Join ACDA! reflections by Dawn Willis

Investing In Your Program . . . And Yourself: A few musings from Dawn Willis

For choirs of all types, September is a time of new beginnings. The work of recruiting singers is primarily completed (does anyone ever stop recruiting?) and now the larger challenge of keeping singers actively engaged in your ensemble begins. What is the key (if you’ll excuse the musical pun) to keeping singers dedicated to their choir? Providing singers with fresh and creative experiences throughout the year is part of the glue that keeps them connected to their ensemble. ACDA has much to offer conductors that are interested in learning ways to build and sustain their programs so singers remain dedicated to their choir.

ACDA’s conferences are among the most valuable investments of time and funds for choral conductors. Next year’s national conference will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 8 – 11. Minnesota may be known as the land of 10,000 lakes but I think they have twice that many excellent choirs – a number of which are outstanding Lutheran choirs AND 2017 is the year of the 500th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the church door! In addition to fantastic performances by ensembles of every choral voicing imaginable, there will be Interest Sessions on a myriad of important topics and a huge number of exhibitors with lots of music and more. Perhaps a conversation with your administrator, pastor, or board chair will help them see the value of this experience for you and also for your program.

Investing in yourself is the first big step toward investing in your choral program. ACDA offers many opportunities for growth all year round through ChoralNet and countless festivals acrossVermont and beyond. In addition they also have a mentoring program for new conductors. Take a minute to check out the national and Vermont ACDA websites – and – and see all that they have to offer members. I hope you will decide to invest in yourself and join!

Dawn Willis, D.M.A.
Artistic Director, Bella Voce Women’s Chorus of Vermont
Artistic Director, Solaris Vocal Ensemble
Lifetime Member, American Choral Directors Association