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The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

MS-JH Conference on Choral Music - Concluding Comments

February 29, 2012, will stand as an important day for Middle School and Junior High Choral Music Educators.  On that date, the first National Conference for Middle School and Junior High Choral Music occurred in Dallas, TX.  American Choral Directors Association and the Southwestern Division of ACDA, in collaboration with the Cambiata Institute of America, enjoyed MS-JH choral performances and Interest Sessions in a collegial environment.  By all accounts, the event was a large success.  Comments from some of the participants, presenters and performers include the following statements:
The Rice Middle School A Cappella Tenor-Bass Choir is grateful for the opportunity to perform at the inaugural MS/JH National Conference for Choral Music.  Our journey of music making culminated in a performance filled with joy and pride.  The twenty-six members of the choir (7th & 8th grade boys!) left the stage excited about singing and performing.  This opportunity has given our choir program a new energy and we are honored to have been a part of it.  Quality and meaningful music making DOES happen at the MS/JH level.  Kuddos to ACDA for supporting MS/JH Choral Music!
Jennifer Alarcon
Rice Middle School
3rd year teacher
Wednesday, February 29, 2012 was an historical day in the annals of junior high/middle school choral music.  The American Choral Directors Association and the Cambiata Institute of North Texas State University partnered to create the Middle School/Junior High National Conference for Choral Music in Dallas, Texas.
As one of two recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award given that day, it was truly a humbling experience to receive such an honor.  Many choral directors spend their entire careers dedicated to the training of the unchanged, changing and changed middle level voice, but to receive an honor for it is more gratifying than words can express.
To all the middle level teachers, I say “bravo” for your tenacity and courage in teaching this particular age young singer.  You achieve on a daily basis what many musicians either won’t or can’t do in their lifetimes; teach pubescent singers how to sing and sing well.  There IS no more rewarding career than teaching young people the art and love of singing.
Nancy Cox
Past National Chairperson for Junior High/Middle School Repertoire and Standards, ACDA
Recipient of the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award
I would like to express my complete gratitude to everyone who organized and executed the MS/JH Conference at the SWACDA Conference this week.  I have been directing a middle school/junior high choral program for 7 years and I feel completely reenergized and motivated now to take our program to the next level.  Not only was I able to reinforce my teaching strategies, but I was also given new tools to take back to my growing program.  I am looking forward to the next conference already!
Shelly O’Dell
Rogers AR
10th year teacher
I was so inspired by the presenters and choirs that were featured at the MS/JH conference in Dallas. I enjoyed getting new ideas from experienced, accomplished teachers as well as finding new tools to try to enhance what I already do with my own students. It was exciting to hear so many incredible choirs representing a variety of school types- middle school, junior high, and even two-year middle schools like the one I teach in. I came from this conference refueled, refreshed, and ready to take on the wild world that is middle school choir.
Jon Duncan
Overland Park KS
1st year teacher
It was remarkable to see the level of musical quality and pedagogical scholarship on display at the conference.  The conference highlighted all that is "right and good" about young adolescents and choral music.  Decades from now, February 29, 2012 will be recalled as signature date in the development of choral music education in the United States.
Patrick Freer, Ed. D.
Georgia State University
Presenter and 20+ year educator
My favorite presentation that I attended was Mary Jane Phillips, "Making Sight Reading Fun."  I wish that I could have talked to her again, and I hope that you would invite her back to do more workshops in the future.  Her sight reading games were fantastic, and after seeing her interaction with her boys' choir I would love to talk with her about her classroom management and rehearsal techniques.  Thanks again!  I will be back for the next one.  It was so wonderful to be in a room full of people that understood exactly what challenges that we are facing everyday.
Erin Buffum
Olathe KS
5th year teacher
I thought the whole thing was just AMAZING.
Mary Jane Phillips
24th year teacher and Conference Presenter on “Games to Make Sight-reading Fun”
Dallas TX
What a completely fulfilling event!  From the opening proclamation to the closing awards ceremony, every moment of the day was geared toward excellence in instruction and performance for the middle school-aged singer and MS-JH Choral teacher.  The feeling of connection was palpable.  Excitement, discovery and joy ruled the day.  I’m so happy we could offer this event for MS-JH choral teachers.  I look forward for future events that meet the needs of Middle School and Junior High Choral Music Educators and their students.
Gretchen Harrison
24th year teacher and National Chairperson for JH/MS Repertoire and Standards for ACDA
Olathe KS
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