Choirs to perform at ACDA conference

Two Lawrence University choirs will be taking performances outside of our Memorial Chapel to Des Moines, Iowa at the end of March as part of the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) North Central conference. Led by Assistant Professors of Music Stephen Sieck and Phillip A. Swan, co-directors of choral studies at Lawrence, Concert Choir and Cantala will each perform at the conference for music educators, students and composers from around the country.

The ACDA is a non-profit music education organization that promotes excellence in choral music through performance, composition, publication, research and teaching, as well as being an advocate for choral music in society. The North Central contingent is one of seven geographic divisions of ACDA, which includes Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Senior Jon Stombres filled me in on how the choirs received this opportunity, what they will be doing and other details about this trip.

Members of ACDA attend the conference and can go to various workshops, performances, music reading sessions, and other lectures and discussions. The performers at the conference are audition-based and open to college choirs and select high school choirs. The recorded audition must include repertoire performed by the ensemble in the past few years. Concert Choir and Cantala will be featured next to choirs from the University of Minnesota-Duluth, UW-Eau Claire, Gustavus Adolphus College, Luther College and Wartburg College, among others.

Stombres told me that, “It is a huge honor for us to be asked to perform and amazing that both Concert [Choir] and Cantala will be attending.” Junior Morgen Moraine echoed these feelings, saying, “I’m very excited to go and sing, I think it’s a great opportunity to represent Lawrence. This is special because both choirs have been accepted and there is not a special group for smaller schools, so we were auditioning next to every school that submitted this year and we’re definitely showing the Lawrence standard by having both choirs represented the same year.”

Moraine told me that the theme of the conference is diversity, so the repertoire of each choir will represent a variety of time periods, styles and cultures. Concert Choir’s concert line-up includes early music of the 1600s through to the present day and spans works from traditions of early European style through Russia, Latvia, India, America and Italy.

Stombres is president of the newly formed chapter of ACDA at Lawrence, and he is organizing an extended stay at the conference for anyone interested in staying, particularly music educators who can attend additional sessions and meet other educators. The conference also includes performances by headlining special guest choirs such as Schola Cantorum de Mexico, Cantus, and Ulsan Metropolitan Chorus of South Korea.

A big congratulations goes to Concert Choir and Cantala as they head to Iowa at the end of the term to represent Lawrence at this event celebrating choral music. As Moraine said, “I’m excited to simply go and make wonderful music with my fellow Lawrentians!”