This year marks the 50th anniversary of the American Choral Directors Association, which has grown through the decades to become a highly respected international organization of over 20,000 directors worldwide. The ACDA provides its members with a passel of terrific offerings, including conferences where directors have the opportunity to find out the latest trends in choral education, hear outstanding choral performances, network with their counterparts, and most importantly, rejuvenate their excitement about teaching and performing. In these challenging economic times, networking is even more essential than ever, as teachers have become more mobile and job changes more frequent than in past years.
The 2009 ACDA National Conference includes a wealth of diverse offerings, among them a session on songs of the Civil Rights, an undergraduate conducting competition, a multicultural resource room, and outstanding concerts, including performances by the University of Oklahoma Choir, the Iowa State Singers, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic, and many more. If you’re not involved with this fine organization, I would highly recommend that you consider joining. It is certain to provide many career-improving opportunities. The ACDA has 50 state chapters in seven regions, in addition to student chapters in many colleges, universities, and conservatories around the country, so there’s certain to be an opportunity to be involved not too far from home.
On another note, it’s unusual these days to find a teacher who has been at one school for his or her entire career, and especially one who has built up a vocal music program to six times its original size. Lin Warren, the exemplary director at Hastings High School in Hastings, Minnesota and this issue’s cover feature is no ordinary director. It’s not often that we come across a school with over 600 students in the choral program, including nine ensembles run by a team of three directors. It’s important to keep in mind that, like any venture, this high-flying program didn’t start out that way, but grew through careful planning, caring about the students, demanding excellence, and of course, a significant dose of charisma. Check out the full story and you will be certain to find some of the secrets to his success.