2010 Conference – Philadelphia

 ACDA Conference in Philadelphia

February 9-13, 2010


The Eastern Division conference of the American Choral Directors Association is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.


ED 2010 Conference LogoPhiladelphia sights

2010 Conference Links

In 2010, the Eastern Division will proudly host its biennial conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, February 9 – Saturday, February 13. Planning continues at a rapid pace, and we anticipate that this will be the most unique and diverse conference ever produced in our division. In keeping with the conference theme of “We the People,” the Philadelphia conference will offer meaningful musical, educational, and social experiences for EVERY member of ACDA.

Exciting opportunities for participation abound, and now we need YOU to spread the word to your colleagues!

Special Guests

Off the Beat

Full conference activities will kick off on Wednesday night, February 10 with a performance by the award-winning a cappella group “Off the Beat.” Known for their innovative vocal percussion, this student ensemble from the University of Pennsylvania will surely provide an energetic and uplifting beginning to our festivities, and also provide a fun diversion for weary travelers who are arriving that day. “Off the Beat” will be performing at the Marriott Downtown Philadelphia at 8:00pm.

ConspirareConductor Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare: A company of voices” will be with us on Thursday and Friday of the conference. This choir has been featured at previous national conferences and IFCM, and has been nominated for a Grammy award. In addition to several conference sessions including an address by Craig Hella Johnson and a children’s choir session led by Nina Revering and Rick Grabillo, “Conspirare” will perform a complete concert for us on Thursday evening. More information regarding “Conspirare” can be found at www.conspirare.org.

Ysaye Barnwell, a member of “Sweet Honey in the Rock” and a wonderful composer, will be joining us throughout the conference to present sessions on Building a Vocal Community as well as singing in the African-American tradition. Currently living in Washington, D.C., Dr. Barnwell is the composer/ arranger of many well-known works published by Musical Source Publishing. For a complete biography and information on the dynamic work of Ysaye Barnwell, please go to www.ymbarnwell.com.

Kimmel Center and Verizon Hall

World-renowned Helmuth RillingHelmuth Rilling will conduct our Friday evening gala concert at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall.

The all-Bach program will  include two cantatas and the Magnificat in D Major, BWV 243. Performance forces include the Westminster Choir, the Temple University Concert Choir, organist Eric Plutz, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, and soloists.

A special pre-conference event, the Philadelphia Bach Institute, will offer the opportunity to experience Mr. Rilling’s work in a more interactive and focused setting. Beginning on Tuesday, February 9, the Institute will include conducting master class opportunities and presentation/discussions on the motets of Johann Sebastian Bach. A separate registration for the Philadelphia Bach Institute is required.
In addition to these exciting events, Mr. Rilling will present an open conference session on Friday, February 12 regarding the commission of a new oratorio by composer Sven-David Sandström.

Nick PageSinging CityExemplifying our conference theme in a profound way, Philadelphia’s own “Singing City” under the direction of Jeffrey Brillhart, with guest Nick Page, will close our conference on Saturday evening, February 13 with a gala concert and “sing” at the National Constitution Center on Independence Mall.  The concert will be preceded by the Feast of the East, an all-conference reception featuring traditional foods of Eastern Division states. Reception attendance will include access to the Center’s wonderful interactive exhibits along with multiple showings of the multi-media performance titled Freedom Rising.

National Constitution CenterMore information regarding the outreach of “Singing City” can be found at www.singingcity.org.  For information regarding Nick Page, please access www.nickmusic.com.  A full description of the educational activities available at the National Constitution Center is located at www.constitutioncenter.org.

Choral Performance and Participation

In order to meet the needs and wishes of our ever-expanding ACDA membership, we have developed a conference schedule that allows the opportunity for more choirs to participate than in previous conferences. Over 30 choirs have been selected by audition to participate in one of the following categories:

A.     Concert Performance 

The number of traditional concert performance sessions has been increased to allow for a larger number of conductors and their choirs to participate. You will hear outstanding performances conducted by your Eastern Division colleagues representing schools, colleges, communities, private institutions, and churches.

B.     High School Soundtable

Have you ever gone to a great concert and wondered “how did they do that?” The High School Soundtable provides the opportunity for that question to be answered! The following choirs will demonstrate vocal warm-ups and perform for 10-12 minutes. Following that, the conductors will provide a brief history of their choral programs, discuss curricula and rehearsal techniques, and talk about their school communities. Audience interaction with the conductors and singers will be encouraged.

Pennsbury High School Concert Choir; James D. Moyer, conductor (PA)
Cherry Hill High School West Chamber Singers; Christine Bass, conductor (NJ)
Herricks High School Chamber Choir; Louise O’Hanlon, conductor (NY)
Strath Haven High School Silvertones; John H. Shankweiler, conductor (PA)

C.     Community Choir Festival in partnership with Chorus America

Kimberly SteinhauerChorus AmericaAgain in keeping with the theme of “We the People,” we are hosting a full day of community choir performances on Saturday. Six choirs have been selected to perform and these choir members, along with our conference registrants, will have the opportunity to hear the other choirs, take part in a vocal workshop with clinician Kimberly Steinhauer, and participate in talk-back sessions following each performance.  Mendelssohn Club conductor Alan Harler will conclude the day by conducting the massed choirs in “Dona Nobis Pacem” from the Mass in B minor.

Interest Sessions, Repertoire Forums, and Research Sessions Liberty Bell

Due to the expanded schedule, there are also increased opportunities for sessions that meet the specific interests of all ACDA members. Registrants will have the opportunity to participate in sessions on: College/University, High School, Men’s Choir, Women’s Choir, Junior High/Middle School, Children, Boychoir, Multicultural Choir, Jazz Choir, Show Choir, Community Choir, Music in Worship, and Urban and Rural Initiatives, as well as sessions specifically targeted toward student members and those in their first five years of teaching.  Independence Hall

We will also offer an expanded menu of 17 Repertoire Forums, one offered nearly every hour of the day for the entire length of the conference. Reading session music will be supplied by The Musical Source, www.musicalsource.com.

New to the 2010 Eastern Division Conference is a research component to provide scholars, conductors/teachers, and student members the opportunity to share their research regarding choral music, conducting, rehearsal technique, and education.  Specific research sessions have been scheduled to include discussion and collaboration. A research gallery will also be located in the Exhibit Hall to provide more exposure for these research projects.

Honor Choirs

Opportunities abound for all school-aged singers to participate in the 2010 Division honor choirs. Here is a summary of the exciting ensembles awaiting your best choristers.

Children’s Honor Choir (treble voices ages 10-16) – conducted by Elaine Quilichini (Calgary)

High School Men’s Honor Choir (9th-12th grade) – conducted by Jerry Blackstone (Michigan)

High School Women’s Honor Choir (10th-12th grade) – conducted by Sharon Paul (Oregon)

Jazz Honor Choir (11th-12th grade/collegiate) – conducted by Vijay Singh (Washington)

Elaine Quilichini Jerry Blackstone Sharon Paul Vijay Singh
Elaine Quilichini Jerry Blackstone Sharon Paul Vijay Singh

Wanamaker Organ
In a break with previous tradition, the honor choirs will be performing at separate times to allow all family members and conference attendees the opportunity to attend these performances without the necessity of tickets.

In addition to the official honor choir performances, the honor choirs will also be singing on the lunchtime recital series along with the famous Wanamaker Organ, and touring the National Constitution Center. We also plan a “jazz jam” on Friday night for the jazz honor choir.

We the People…United in Praise

AGO logoA full day of activities on Friday is being planned for conductors of choirs in worship settings.   The day will culminate in a conference-wide interfaith worship service in partnership with AGO, including Nashirah, the Jewish Chorale of Greater Philadelphia conducted by Jonathan Coopersmith; the Korean United Christians Choir conducted by Changho Lee; and an African-American church choir conducted by J. Donald Dumpson. Organist Craig CourtneyJoshua Stafford will provide hymn accompaniments and service music. 

As part of this all-day festival, a festival chorus of 100 church/temple choir members from throughout the Eastern Division will be convened. This chorus will be conducted by well-known composer and clinician Craig Courtney.  

Terry Barham

“Men in the Middle” Workshop Choir

On Thursday, February 11, Kansas native Terry Barham, author of Strategies for Teaching Junior High and Middle School Male Singers, will present a 2-hour session on the boy’s changing voice. Designed for middle/ junior high choral conductors as well as high school directors, we are forming a workshop choir of 70 young men in 7th-8th grades who are in the midst of the “typical” voice change. These gentlemen will provide vocal demonstration at the session as well as showcase voice-appropriate choral repertoire.

 Performance Venues

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to offer our conference performances and interest sessions in some of the most historic and beautiful church sanctuaries of the city. Here’s a short tour of these musically and architecturally significant spaces.  Church of the Holy Trinity

Church of the Holy Trinity Rittenhouse Square

Phillips Brooks, the famed preacher and rector, served this historic church during the Civil War years. At that time, he penned the words to O Little Town of Bethlehem and church organist Lewis Redner composed the well-beloved tune. The triptych on the wall behind the altar, installed in 1942, pays homage to this event.  The stained glass windows come from English, French, and American studios including five windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany.


Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square will be the site of the “Conspirare” concert on Thursday evening and will also serve as the performance venue for three of the four honor choirs on Saturday.  For more information about the church and its active music program, contact www.htrit.org.

First Baptist Church of PhiladelphiaFirst Baptist Church

A registered historic landmark, First Baptist was founded in 1698 by colonists fleeing religious persecution in England. It later served as one of the church homes to those who framed the Constitution just a few blocks away. The sanctuary is built in the Byzantine style and surrounded by a circular balcony. Holding a long-standing musical tradition, First Baptist hosted the Philadelphia premiere of the Britten War Requiem, as well as two performances of the Duruflé Requiem conducted by the composer with his wife at the organ. The well-known hymns At the River and He Leadeth Me were written by organists of First Baptist and first sung there.

First Baptist will host concerts by our performing choirs and also serve as the home for the “United in Praise” events on Friday, February 12.

Arch Street Presbyterian ChurchArch Street Presbyterian Church

Built in 1855 and on the National Register of Historic Places, Arch Street Presbyterian originally served as the spiritual home of the large immigrant Welsh population in the Philadelphia area and recently hosted Charles, Prince of Wales, during his visit to the United States. The recently refurbished church, built in the Neoclassic style, was the church home of Emily Dickinson when she visited Philadelphia, and boasts one of the best organs in the city. Vincent Persichetti was hired as the church organist here at the age of 16, and continued to serve Arch Street Presbyterian as choir director and organist for the next 20 years. Arch Street Presbyterian will be the site of the High School Soundtable, Men in the MIddle, and the Community Choir Festival.

Saint Luke and the EpiphanySaint Luke and the Epiphany

Performance home to the “Philadelphia Classic Symphony”, the “Philadelphia Singers” and the choral program of the nearby University of the Arts, this church boasts a long history of outreach to the Center City community. The merger of two Episcopal congregations in 1898 gave the church its unusual name. Noted as the second largest church organ in Philadelphia, the present instrument was recently restored by E. M. Skinner with additional digitally sampled organ stops by Walker Technical Company.

Saint Luke’s will serve as a performance venue for auditioned choirs. For more information, contact www.stlukeandtheepiphany.org.

The Ellen and Ronald Caplan Center for the Performing Arts

Caplan CenterWith its skyline views and visionary design, the University of the Arts’ Caplan Center for the Performing Arts is a sought-after performance venue in Philadelphia. Opened in September 2008, the $7 million, 22,000-square-foot performing arts venue is on the 16th and 17th floors of the University’s Terra Hall. It includes a 150-seat recital hall, a 100-seat black box theater, green room and dressing room space, state-of-the-art sound equipment, and classrooms. The Caplan Center will host the jazz and show choir events on Friday, February 12 and also serve as the performance venue of the Jazz Honor Choir.

Hotels and Hotel Registration

Mark your calendars NOW to join your many Eastern Division friends in Philadelphia 2010!

Philadelphia - aerial view