations by November 20, 2011. (Specific information about registration and housing will be available upon acceptance.)

Please contact: Jason Thoms at