Heading to Minneapolis

I hope many of you are planning to attend the 2017 National Convention in Minneapolis!  This year’s convention looks better than ever, with performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana and Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, exciting honor choir conductors like Eric Whitacre, and interest sessions, concerts, and exhibits covering every imaginable topic.

If you haven’t begun making your plans for the week, the complete schedule appears in the January issue of Choral Journal.  The official app for the conference was just released to the itunes and google play stores, and it can help you make the most of your time in Minneapolis.  The app contains the full schedule of events, and lets you make your own itinerary for the conference.  You can connect with colleagues through the app and even use it to find a place to eat.

Getting around Minneapolis is easy!  Metro Transit’s Blue Line will take you from the airport to downtown in 25 minutes for only about $2.  While we will hope for unseasonably warm temperatures, the Minneapolis Skyway System connects many of the conference venues and hotels, all without ever stepping foot outside.  A map of the downtown conference venues appears in January’s Choral Journal and the app as well.

NJACDA is planning a social event for members on Friday evening.  We will have more details available soon, and hope you will plan to join us.  Have safe travels, and we’ll see each other in Minneapolis!

Josh Melson

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 Cpdl.org—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.

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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