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7th Grade Choir (25 students total: 10 sopranos, 10 altos, 5 baritones)

Winter Feels the Sword of Spring by John Parker & Ruth Elaine Schram (3-part mixed, piano)

This piece is a really good example of text painting. The song moves from minor to major as winter melts into spring. Some of the alto part has a rather wide range as alto parts go. I found this to be a good opportunity to teach my students how to move between registers and begin to develop their understanding of mixed voice. The writing is very melodic for all three voice parts, and there are several teachable moments with regard to dynamic and tempo changes.

Dragonfly by Cristy Cary Miller (3-part mixed, piano)

This selection ended up being more challenging for my students than I expected, but it has been an overall success. Cristy Cary Miller has turned out to be a very reliable composer/arranger for my classes over the past 3 years – this is the fourth work of hers that I have done. This particular selection is in a minor key with some difficult but doable chromaticism. It is also a good opportunity to work in mixed meter with a constant interchange of 6/8 and 3/4. It is also a very dramatic setting of Tennyson’s descriptive poem.

Going Over Home by Sonja Poorman (3-part mixed, piano)

This is a lovely medley/partner song of “Poor Wayfarin’ Stranger” and “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” The range is very appropriate for 7th grade boys with changing voices, and the writing is very melodic for all voice parts. My students have enjoyed all of their repertoire this year, but this one is clearly their favorite.


8th Grade Choir (50 students total: 20 sopranos, 23 altos, 7 baritones)

The Tiger by Sherri Porterfield (3-part mixed, piano)

This is a very dramatic setting of William Blake’s poem “The Tiger.” The lamb represents innocence, and the tiger represents experience – two halves of human nature. The piece is in a minor key with lots of great opportunities to work on dynamic and tempo changes. Even the “The Storm” (see below) has the greatest audience appeal, I think this song is actually the class’s favorite.

Where Go the Boats? by Phyllis Aleta Wolfe (3-part mixed, piano)

This piece is also a great opportunity to talk about text painting, and the accompaniment is very Schubertian in it’s role of portraying the river’s journey. The poem presents a metaphor for life and the fact that we don’t always get to see the full and final impact of our works. The song begins with a twinkle on the piano – the small ripple as you set your boat on the surface of the still water. The song ends with the words, “other little children will bring my boats ashore.”

The Storm is Passing Over by Charles Albert Tindley, arr. Barbara W. Baker

I avoided SATB music this year for balance reasons. The tenor part in this arrangement is unusually high, so even though I personally avoid this practice, I felt comfortable putting some of my low altos on the tenor line. The homophonic writing and closed harmonies proved to be a challenge for my students, but they really enjoyed the style and energy of the piece. There is a lot of room for improvisation on the repeated chorus – YouTube is a great place to look for ideas.

Contact Me

Amy Troxel

Clearview Regional Middle School

595 Jefferson Road, Mullica Hill NJ 08062



7th and 8th grade choir and general music teacher since January 2011

Collegiate Choral Festival

March 28, 2015

In photo, from left: John Leonard, Jack Hill, Jason Tramm, Dr. Jerry McCoy, Patrick Gardner, Joe Miller, Lisa Lutter, Christopher Thomas
Program: NJ Collegiate Choral Festival

 On Saturday, March 28, 2015, seven choirs representing six New Jersey colleges and universities met to perform for one other.  The event was conceived after a meeting in 2014 of NJ collegiate choral directors who saw the need for individual choirs to sing for each other.  The event was hosted by Patrick Gardner at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.  Dr. Jerry McCoy served as the clinician. car rent . Each choir performed for 20 minutes and then had a brief meeting with Dr. McCoy, who reinforced the many great things that occurred.  The purpose of the event was for students to share their work with each other.  The day ended with an informal gathering of all involved with refreshments and much comradery. It was a joy to hear the fine work of our singers and to observe the cheering and support clearly evidenced by the students in attendance. A commitment was made to make this a biennial event for our organization.

Jack Hill,
NJ-ACDA President

The Colleges and Directors involved:

The College of New Jersey – John Leonard
Ramapo College – Lisa Lutter
Seton Hall University – Jason Tramm
Rowan University – Christopher Thomas
Rutgers University – Patrick Gardner
Westminster Choir College – Joe Miller

News and Funk from Salt Lake City

NJ members at the 2015 National Conference

Check out “Salt Lake City Funk“, Colin Britt’s viral video !
Couldn’t go?  Read Lauri Lausi’s enthusiastic and entertaining report.


Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra

Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra

High School Honors Choir

High School Honors Choir

Latin American Honors Choir

Latin American Honors Choir

Old friends-Bob Duff-Lauri Lausi-Dave Lockart

Old friends-Bob Duff-Lauri Lausi-Dave Lockart

Pat Gardner, Colin Britt, Lee Mamolen, Luke Ostrow

Pat Gardner, Colin Britt, Lee Mamolen, Luke Ostrow

Laurie Lausi and honor choir student Hannah Kim

Laurie Lausi and honor choir student Hannah Kim

Chris Thomas, Cristin Charlton, John Thomas, Jen Sengin, Debbie Mello, Laurie Lausi, Jack Hill, Joe Mello, Lori Lynch,Pat Hachey, Jason Tramm

Chris Thomas, Cristin Charlton, John Thomas,
Jen Sengin, Debbie Mello, Laurie Lausi, Jack Hill,
Joe Mello, Lori Lynch,Pat Hachey, Jason Tramm

Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra

Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra

Conference Center

Conference Center


free website domains (site: http://www.oridom.xyz no longer available) . Jersey location (site: http://www.mapbild.info/p/jersey-354/ no longer available) . My ip address (site: http://www.ipadr.xyz no longer available) steam cloud .

Christopher Thomas is new President-Elect designate

Congratulations to Rowan Professor Christopher Thomas, our next President-Elect as of July 1, 2015.  Balloting has just ended, and voter turnout was high.  Thanks to all who cast their votes.

A Choral Director’s Handbook

A Choral Director’s Handbook

Resource guide for new teachers.  Compiled by Amy Troxel.

In case you missed it, find this helpful new resource under Member Services/Resources, search “handbook,” or just click here:

Congratulations to Tom Shelton, National President-Elect

New Jersey American Choral Directors Association is proud to note that Tom T. Shelton, Jr., a member of our Board of Directors has been elected National President-Elect.

Tom is a native of Greensboro, N.C. and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he earned both a Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music in Choral Conducting. He is Assistant Professor of Sacred Music at Westminster Choir College. domain information . Shelton has a passion for music education in all areas: church, school, and community. He taught middle school choral music in Winston-Salem/ Forsyth County for 18 years. During that time he was selected Teacher of the Year for both Atkins Middle School and Kernersville Middle School. In 1999 the North Carolina Music Educators Association presented him with the North Carolina Middle School Music Teacher of the Year award. Before joining the faculty of Westminster Choir College, Mr. Shelton served as Associate Director of Music for Children and Youth at First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, N.C., and as conductor of the Chorale for the Greensboro Youth Chorus.

Shelton has been active with the American Choral Directors Association, serving as a clinician for ACDA and NAfME Conferences in Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. His ACDA leadership positions have included Southern Division President (2011-2012), National R&S Chair for Middle School/Junior High Choirs (2007-2009) and North Carolina President (2005-2007). He currently serves as the New Jersey ACDA R&S Chair for Youth and Student Activities. Choral groups under his direction were invited to perform for the North Carolina Music Educators Conference and the North Carolina ACDA Conference. Mr. Shelton was invited to present the interest session, “Working with Boys in the Middle School Choral Setting,” for the 2006 Southern Division ACDA Conference in Charleston, W.V., using his 8th Grade Young Men’s Ensemble as the demonstration choir. In February, he presented a session for the 2014 Eastern Division ACDA Conference in Baltimore.

Recruiting and Retention Ideas for Beginning High School Choral Teachers

I. Basic Goals/Concepts at all Levels – Good Quality Builds Numbers

  • Good tone quality and solid vocal technique
  • Good intonation
  • Good phrasing and musicianship
  • Quality literature appropriate to level
  • Consistent rehearsal discipline and concert etiquette
  • Solid and consistent warm-up regimen

II. Connections from School to School – Communication Builds Numbers

  • Teacher connection from Elementary (5th-6th) to Middle (7th-8th)
  • Teacher connection from Middle to High School (9th-12th)
  • Teacher connection between High School Levels
  • Communication between vocal teachers

III. Teaching Concepts through Performance Literature-

  • Make sure music you pick is appropriate to age and level, varied in style and high quality

IV. Work at Good Communication

  • Important Role of Administration in scheduling help
  • Guidance Director and Counselors in scheduling help

V. Importance of Balance in Choirs

  • SATB! – The recruitment of and maintenance of men at all levels
  • Work at getting to know all your 8th graders
  • Look for new 8th graders who might enjoy a music elective
  • Work for Equal Balance at Select Levels
  • Emphasis on Curricular Choirs first!

VI. Identify Goals to School Principal

  • Explain you need quantity and quality to develop excellence
  • Identify how they can help you- and ask for the help!
  • Is there a Fine Arts Requirement?
  • Are we meeting state Core Curriculum Requirements

VII. Role of Student Leadership

  • Leaders insuring continued sign-up from level to level
  • Placing ownership on leaders to keep students signed up
  • Recruitment Push from 8th to 9th, and 6th to 7th, 5th to 6th– including visits, letters, concerts, promoting attendance at concerts at different levels, sibling and friend connections
  • Creating a Legacy and Traditions with Alumni- e-mails, opportunities to serve, MC concerts

VIII. Emphasis on Excellence in Curricular Choirs First!!!

  • All students must be in a curricular choir in order to participate in the “fun” extras- jazz, show, men’s and women’s choir, madrigals
  • If students singing well in curricular choirs- all extra-curricular extensions will as a by-product be more excellent as well!!
  • If vocal technique is solidly being taught in curricular choirs- change in style for extra-curricular jazz and show music will be an easier task- Solid vocal technique should transfer through all styles

IX. Publicize each success as it grows

  • How many kids you pull in each year
  • Get articles on front of newspapers
  • Have kids sing at public events, community meetings, board meetings
  • Have a parent assigned to publicize good works


[Lorraine Lynch is NJACDA Board Mentoring Resource for Beginning Teachers, and a Past President]

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