Board Meeting- Saturday, May 20

The Spring NJACDA Board Meeting will be held on Saturday, May 20 at 10:00 a.m. at Shindel Hall at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.

Register now for the NJACDA Summer Conference!

Summer is approaching, and the NJACDA Summer Conference will be here sooner than you think!  Register by June 1 for the early bird price of $99 (reading packets guaranteed).  After June 1 the price increases to $129.  Visit and sign up today.

Congratulations to Anne Matlack, NJACDA President-Elect!

The NJ-ACDA Election Committee is pleased to announce the results of our election for the position of President-Elect. Anne Matlack is our new President-Elect of NJ-ACDA. Her term begins on July 1, 2017. Thanks to both Anne and Jason Bishop who graciously accepted the nominations. How fortunate we were to have two exceptionally qualified candidates. We look forward to what Anne will bring to NJ-ACDA in this new leadership role.

Respectfully submitted,
Deborah Mello, Amy Troxel, Jack Hill and Christopher Thomas

Since my first inspiring ACDA conventions as a young conductor, hearing the greats of our profession speak, and hearing the finest choirs of all sorts inspire me, this organization has fed me, and I am ready to give back to the best of my ability. My whole professional life has been about striving for choral excellence while making community, and community is more important than ever. Choral musicians wear many hats and usually work with more than one ensemble and age group. In NJ ACDA I have participated as an R &S chair for Community Choirs, as a conductor and sponsoring conductor for the Elementary and Junior High Honor Choir, as a judge for the High School Festival, a workshop leader for the Summer Conference, and admin for the facebook page. I juggle full time conducting duties that range from preschoolers to professional singers. I am excited to keep up the good connections, examples and resources on the NJ local level that NJACDA provides to its membership, and to reach out to even more members to bring them together and serve their needs in these challenging times for the arts. -Dr. Anne Matlack

Anne Matlack (BA Music cum laude, Yale University; MM, DMA Choral Conducting, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music) has been Artistic Director of Harmonium Choral Society since 1987. During her tenure as Artistic Director, the 100-voice choral society has been recognized for its musical excellence and innovative programming, and commissioning of new music.  In addition to her work with Harmonium, Dr. Matlack is celebrating her 26th year as Organist/Choirmaster at Grace Episcopal Church in Madison. There she directs a full program of children and adult choirs and a concert series, Grace Community Music. Her excellent all-volunteer adult chorus performs Evensongs and large choral works every year and her children’s choir training program follows Royal School of Church Music standards and has 60 children ages 7-18 singing every week in three different levels. Grace Church and Harmonium singers joined to serve as Choir-in Residence at Winchester Cathedral in the summer of 2015. Dr. Matlack serves on the New Jersey Board of the American Choral Directors Association as Repertoire and Resources Chair for Community Choirs. She served as Eastern Division Community Choirs Chair for 6 years. Active as an adjudicator and clinician, Anne has taught at Kean University and Lafayette College, and conducted the Yale University Freshman Chorus. Her conducting teachers have included Fenno Heath, Elmer Thomas, and Earl Rivers, and workshops with Robert Shaw and Eric Ericson. She has sung in the Robert Shaw Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall, and with the Yale Alumni Chorus at the Kremlin in Moscow. She is the 2003 recipient of the Arts Council of the Morris Area’s Outstanding Professional in the Arts Award. She is also member of American Guild of Organists, Association of Anglican Musicians, Chorus America, and New Jersey Choral Consortium.  Dr. Matlack is married to Jabez Van Cleef, a writer who has participated in several commissions with her, and they live in Madison with their cat, Peter Tchaikovsky. Daughter Grace, is a freshman at Rowan University. Anne’s older daughter Virginia is in her 20s, a graduate of St. Olaf and its famed choir; now a music therapist and singer-songwriter in Philadelphia.


Last Call for Pittsburgh!

April 15, 2017 is the deadline for auditioned choirs, a cappella choirs, and interest session proposals for the 2018 Eastern Division Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.  The deadline for  the Elementary, Jr. High, High School, and Women Composers Honor Choirs is June 30, 2017.  The conference is scheduled for March 7-11, 2018 and promises to be a spectacular event.  For complete details, visit

Nominate a Teacher for a GRAMMY Award

For every performer who makes it to the GRAMMY stage, there was a teacher who played a critical role in getting them there. And really, that’s true for all of us who are making music today. Maybe they introduced you to your first instrument. Or they showed you how to get over your stage fright. Or maybe they just inspired you to have the confidence to go for it when you were ready to give up.

It’s time to say thank you to ALL of those teachers who put in ALL of those hours to make sure that ALL of us love and play music today! And who better to do that than the people who bring you the GRAMMY Awards?

We’ll select 10 finalists including one winner each year to be recognized for their remarkable impact. The winner will be flown in to attend the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards in early 2018, receive the Music Educator Award at a ceremony during GRAMMY Week, plus pick up a $10,000 personal honorarium. All finalists will receive a $1,000 honorarium, while semifinalists receive a $500 honorarium.

Make your thanks real by nominating your teacher today!  For full information, visit:


Summer Conference Registration Now Open

NJACDA has an exciting summer conference planned for July 24-25, 2017 at Rutgers University and we hope you will join us!  This year we will welcome headliner Judy Hanson, director of the Chicago Children’s Choir.  There will be reading sessions and interest sessions in many different areas, a conducting masterclass, and round-table discussions with colleagues, all of which will leave you challenged and inspired.  Complete details and online registration are available at

Congratulations Matthew Lee & John P. Stevens High School Chamber Choir

The John P. Stevens High School Chamber Choir under the direction of Matthew Lee on Sunday, Feb 19 was declared the Grand Prize Winner of the Sing N Joy Princeton International Choral Festival 2017, receiving a $2000 USD prize. The Chamber Choir was also awarded a special prize for their performance of one of composer Morten Lauridsen’s pieces during the competition: an autographed manuscript of the first four bars of Morten Lauridsen’s piece “O Magnum Mysterium” presented by the composer himself.

More than 16 choirs from 4 countries competed in the competition hosted by Interkultur. These countries included China, Indonesia, Puerto, and USA. The choirs from USA included choirs from Pennsylvania, Missouri, New York, Kentucky, and New Jersey.

Both the A cappella choir and the Chamber Choir from John P Stevens High School in Edison, NJ participated in its first ever International Choir Competition at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ this Presidents’ Day weekend.

After a day of auditions, The John P. Stevens High School A cappella choir achieved Category Winner in category S–Sacred with a rating of Gold. The John P Stevens High School Chamber Choir also finished as Category Winner in Category A1- Mixed Choirs difficulty level I with a rating of Gold.

R&R Blog – June 2016, with Anne Matlack

attic memeIt is planning time! I don’t know about your process but mine involves moving around huge piles of music! I try to file and then I just re-pile.  Over the years I have enjoyed giving themed concerts because I find it the best way to organize my thoughts and attract audience while presenting a variety of styles from Renaissance to contemporary and global. Piles germinate until a theme rises to the top.  Nowadays as well as researching my own extensive collections (I have to touch everything—reminds me of the Ann Landers saying “no person who can read is ever successful at cleaning out an attic”) I spend a lot of time on social media musical sites and YouTube and—ain’t modern life grand! If you are looking for theme ideas of repertoire feel free to drop me an email or look me up on Facebook.  I am also proud to say, 17 years of themed concert program notes are archived on Harmonium Choral Society’s website—feel free to snoop! Enjoy your process!

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.