Gerald J. Luongo

Gerald J. Luongo: 1979-1981, 1983-1985

The fourth New Jersey ACDA President was Dr. Gerald J. Luongo, Principal and Choral Director at Vineland High School.

Eugene Thamon Simpson

Eugene Thamon Simpson: 1977-1979

The  third president was Dr. Eugene Thamon Simpson. Educated at Howard, Yale and Columbia Universities. While in the US Army from 1956-59, he formed he Melodaires Quartet that achieved national attention by winning the World Wide Entertainment Competition, appearing on the Ed Sullivan TV Show and touring the world for nine months entertaining troops.

Upon his discharge from Special Services, he taught in the NY High Schools for ten years and worked as a studio singer doing recordings with a plethora of major artists from Harry Belafonte to Leontyne Price. Before coming to New Jersey, he served as Choral Director and Voice Chairman at Virginia State College, and as Professor, Music Chair and Division Head at Bowie State University. He is the recipient of a Tanglewood Vocal Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Academic Administration Fellowship, and served as Chair of the Eastern Regional NASM, Governor of New Jersey NATS, Founder and National Chair of the ACDA Committee on Ethnic Music and Minority Concerns, Founder and Curator of The Hall Johnson Collection, Founder and Endower of the NATS Hall Johnson Spirituals Competition, and a Panelist on the National Endowment for the Arts. His choirs have performed at ACDA Division and National Conventions, at Carnegie Hall, the Mormon Tabernacle, the Vatican, in London, Paris, Vienna, Salzburg, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Madrid Spain.

When Dr. Simpson came to Glassboro State College as Music Chairman in 1975, the New Jersey ACDA Presidency was vacant and the membership was depleted. As he had been active in ACDA for almost 10 years and had appeared with the Virginia State College Choir at the Southern Division Convention to an enthusiastic standing ovation, he was contacted almost immediately by the ACDA national president and asked if he would fill the vacant presidency and revive the flagging chapter. He accepted the charge and within his two-year term, almost tripled the membership. He established communication with all of the high school and college choral directors;  established adjudicated high school and college festivals with quality judges and awards. He developed a newsletter to alert and inform the directors of the festival schedule, of the regulations and procedures, of judging standards, and of the final ratings of each school. The results were instantaneous and enthusiastic. He was able to hand over to his successor a healthy, thriving chapter.

During the same period and in cooperation with the national board of ACDA, Simpson worked to incase the participation of minority choral directors,  to familiarize them with international choral standards, and encourage them to accept them for their programs. To this end, he convened a Symposium for Black Choral Directors to discuss the kinds of choral literature that should be taught in accredited schools, adjudication standards, and modern choral techniques. The idea that Black choirs were not chosen because of racial bias was dispelled and the fact of competitive auditions was emphasized. Upon receipt of the report of this Symposium, the national organization demonstrated its good faith by granting his request to constitute a National Committee on Ethnic Music and Minority Concerns to develop a greater appreciation for diverse music literature and to encourage participation by minority conductors. Simpson chaired the national committee for seven years and organized a committee in each ACDA Division.

Ralph Hunter

Ralph Hunter: 1977-1977

(As told by: Eugene Thamon Simpson Ed.D: I came to Glassboro State College as Music Department Chairman on January 26, 1975. My recollection of what happened before that is based only on what I heard from Professor Clarence Miller, my colleague in the department.)

The second president of New Jersey ACDA was Ralph Hunter. A native of East Orange, NJ, Hunter was a professor at Hunter College and a professional recording artist with the Ralph Hunter Choir.
Known for his passionate conducting of polychoral and spatially stereophonic music, Mr. Hunter also worked in radio and television and recorded five albums with the Ralph Hunter Choir.
In 1954 Mr. Hunter became head of the Collegiate Chorale, an amateur choir in New York. From an ensemble of eight women and 10 men the group swelled to a 100-member chorus known for performing polychoral works by composers like Thomas Tallis and Henry Brant.
Mr. Hunter led a choir giving a series of NBC television performances with the conductor Arturo Toscanini and later conducted a campaign choir called the Voices for Nixon. In 1970 he was named professor of music at Hunter College after serving as an associate professor for one year. In addition to teaching choral literature, conducting and arranging, he led biannual choral concerts. He retired in 1987.
A native of East Orange, N.J., Mr. Hunter began his music career with a position as a church organist at the First Reform Church in Newark. After serving in World War II, he attended the Juilliard School.
Hunter resigned from the presidency and left the position vacant and the chapter rudderless.

Clarence Miller

Clarence Miller: 1961-1964, 1972-1977

(As told by: Eugene Thamon Simpson Ed.D: I came to Glassboro State College as Music Department Chairman on January 26, 1975. My recollection of what happened before that is based only on what I heard from Professor Clarence Miller, my colleague in the department.)

The first president of the New Jersey Chapter was Clarence Miller of Glassboro State College. Miller served two 2-year terms. I have no knowledge of the initiatives that he promoted or sponsored.

Clarence Miller, Professor Emeritus, Glassboro State College (now Rowan University),  graduated from Mount Union College in Alliance, OH, received his MM from Marshall University and did post-graduate work at Westminster Choir College and Columbia University.

Finishing a tour of duty in the US Army in Bremerhaven, Germany, he joined Glassboro State Faculty in 1956 where he founded the Concert Choir, taught voice, conducting, and chaired the vocal/choral division at various times. The GSC Concert Choir quickly became known throughout the state, singing for three governors’ inaugurations, and becoming known as The Governor’s Choir. He also had substantial involvement with the NJ Opera, having done Othello with Metropolitan Opera soprano Licia Albanese, Verdi’s Requiem, and Mefistofele by Boito with Met Opera bass Jerome Hines. He finished his tenure at Rowan in 1992 after 36 richly productive years and then joined the Gloucester County Community College faculty for five years. Miller served twice as ACDA state president and was one of four conductors chosen to assist in preparing a national 200-voice choir for the nation’s bicentennial at Interlochen Music Camp in 1976. His choirs performed for regional and national MENC and ACDA and NATS conventions. He was a member of all three organizations.

He received numerous awards including a citation from the NJ state assembly for outstanding service to choral art and a Distinguished Service Award from NJMEA. He was a member of Phi Mu Alpha honorary music fraternity and Alpha Tau Omega social fraternity and the Phi Kappa Lambda music honor society, and various professional and civic organizations. He was on the Institutional Review Board at Wills Eye Hospital/Philadelphia and had been inducted into the Chapel of the Four Chaplains. His influence on choral music in the state is legion. He was an Elder and former choir director at First Presbyterian Church in Pitman, NJ, and was an avid gardener.

October 7: 2017 Kemp Music Symposium

2017 Kemp Music Symposium with Mark Miller, Kathy Ridi, Kathleen Ebling Shaw and Tom T. Shelton, Jr.

This day-long event will focus on the theme of social justice through music in the church. Sessions are being held with Mark Miller, Kathy Ridl, Kathleen Ebling Shaw, and Tom T. Shelton, Jr.
Registration is currently open online! The cost of attendance for the day is $95 which includes music and lunch.

Westminster Choir College of Rider University
101 Walnut Lane
Princeton, NJ 08540
United States
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Saturday, October 7, 2017, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

2017 Kemp Music Symposium

Questions? Contact Austen Wilson!

Conference Update- Free Music Giveaway

The NJACDA Summer Conference is nearly a week away, and you can still register for one or both days (July 24-25) at Chicago Children’s Choir Director Judy Hanson is the headliner, and is sure to inspire and inform!

Church Musicians– Monday July 24 will feature several excellent opportunities for you, with an interest session on “Surefire Anthems,” a conducting masterclass, roundtable discussion, networking, and more.  There will be lots of great sessions for all interests and a FREE MUSIC GIVEAWAY.  The giveaway includes new, excellent repertoire in all voicings, including major works, from Harmonium Artistic Director Dr. Anne Matlack, who is thinning out her collection. Others may be contributing to the give-away. EVERYTHING MUST GO! First come, first served!  Sign up today!

Monmouth Civic Chorus Summer Sing

Monmouth Civic Chorus Summer Sing

Haydn Lord Nelson Mass

Wednesday, August 16- 7:30 p.m.

Monmouth Reform Temple

332 Hance Ave.

Tinton Fall, NJ 07724



Toms River Summer Sing

Toms River Summer Sing

Vivaldi Gloria & Rutter Gloria

Tuesday, August 1, 2017- 7:00 p.m.

Dr. Josh Melson, director

Karin Gargone, accompanist


The Presbyterian Church of Toms River

1070 Hooper Avenue

Toms River, NJ 08753

732-349-1331 x228


This event is free and open to all.  Music and dessert will be provided.