From the President (Oct. 26, 2009)

Dear Colleagues,

As members of Vermont ACDA we have much to be proud of in our organization and still more to look forward to in the future. It might make sense for us to take just a minute and really assess how much we gain as professional choral educators and musicians from belonging to this organization. There are, of course, the obvious membership perks that we might overlook or take for granted; the Choral Journal. I do not know of many organizations that are able to offer a Journal that gives so much to its members each month. Many of the articles offer a degree of scholarship not found in other music journals of comparable organizations. Take this month’s Journal as an example; we have the usual short notes from our National officers, of which Tim Sharp always has thought provoking ideas and perceptions to consider. Jerry McCoy and Carroll Gonzo always have a few informative words for us as well, and others keep us abreast of what is happening with the organization at large. The major articles give us a look at Sara Teasdale, some thoughts on Ernest Bloch’s Sacred Service, and a second look at Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s “Vigilia.” There is the excellent article by Lon Berry about Middle School Men’s Voices; an excellent resource for those of us looking for literature to serve this part of our programs. And than there are all the articles concerning various aspects of our profession, book and CD reviews, repertoire and standards reports, and the myriad array of advertisements that help keep us up to date on colleges, festivals, businesses and all the colleagues whose careers we like to follow. Quite impressive, don’t you think?

Than there are the conventions that we have the privilege of attending each year; this year our own Eastern Division Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, last years National Convention in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and our next National Convention in Chicago, Illinois, followed by our 2012 Eastern Division Convention in Providence, Rhode Island. Each of you have by now received you Philadelphia Convention brochure and have no doubt been excited by what you see. Still another perk of belonging to our organization, and a huge one at that. These conventions are incredible opportunities for all of us to learn, hear and become friends with choral colleagues from around our nation. Enough said on this topic!

Our own state organization offers it own convention each year; ours will be held in September of 2010! We are making attempts to find a suitable place in the calendar where we can offer our event for maximum attendance and optimum effectiveness. It is a one day affair that has some promise, but in order for us to maintain our convention and make it effective for all, we need to have your participation in many venues. We also organize the Mid-Winter Madrigal Festival every year for High School students. This event is annually successful and heavily attended by both participating choirs and audience. We are offering our 11th annual Children’s Choir Festival in Rutland this year, and our Community Choir Festival in Montpelier.

You will soon be receiving your 1st quarterly “Vermont Harmony;” our state ACDA Newsletter, and you are a member of our List Serve that supplies you with timely information about our happenings, information about our members and an opportunity to offer up your own opinions on a variety of subjects concerning vocal music. And of course you have access to our state Website that is in the process of being rebuilt so that it may serve you and the greater membership. Additionally, we now have a large and growing choral library of works ranging from unison to SATB works of quality that you can access online at our website and borrow whenever you wish.

Our Executive Board is here to serve you, and we are eager to do so. We represent a wealth of knowledge and years of teaching/conducting experience. We are available to help in time of crisis to support your programs, and also as guest conductors and clinicians. I am so proud of the wealth of talent and ability and diversity of our Executive Board, and the professionalism and confidence with which they conduct their daily lives. Our Past President Donna Costes has a wealth of teaching and conducting experience and also maintains a music business that is ready to serve you and can save you considerable dollars in your budgets. Karen Jordan is one of our outstanding choral educators and is also an accomplished vocalist and vocal pedagogue. Esther Holland is one of our youngest Executive Board members and a promising and aspiring vocal music educator, and, I might add, closest in age to our students and therefore most equipped in some ways to relate to our students in terms of student chapters. Allyson Ledoux is an accomplished vocal teacher with years of practical experience and knowledge of the children’s voice. She has had a performing career and is a wealth of knowledge that she is willing to share with anyone that wishes to take advantage. Susan Cherry has a varied and impressive biography that you should read in the Leadership page of our website! Nathaniel Lew of St. Michael’s College is a virtual font of musical knowledge and is brimming with an unparalled energy to share this information and be of service. Sherrill Blodget of Castleton State College is an accomplished conductor and choral music educator that has a wealth of knowledge and scholarship to share with us all. Glory Reinstein, Lori Routhier and Megan Larose are educators of unequaled talent and enthusiasm, and Dawn Willis has more to offer us all than we could possibly state here.

There you have it membership! And this is JUST our Executive Board! I would say that your membership in this organization, if you choose to acknowledge it and to take advantage of it, is the best money you have spent this year! What an opportunity all of us have to grow and prosper together. I implore you to think of ways to use us all, and than to act and make things happen.

Some where I recently read that when we belong to organizations such as ACDA we most often think of what WE can get FROM these organizations, instead of what WE can give TO the organization that we belong to make it better and stronger. Now is the time for each of you to ponder this idea as I say that we are in need of someone to fill the position of President-Elect. I have talked to several individuals and to date all have valid reasons for turning me down. But I implore each one of you to re-examine your participation in our organization and to re-evaluate your willingness to fill this position. It will take time, it will take effort, and it will indeed take initiative. But it will be fulfilling and worth the time expended.

If you are interested, please communicate with me and let me know. I need two candidates, at which point we will set up an election process through the National and Eastern websites so that we can all vote on line. Take a look at all I have spoken above, and than decide if you are willing to give back to an organization that gives so much to you. In the meantime, we should all take pride in our own state American Choral Director’s Association!

Most Sincerely,

Frank Whitcomb

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