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.

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



One opening left in the Conducting Masterclass!

There is one opening left to conduct in the 2017 NJACDA Summer Conference conducting masterclass, led by Chris Thomas and Josh Melson.  Participants will conduct Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus” and Mark Miller’s “O For a Thousand Tongues.” If you are interested in conducting in the masterclass, email Josh Melson (  The session will need singers of all voice parts, so plan to attend even if you are not one of the participating conductors.

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.