TTBB Choirs at ACDA 2017

The biannual ACDA 2017 National Conference starts tonight in Minneapolis. Although I won’t be attending this year, I have many colleagues who are and want to share some previews.

I’ve prepared a cheat sheet of conference offerings that appeal to my particular interests: vocal jazz, TTBB Choirs, and composing/arranging. I’ll offer separate posts with each area, as well as a general sit of don’t-miss sessions.

In this post: TTBB Choirs

TTBB choirs are alive and well in ACDA. I was aided in this post by a mass email prepared by Penn State University’s Chris Kiver, ACDA’s National R&R Chair for Men’s Choirs. (We won’t discuss the fact that during the reorganization, ACDA missed the opportunity to refer to them as TTBB choirs rather than Men’s Choirs.)

Wednesday, 9:00 AM (Gold)/4:45 PM (Blue) Flower Mound High School Men’s Chamber Choir. A high school TTBB choir right out of the gate, singing marvelous repertoire from Veljo Tormis, Timothy C. Takach, Michael McGlynn, and Joshua Shank, among others. The choir is directed by Mark Rohwer and hails from Dallas, TX. The Shank piece, me(n), is manuscript, and appears to have been commissioned as part of this tour.

Wednesday, 8:45 PM (Blue)/Thursday 8:45 PM (Gold) Orphei Drängar. Inarguably one of the finest large TTBB ensembles in the world, OD hails from Sweden, where it has been in existence since 1853. I personally look to this ensemble for repertoire ideas as well as a tonal example, and would be overjoyed to hear them live in concert. Their repertoire is wide-ranging, including contemporary pieces and traditional works from Schubert and Alfvén (one of several legendary past conductors of the ensemble, a list which also includes Eric Ericson and Robert Sund). The performance will include Muoaayiyoum by Anders Hillborg, which is voices for TTTTTTTTBBBBBBBB. Whoa.

Thursday, 10:00 AM/11:10 AM Boys to Men: Building an Intergenerational Male Choir (Interest Session) Great Northern Union, a celebrated intergenerational TTBB Choir (and successful competitive Barbershop chorus), will be a demonstration choir as presenters Doug Carnes, Joe Cerutti, and Kevin Lynch explain their continued success at maintaining a musically excellent ensemble that bridges generational boundaries.

Thursday , 2:00 PM (Blue)/5:30 PM (Gold) Rutgers University Glee Club. Patrick Gardner conducts this fine glee club, which will sing repertoire from Schubert, Milhaud, Tormis, and Gregorio.

Thursday, 2:45 PM A Twenty-First Century Approach to Recruiting Boys in Middle and High School. From Nicolás Albert Dosman, professor at the University of Southern Maine, comes  holistic, inclusive, sensitive approach to recruiting male singers that goes beyond the testosterone-driven recruitment approach that characterized choral teachers’ approach in the past. LOVE.

Friday, 8:15 AM Men’s Choirs Reading Session. As always, reading sessions offer an excellent opportunity to get to know new and standard repertoire for TTBB Choirs. Led by Jim Marvin and Timothy Takach.

Friday, 9:15 AM Men’s Choirs Forum. Stick around after the reading session for a discussion of issues of particular interest to conductors of TTBB Choirs. This will feature special guest Robert Sund, conductor emeritus of Orphei Drängar.

Saturday, 9:00 AM (Blue)/3:30 PM (Gold) Plano Senior High School A Cappella Men’s Choir. Conductor Derrick Brookins has prepared a lovely set of mostly contemporary repertoire, including Stacey V. Gibbs, Robert DeCormier, and Randall Thompson.

Saturday, 6:00 PM Barbershop Harmony Society ReceptionThe artists formerly known as SPEBSQSA remain movers and shakers in the world of TTBB singing, and they will be hosting a reception for like-minded Barbershoppers on Saturday evening.

Saturday, 7:45 PM (Blue)/9:45 PM (Gold) Cantus. Hometown heroes of the Twin Cities, Cantus is certainly at the top of my list of inspirations; at twelve voices they reflect the chamber-choir mentality I ascribe to with my ensemble. They will knock it out of the park, with a concert list TBD. I’d listen to them sing anything. The only disappointment is that your ears are going to be plenty tired by Saturday night, particularly if you’re on the gold track – so plan accordingly and save some stamina to make it to their concert.

You can keep yourself pretty busy attending just TTBB Choir events at the 2017 ACDA National Conference…but you shouldn’t! There’s plenty more to take in, from vocal jazz to composer-centric sessions, as well as a wide array of other worthwhile experiences!