ACDA Executive Director Tim Sharp

The Mission: Evoke Sounds to Meet Human Needs

Recently I decided to create my own mission statement for my work as a choral director. I had worked through the process of defining a mission statement with our ACDA membership, and I thought it would be interesting and informative to try the same thing for my own choral work. This is what I came up with:

As a choral director, I evoke sounds through a community of singers for the satisfaction of unique human emotional needs.

As I reflected on that role, I was pleased that I had concluded that I engage in work that matters in society because of the fundamental inner life needs of fellow humans.

In 2011, the GE Corporation conducted a survey in which they interviewed a thousand senior business executives in twelve countries on the topic of innovation. The most remarkable findings of this survey were the kinds of innovation these leaders think will be most important in the future. 77 percent agreed “the greatest innovations of the 21st century will be those that have helped to address human needs more than those that had created the most profit…” The common denominator between my work (and your work) and the results of this survey comes in the action of satisfying human needs.

While most of us probably don’t think of a choral ensemble as an activity of innovation, if we change our perspective a little, perhaps we’ll see that choral music making is an innovative solution to addressing human needs.
If you begin thinking of your choral work through the filter of an innovative solution to a human need, where might that lead you? We know that it already is for your singers and for your past audience, but if you get out of your current “music box”, where else could it apply its uniquely human magic?


Tim Sharp is Executive Director of the American Choral Directors Association. Dr. Sharp pursues an aggressive agenda of progressive initiatives to keep ACDA energized and relevant in the 21st century, inspiring ACDA’s membership to excellence in choral music performance, education, composition, and advocacy. Tim is also in his fifth season as Artistic Director of the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus, Tulsa, where critics characterize his performances as having “stunning power” and “great passion and precision”.