My ACDA Moments

At today’s ACDA-Michigan morning, our president Jared Anderson asked us to share our “ACDA Moments” – those touchstones where this organization affected us most profoundly.

Here’s mine.

I was not a music education or conducting student as an undergraduate or in grad school. At Western, I effectively majored in Gold Company; my masters degree is in Studio Jazz Writing.

My first strong ACDA memory is when Mandy performed at the 2003 ACDA National Conference in New York City, where she premiered Whitacre’s Five Hebrew Love Songs and Sydney Guillaume’s Kalinda. It was during this conference that I got the first draft of my master’s thesis written, back in Miami.

It wasn’t until my professional organization, the International Association for Jazz Education, went bankrupt that I really began to associate with ACDA.

Since then, with my lack of professional training in choral conducting, repertoire, or technique, I have acquired my professional skills in two ways: first, by watching Mandy work; second, by attending state, divisional, and national ACDA Conferences and connecting with fellow ACDA members.

It has profoundly impacted my career and the opportunities I can give to my students. At the most recent ACDA-Michigan conference, I got to take my picture with Simon Carrington and eight former students of mine who were either attending the conference or participating in the Collegiate Honors Choir that Carrington conducted.