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Music in Worship Reaches New Heights in Dallas 2013 National Conference

Hello Music in Worship Community Members,
I hope your summer is going well, and you are getting refreshed for the coming year. I’ve spent a lot of time this summer working on the plans for our upcoming ACDA National Conference in Dallas. I’m sure that by now you’ve seen the announcements in the Choral Journal regarding our first national Music in Worship Festival Chorus. But that is only one of several new initiatives being authorized and wholeheartedly supported by our national leadership and Executive Director. It is a “Golden Age” for those of us who work in houses of worship and look to ACDA for resources and support. Let me tell you about the plans for Dallas.
Tim Sharp and I both have longstanding relationships with John Rutter, and when we realized that his ubiquitous edition of the Fauré Requiem would be 30 years old soon, we decided to ask him to celebrate that milestone with us. When he agreed, our plans developed to include opening the convention with Maestro Rutter conducting the National Music in Worship Festival Chorus and a professional orchestra in the Fauré Requiem and his Mass of the Children. We are now soliciting audition recordings from any ACDA member, or adult singers from the choir of a house of worship whose director is an ACDA member. Bryan Black, Southern Division R&S Chair, is project manager for this event, and will oversee the audition process and the rehearsals in Dallas. It will be the first time in our history that a main-stage, headliner concert will have been organized and offered by our R&S area. We owe Tim Sharp and Karen Fulmer great thanks for this.
John Rutter has graciously agreed to offer two Interest Sessions in addition to his conducting duties. He will lead a Reading Session sponsored by Hinshaw and Oxford, and he will give an Interest Session called “Confessions of a Composer,” in which he shares about his very interesting career.
Our conventions have always included an Ecumenical Worship Service, and sometimes have included an Interfaith Worship Service. In Dallas, we will offer an Ecumenical Service in the beautiful Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. And once again, our national leaders have supported us in an unprecedented way. For this year’s service, we will be able to utilize a Chamber Orchestra of professional musicians, in addition to the three choirs who have been selected to participate. The program will progress musically through the seasons of the liturgical year. Two new hymns have been written for the service, along with orchestral accompaniments, and the three performing groups are: First United Methodist Church of Dallas, Palmetto Voices of South Carolina (specializing in spirituals, gospels, and music of African origin), and Songmen of Great Britain (a six-member group of men, similar to the King’s Singers.) And, most importantly, the congregation of ACDA members will be treated as one of the choirs during the service, and have the chance to sing outstanding repertoire as part of the service.
At the Dallas conference we will expand on the idea we initiated in Chicago, a Music in Worship Immersion Day on Saturday. The sessions will take place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and will begin with our Reading Session and Roundtable Discussion. A variety of Interest Sessions will be offered, and the pillar of the day’s plan will be an extended Interest Session about Jewish Choral Music. You will recall that in Chicago we experienced a Shabbat Service that was very well-planned and successful. So I have asked the organizer of that service, Coreen Duffy, to take an extended time during Immersion Day and teach us about it, using the Chicago experience as a springboard for our members to learn more about Jewish worship and liturgy, and to see the "crossover" appeal of Jewish repertoire, and how it can be used in other contexts. The session will include two demonstration choirs, and will contribute to our continuing efforts to provide greater resources to synagogue musicians. Inkeeping with the "crossover" emphasis, the demonstration choirs will include the Adult Choir of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, and the Junaluska Singers of Lake Junaluska United Methodist Assembly in North Carolina.
In addition, Immersion Day will offer two outstanding Interest Sessions concerning an often-neglected, yet challenging part of the Music Minister's job, the Youth Choir. We will hear a demonstration and explanation from a church whose program features outstanding singers from area high schools in their own Choral Scholars Program, and we will hear from a professor of Church Music, who will offer new ways of thinking about the purposes of Youth Choir.
I am excited to tell you that the conference audition process revealed a church choir whose submission excited the audition committee, and who have been invited to give a concert in one of the concert sessions. This year the choir of Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas submitted audition material and were chosen, giving us a stellar concert from a group in our R&S area.
And these rich offerings comprise only the events specific to our R&S area! There are volumes more that can be written describing the presentation of the Britten War Requiem, a special memorial marking the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Assassination, remarkable new venues, and the usual stellar concerts and Interest Sessions.
As your new activity year begins, don't forget to make attendance at the Dallas National Conference a high priority in your planning. High attendance from within our R&S area will assure ACDA's national leaders that their strong support for Music in Worship is well-placed. I look forward to seeing you there!
Best wishes,
Terre Johnson, Ph.D.
National Chair for Music in Worship
Replies (5): Threaded | Chronological
on August 13, 2012 8:44am
Terre - 
It all looks wonderful! Especially looking forward to the service taking us through the liturgical year.
Will the Worship and Music sessions be mostly offered in the Morning and Afternoon? I imagine that I wouldn't be the only church musician who would have to fly out of Dallas Saturday evening in order to be back for worship on Sunday.
on August 13, 2012 9:17am
Austen, although there will be general convention activities through Saturday night, the Immersion Day activities will conclude at 3:30 PM.
on August 13, 2012 9:54am
Remind us the dates of the 2013 convention, please? Thanks.
on August 13, 2012 10:58am
Mar. 13-16
on August 13, 2012 11:01am
This looks just terrific.  Huge congratulations for your great work thus far in preparation for ACDA national.  I am very excited that you have managed to coax John Rutter back to Texas and to ACDA.  This is no small feat and will anchor a terrific conference.  Following your post, I rechecked the dates.  For those wondering, they are March 13-16.
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