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The Chorister

Winter Issue 2012

TABLE OF CONTENTS: 1. The Chorister: Cover Page 2. Raber: President’s Page 3. What’s in the Folder? 4. Southard: The Bakken 5. Voeller: Engaging Your Choir 6. NDACDA Conference Info. 7. NDACDA Conference Schedule 10. Seil: What is Necessary?

11. 12. 14. 16. 18. 19. 20. 21.

Burns: Surround the State 2011 NDACDA Honor Choir Schedule Saylor: Student Leadership Whipple: Tips from a New Teacher Newsflash! Christopherson: From the Other Side Picture Page Picture Page

President’s Page Rebecca Raber, NDACDA President & Chorister Editor North Dakota ACDA is pleased and proud of the two collegiate choirs and their directors that shall be representing our State at the North Central Divisional Conference next month in Madison. Your dedication, artistry and leadership are to be commended! Best of luck to the University of North Dakota Concert Choir under the direction of Joshua Bronfman and the North Dakota State University Concert Choir under the direction of Jo Ann Miller. The UND Concert Choir, composed of both music majors and non-music majors, is the premiere auditioned choral ensemble at the University of North Dakota. The choir recently celebrated its 50th year in existence. The Concert Choir has a long history of excellence, p e r f o r m i n g frequently at regional and national conventions. This ♪ past year, the choir traveled to the Netherlands and Concert Session 2 Belgium performing and working with professional c o n d u c t o r s f r o m a r o u n d t h a t r e g i o n . Thursday, Feb. 9


Joshua Bronfman

♪ ♪ Concert Session 3


Friday, Feb. 10


The NDSU Concert Choir dates back to 1912 and performs the highest quality traditional and contemporary ♪ choral literature. Under Jo Ann Miller's direction, the choir has performed at state, regional and national ACDA conventions, and now tours nationally and regionally every year and overseas every three years. The Jo Ann Miller Concert Choir is one of six choirs at NDSU led by three choral faculty members and five master's and doctoral choral conducting graduate students. More than two-thirds of its members are music majors. The Concert Choir performs numerous concerts every year and has produced more than 30 recordings.

What’s in the Folder ?

High School Choirs

Lacey Hanson

Phillip Voeller

Center-Stanton School

Beulah High School

High School Choir Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon - Wagner Sweet William - arr. Singh Cantate Domino - Althouse HS Girl's Choir Joshua Fought the Battle - arr. Desjardins When I Am Silent - Varner

High School Concert Choir Bridge Over Troubled Water - Shaw - SAB Sansa Kroma - Sandler - SAB Waitin' For The Light - Albrecht - SSAB Swingle Song - Meader - SATB A Boy And A Girl - Whitacre - SATB Speak to the Child of Love - Koepke - SSA

Cheryl McIntyre

Jeremy Marquardt May-Port CG High School 9-12 Concert Choir Down to the River to Pray - arr. Curry We Rise Again -Dubinsky/arr. Smith Ubi Caritas - Gjeilo Shenandoah - arr. Neufeld Things That Never Die - Dengler The Word Was God - Powell

Heidi Olson

Jamestown High School John the Revelator – Caldwell & Ivory Fields of Gold- Jasperse   Tshotsholoza (Men)- Ames For the Longest Time (Men)- Emerson Sister Act Medley (Women)- Huff Praise His Holy Name (9th Grade)Hampton  In My Life- Zegree (Vocal Jazz) When Will I Be Loved- Sharon (Vocal Jazz) Just the Way You Are- Joel/Rutherford (Vocal Jazz) Brown Eyed Girl- Sharon (Vocal Jazz)

Ryan Whipple

Harvey High School Concert Choir--grades 9-12 Pops Concert: Hey, Soul Sister; Feels Like Home; Waka Waka; Breakaway Spring: Dirait on; Old Ship of Zion; Conversation Piece; God Bless America

Hettinger High School Concert Choir Little Horses - Copland Stormy Weather - arr. Althouse Adiemus - Jenkins Seasons of Love - arrLarson Will You Teach Me? - Unruh

Rebecca Raber Shanley High School Concert Chorale: Tour Repertoire Adoramus Te - Gasparini Ave Maria - Biebl Agnus Dei (Nimrod) - Elgar Te Deum - Hayes Ave Verum Corpus My Song in the Night - Christiansen Ahrirang - De Cormier Hear My Prayer - Purcell There Will Be Rest - Ticheli Gitanjali Chants - C.H.Johnson Past Life Melodies - Hopkins Rise, Shine - Maggs Elijah Rock - Hogan Every Time I Feel the Spirit - Dawson Ain’t Got Time to Die - Johnson The Old Ship of Zion - Smith

Mike Seil Bismarck High School Choir: Concert Choir Ay, Ay, Ay O Pag-ibig - Arr. Hernandez The Battle of Jericho - Arr. Brown Horizons - Van Dijk The Water is Wide - Arr. Clausen   New Generation Jazz Choir As Rain - Edenroth Blues for Elise - Arr. Kraintz Fly Me to the Moon - Arr. Marsh I Can’t Believe that You’re in Love - Arr. Meader I’ve Got the Music in Me - Arr. Sharon The Lady is a Tramp - Arr. Bullard Penny Lane - Arr. Rathbone Scarborough Fair  - Arr. Marsh Somewhere - Arr. Edgerton

Brad Sherwood Red River High School Red River Concert Choir Der Abend- Brahms O Schone Nacht- Brahms Strekotunya Beloboka-Sviridov Horizons- Van Dijk Past Life Melodies- Hopkins Go Down Death- Scott A Gaelic Blessing- Gawthrop Red River Madrigal Singers Ecco Mormorar L'onde- Monteverdi A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley SquarePuerling Love's Antiphon- Pfautsch Amor De Mi Alma- Stroope Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron- Rutter Chili Con Carne- Edenroth

Sheldon Weltz Park River High School Concert Choir--grades 9-12 The Storm Is Passing Over---Tindley, arr. Baker Defying Gravity--Schwartz, arr. Emerson Jordan's Angels--Dilworth I Am In Need Of Music--Brunner Festival Sanctus--Leavitt The Water Is Wide--arr. Althouse Haven't Met You Yet--Buble, arr. Billingsley

Challenges & Opportunities in the Bakken

Bruce Southard, Student/Youth Activities R & S Chair Imagine backed-up traffic, long waits at restaurants, empty shelves at Wal Mart, the drive-thru at McDonalds backed-up into the street on most days…Imagine hotels, large apartment buildings, duplexes, manufactured homes popping up all around you seemingly overnight…Imagine paying $1,600 a month for an apartment that cost you $600 just two years ago. Welcome to Western North Dakota. It’s here, it’s growing, and we have to learn to adapt to both the good and the bad that this boom brings into our communities. So what does this all mean for music teachers in our region? After hearing back from a few of our teachers in the oil boom trenches, I’ve identified some of the challenges and opportunities. The primary challenge that seems to be facing teachers in areas affected by the Bakken is transient enrollments. In most of the smaller areas where housing is still limited, it appears that there is little affect on the high school programs, though they are seeing some new elementary students. However, some districts are experiencing quite a few new elementary and high school students arriving mid-year and randomly appearing in their ensembles. One teacher reported to me that she had four new elementary students within the week before their holiday program. Another teacher reported that students sometimes leave as fast as they come. She told me about one of her percussionists who had unexpectedly moved back to Colorado the day before their concert. The Bismarck Tribune stated that the Williston schools are expecting a 45% increase in enrollment (12/20/2011). As most of us would anticipate, the boom brings students who both lack basic musical skills, needing to be

brought up to speed, and those who have advanced music skills. Students are making more money at their part-time jobs than ever before, for example, Burger King starts high school students in Dickinson at $13.00 per hour, some establishments are paying more. It is increasingly something that we have to contend with when it comes to performances. One teacher I know has had to contact a particular employer directly to ensure students were given sufficient time off for a concert. I’m dealing with this exponentially more this year at the collegiate level, including sobbing students because their employer had said, “No,” to time off for a concert, knowing that grades would b e

The Bakken Oil Reserve from Space affected. Because of that I am drafting a letter to employers on behalf of my students requesting time-off for our performance and tour dates for the spring semester. The source of the problem is that there are not enough workers to staff local businesses. Employees at the Dickinson Wal Mart have said that the problem is not having enough inventory, it is having enough employees to stock the shelves.

Though there are more challenges, let’s look at some opportunities. You guessed it. Fundraising. Katie Rooke in Williston said that they were able to raise the funds for a new grand piano last year in about four months. Way to go Katie! While others report positive cash flow into their programs, not everyone has seen it yet. However, the potential is increasing. With the right entrepreneurial spirit and know-how, a lot can be accomplished for music education in this new climate. As things grow more stable over the next few years, we should see fewer transient students, increased enrollments, and hopefully funding that is at least equivalent. Increased enrollments will provide greater opportunities, financially and musically, and hopefully we will see some new music teacher positions. The challenges are similar to ones we all face on a regular basis. The difference is simply in the quantity and rapidity in which growth is taking place in the west. I would like to thank Katie Rooke of Williston High School, Michael Stevenson of Dickinson High School, Abby Austin of Killdeer Public School, Catie Hoselton of Belfield Public School, and Barb Gress of Richardton-Taylor High School for their information and insights. They, along with others here in the west, and some of our colleagues in Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming seem to stay focused on the opportunities in the midst of all this rapid change and work hard everyday to provide a wonderful music education for their students. I am very proud to be out here with them.

Keeping Your Choir Engaged Phillip Voeller, Senior High School R & S Chair At some point, we have all looked into our choir and noticed a disengaged student slouching in their seat. Yeah, they all exhibit nearly the same characteristics of slouching, droopy eyes, hands in pockets, expressionless, and nearly drooling on themselves. It’s safe to say that at least one or two of these students exist in nearly every choir. In this article, we will discuss some ways you can attempt to engage the disengaged student. We will talk about repertoire selection, goals, humor, brainstorm sheets, and changing up your daily routine.

1. Repertoire selection When planning a concert, one of the first things that needs to take place is choosing repertoire. It is important to remember the repertoire you select is the curriculum for your choir. I can assure you that your choir will be bored if they are singing boring repertoire, and a bored choir is a disengaged choir. Personally, I feel that selecting high quality repertoire is one of the most important things you can do for your choir. 2. Setting goals Every choir should have established goals. At the beginning of the school year I have students write down their goals and personal commitment to the ensemble on a prepared worksheet. I keep one photocopy for my records and the original stays in each individual’s choir folder. It is important for every student to feel a sense of belonging and a sense of ownership. 3. Using humor It is important to ask yourself, “Would I enjoy singing in my choir?” If you are singing high quality repertoire and you are all working towards a goal, Odds are going to be pretty high that the choir will be making some great music and the director will be in an excellent mood! Don’t be afraid to use humor to your advantage. After all, would you enjoy singing for a grumpy director?

4. Brainstorm sheets We all have those very opinionated students who are more than happy to voice their opinion about the repertoire that has been selected, the soloists who have been chosen, the dates of the concerts, the destination of choir tour, etc.. Recently I have incorporated “brainstorm sheets” into my classroom structure and I was very surprised with how well it’s been working. A “brainstorm sheet” is a worksheet for students to write down specific vocal parts/ sections they would like reviewed and ideas they m a y have for the current music we are working o n . There is also a section for students to brainstorm and write down rehearsal ideas. On the backside of the brainstorm sheet I have included recommended websites for searching choral repertoire with room for students to list repertoire they feel would be a great fit for our choir. It allows students to have ownership, yet deters students from sabotaging a rehearsal with questions and comments. Sometimes I feel we get stuck in a routine. While students do need consistency and structure, they can get bored with a routine. Don’t be afraid to change things up! Change the formation of the choir, rehearse in a circle, stand on the chairs, sing laying down flat on your back, ect. It keeps them on their toes, not knowing what to expect next! Keeping a room full of teenage students engaged can be a very challenging task. But with the right repertoire and goals it can make this task much easier. If your students love the repertoire they will love to sing. And if they love to sing they will feel a sense of belonging in your choir. Once they feel a sense of belonging in your choir, they will feel safe to express and create. And it is at that moment your students will be fully engaged in the music.

Join us in 2012! • Vocal music programs for Middle & High School students • Prominent guest conductors lead exciting choirs, pop and vocal jazz groups • Outstanding artist-teachers on all areas every week • Middle School Choir, Treble Choir, Mixed Choir, Men’s Choir, A cappella Pop Choir, Vocal Jazz and Musical Theater. • Professional Development For Educators • Harmony Singing, Jazz Improv Combos, Private Lessons, Faculty Recitals, Theory and Ear-Training • Seven One Week Sessions • Adult Community Camps


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What is Possible, What is Necessary Michael Seil, Jazz Choirs R & S I’ve recently completed a wonderful 8 weeks with a student teacher from UND. During this time, I was able to truly reflect on the privileged position that I hold. As we all complete the craziness of the Holiday season, it is certainly easy to allow the feeling of “burn-out” diminish the spirit and quality of instruction that our students expect and deserve. As a result, I’ve compiled a list of statements to remind myself of what is possible and what is necessary. •

The kids come first – you’ll never regret doing the right thing.

Be the role model. Every successful student needs one.  You had one.

The teacher should be the best student in the room – no one has more to gain from the classroom experience.

Change is neither good nor bad. It is simply change.  Development, refinement, enhancement…these are the continual activities of successful people.

Another title for your position could be consummate communicator – the more skilled you are at all phases of

communication, the more likely you can effectively reach the greatest amount of students. The fewer words necessary to achieve this, the better. •

When your students are successful, they deserve the credit. When you are successful, it is due to your students.  Your professional accomplishments are not possible without their involvement.

Work to live, teach to inspire.

Some students will mean everything to you. You will mean everything to some students.  These are often not the same students.

Be honest, be real, be efficient, be kind, be yourself.

Be grateful. When is it ever appropriate to be ungrateful?

While you are rehearsing to prepare for concerts, your real purpose is shaping people to be better than they ever thought possible. Not for your benefit during the brief time that you get the privilege of their time and attention, but for the greater good of society.  That is a legacy that will last.

Surround the State in Song Pam Burns, Children’s/Youth Choirs R & S Chair More than 220 students from over 40 schools participated in 2011 “Surround the State in Song”! The NDACDA festivals were held on Saturday, October 15 in Jamestown, Underwood, Dickinson and Grafton. A flyer announcing the dates, sites, and repertoire was sent to all teachers of vocal music and general music in the spring of 2011. Follow-up information and registration forms were sent in August with a registration deadline of September 21st. Registration fees for SSIS are $15 for students of ACDA members and $25 for students of other teachers. T h e selected repertoire for the festival included “Wind” by L a r y s a Kuzmenko; “O, Colored Earth” by Steve Heitzig; “Ton Thé” by Jeanne and Robert Gilmore and arranged by Susan Brumfield; “Pacem” by Lee Dengler; and “Johnson Boys” arranged by Jay Broeker. Repertoire packets were donated by Poppler’s for each guest conductor. Cheryl McIntyre served as site coordinator at Jamestown High School. Melanie Popejoy, guest conductor, successfully engaged her singers right from the start by discussing the importance of taking “pride” in all that we do. One teacher reported: “Melanie was fantastic! I loved watching her and her enthusiasm. She really understands the kids and how to work with them! “ Another teacher said, “I had a blast and so did the kids! They especially liked their director.” The choir was accompanied by Lauren and Darcy Brandenburg and

Trudy Fraase accompanied one piece on the oboe. Jamestown hosted 101 singers in yellow shirts from 20 different schools! Perhaps a record?! Peggy Bartunek was a “rookie” site coordinator at brand new site, Grafton High School. Grafton hosted 65 students from 10 schools who enjoyed working with guest conductor, Charlette Moe. The yellowshirted festival choir was accompanied on the piano by Connie Sjostrom and Anne Presting beautifully played a violin part for “Pacem”. “The students responded wonderfully to Char,” says Peggy. “She is so good with children.” B r u c e S o u t h a r d hosted 37 children from 5 schools who worked with g u e s t conductor, Larae Dykema at Dickinson High School. Bruce reports that the venue was wonderful with very helpful DHS contacts, Michael Stevenson and Mark Rerick.“ The festival choir was accompanied on the piano by Jameson Varpness Leftridge. Mariah Wilz of DSU played flute for “Pacem”, and Jana Schweigert played the additional hands at the piano for “Ton Thé”. Cantabile (Central Dakota Children’s Choir – Dickinson’s first ensemble) made a guest performance at the concert. “Laurae did an amazing job with the students and there was a noticeable difference in the quality of tone by the concert!” shared Bruce. Bruce will not be

able to serve as site coordinator next year, so we are looking for a new coordinator. Rebecca Raber conducted the SSIS festival held at Underwood Public Schools. Heidi Quinn generously stepped in as site coordinator once it was apparent that Minot would be unable to host the festival following the devastating flooding. 42 singers from 7 schools proudly wore their purple SSIS t-shirts in concert. Janine Johannes served as piano accompanist. Heidi Quinn played the second piano part for “Ton Thé” and Kristin Allan played a violin part for “Pacem”. Feedback from sponsoring teachers included: “The children seemed to take quite well to Mrs. Raber. I think they really enjoyed all her ‘toys!’ What a great idea for a visual on how to properly sing!!” Another teacher shared, “What a great day in Underwood. You treated us like royalty! Rebecca is the BEST. I'm so glad we came there. The Concert went very well. My parents really enjoyed it. This is a great gift that NDACDA gives our students!” Could we say that any better?! Congratulations to site coordinators, guest conductors and participating teachers! Thanks for all you do to foster a love for music and singing! Suggestions for future festivals and/or repertoire may be sent to Pam Burns at by February 12, 2012. It is our goal to have the repertoire for SSIS 2012 will be selected and posted on the website in March!

Developing Student Leaders Brian Saylor, Show Choirs R & S Chair Personal Experience In the last 14 years of teaching I have been an avid student of organizational improvement. One of the basic concepts in organizational improvement is leadership. If you were to come to my office and look through my professional library you would find several books relating to leadership. I believe that one of the most effective ways to enhance any organization is by developing systematic leadership among students. Building capacity for improvement in an organization directly revolves around the skills of a leader.

Defining Leadership Before I get too far, allow me to give a simple definition of what leadership is. John Maxwell says “leadership is influence.” He asserts that each and every one of us has the ability to lead by influencing others. This can be as simple as a parent and child, and as complex as a leader of a large organization. At the basic level it is all about influence. Daily we influence our students to accomplish more than they thought possible. Our job is to see and work toward a goal that is above and beyond their current reality. I believe that it is important in a classroom to have students working harder than the teacher. Teachers should be facilitators for student growth and learning. I will often say “if I am working harder than you are that is a PROBLEM.” This belief derives from a John WestBurnham quote I read many years ago. He said “Schools are places where children go to watch the adults working.” I have a personal goal every day that my students not stand around watching me work. Instead, each day we agree to work hard together, focusing on the tasks in an organized and efficient way. It is my job to organize the day, theirs to work through the sections and retain the skills and content necessary to improve. How It Works at Horizon Middle School When I came to Horizon Middle School 4 years ago, one of the things in place for the Horizon Husky Singers

(Show Choir) was a group of student leaders. These student leaders were elected by their peers to serve as the choreographers and to lead rehearsals in my absence. This group of students is traditionally called “Pirates” although I have no idea where the name came from. The first year I was at Horizon the leaders performed basic functions such as taking attendance, developing/teaching choreography, and assisting with morning rehearsals. At the end of the first year at HMS I realized how effective but under-utilized this group of Pirates were. At the beginning of the second year, I met with the Pirates and invited them to sit in on the dance auditions for Husky Singers. We created a form that they could use to evaluate the prospective students and had conversations about the quality of auditions. I do the vocal auditions and then compare my results with their results. This allows for additional input than my own, as well as helping me to make difficult “tie breaker” decisions when necessary. For the leaders, it builds a great sense of pride and ownership in the group. Very quickly they take this leadership role seriously and operate with extreme dedication. Other tasks that have been assigned to the Pirates is creating/designing T-Shirts, Picking out Ties, Deciding what kind of tights the girls will wear under dresses, how they will wear their hair, and other aesthetic items that a male choir director has little interest in. We have textmessage lists created so I can send a text to the 4 Pirates and then they text their list. This has greatly increased our attendance rates at rehearsals, as well as cutting down on the number of phone calls and texts I have to field on the day before performances. When out on tour, students in the group know that they find a Pirate first before they come find me. If it is an issue that the Pirate cannot take care of, they will come to me. This helps control the number of obnoxious and annoying “where do we go next” type questions.

Developing Student Leaders These leaders have also become my compass for the group. They know what the general consensus is from the group, are aware of morale, and have an open invitation to bring these issues to my attention. When questions arise among their peers they can either answer them, or let me know so I can clarify in the next rehearsal. They also are my biggest defenders with other students. They understand the “why” in the major decisions of the group. We meet regularly before school and during homebase. Most of the time they beg to stay and work on show choir during homebase. Practical Suggestions If you are considering starting a group of leaders I would encourage you to start small. It is always easier to give more responsibilities as you feel student leaders are ready for them, then take them away if they are not able to accomplish your goals. When choosing leaders, choose carefully, nothing is more detrimental to an organization than a group of leaders who are working against the agreed upon goals. Student leaders need to have the respect of their peers and the ability to effectively accomplish tasks with minor assistance. I hold veto power and final say in any student selected for this role. Fortunately, I have not had to remove a Pirate, however, I would easily do that to protect the group. It is important to give the students responsibilities that they are capable of. Check their progress often. Be clear with your expectations, set regular meetings, and have a clear timeline that will track progress. When you delegate responsibilities you have to be willing to allow the students to work within set guidelines, without micro-managing their progress. There is a difficult balance here that I am still working to find. Remember that Mark Twain once remarked that great things can happen when you don’t care who gets the credit. Conclusion I am confident that developing the capacity for leadership in students is the most effective way to accomplish the goals in an auditioned choir. Creating a systematic way for students to be directly involved in the organization is paramount to its success. There is an old saying that “iron sharpens iron.” This refers to the days when they would use two swords together to sharpen each other. The current and past Prates have made me better at what I do. As your leaders develop, your team gets stronger. When your team gets stronger, everyone wins.

Tips from a New Teacher Ryan Whipple, Ethnic/Multicultural Music R & S Chair Christmas time is a busy time of the year for just about everyone, but even more so for musicians. As teachers we prepare and present countless concerts, small group performances, personal performances and more. I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season, and were able to find some time to relax. The reason for this article is to provide new (and not so new) teachers with some tips for making our lives just a little bit easier. How are you going to handle the management of your classroom? Set your boundaries with your students on day one. You want to be sure that your students know exactly what is expected of them from the beginning. There are all sorts of things that will come up that you need a rule or procedure for. Some of these situations include entering and leaving class, when it is acceptable for your students to talk and concert attendance. If your students know exactly how they should behave in class, at concerts and on trips, management problems will be minimal. Can the students have water in your classroom? My students may have water in a clear, spill proof bottle. You will want to check your school’s policy on beverages in class. If your students are not allowed to have drinks in classes talk with your administration. Let them know how important staying hydrated is for all students, but especially singers. How much are you going to expect from your students? Expect the very best from your student every time they come to class. High expectations breed high results. Students may not like some of the

challenging music that your give them at first, but they will love it when they can finally perform it. On a personal note, one of my biggest pet peeves is hearing students say, “I hate this song.” I always reply with a phrase that I heard not long ago from college professor Dr. Mike Compton, “You are not allowed to hate the song until you can sing it perfectly.” How are you planning on communicating with parents, teachers and students? Communication is the key to a successful music program. There are countless times when you will need to visit with colleagues about the use of their facilities. If your concerts take place in the school gym, you’ll need to make sure that the physical education teachers know that you need the gym. In a d d i t i o n , administrators, janitors and coaches may need to know. Make sure everyone knows your schedule so they have time to make accommodations to any plans they had. When you deal with communication to students, have a set time every rehearsal that you make announcements. I make my announcements right away, and if something is especially important, I also write it on the board so that the students can see it through the entire rehearsal. At the beginning of each year, the parents of my students sign an acknowledgement form stating that they have read my handbook and understand my policies and procedures. This helps me deal with any issues that may come up. At the bottom of the form, parents give me their e-mail address to which I send

an occasional newsletter. I call my newsletter MusicNotes, and often include my weekly schedule, upcoming events, important announcements, music trivia and most importantly Music Advocacy. How thick is your skin? You need to understand from the beginning that you are not going to be able to make everyone happy all the time. I used to get offended when students told me that they did not like something that I selected. Now I understand that they may not have liked that song, but I know they learned something while rehearsing it, and hopefully they liked another song that we performed. A mentality that I developed recently is that my job is not to try to please everyone. My job is to teach my students about music and to make them the best singers that I can. Of course, I always try to have as much fun as possible while doing so. What do you know about your students? Knowing the likes and dislikes of your students will help you to develop teaching techniques tailored to them. At each concert I like to have at least one song that the students enjoy. Sometimes it is a new pop tune or holiday song, but the students always look forward to rehearsing these and LOVE performing them. I hope that you have found something useful here that you can use in your choirs. The tips above are things that I have found to help me have the best time possible teaching my students. Find some time that you can spend just to yourself. Read a book or watch a movie, but remember that teaching is all about the kids! If you keep their best interests in mind, you cannot go wrong!

Jamestown High School will be hosting a Show Choir Festival on March 16th at Jamestown High School. Valley City High School and Jamestown High School have been sharing a concert for Show Choirs. We would like to invite other show choirs from around the state to join the festival. There is no competition involved. It is simply a time to share our talents with others who also enjoy singing and dancing in combination.

Please contact Cheryl McIntyre for more details!

Educating the next generation of outstanding musicians.

Dr. Tom Porter Director of Choral Activities Katherine Henjum Associate Professor of Music, Voice Contact the U-Mary Music Department to learn more: 800-408-6279, ext. 8301

The University of Mary Music Department is defined by a commitment to excellence. Vocal music students have the opportunity to study Concert Choir, Vocal Jazz, Vocal Arts Ensemble, Chamber Choir, Musical Theater, and Private and Class Voice Lessons. Performance ensembles are open to all students. Students from other disciplines mix with music majors to create a diverse and welcoming community. For more information on student ensembles, click here. Scholarships opportunities to music majors and minors and ensemble participants. For more information on student scholarships, click here.


Are you a new teacher, or someone that would like a few fresh ideas to work into your classroom? Contact the NDACDA president to be connected with a veteran teacher to mentor you!


DAVID BRUNNER has been chosen by the Commission Committee to compose a new piece for the 2013 NDACDA Junior High All State Mixed Choir. He will also serve as conductor for the honor choir festival. We look forward to 2013!

News Flash!

North Dakota ACDA will offer a total of $2000 to the four Minot school music departments that sustained damage due to the spring/summer flooding. We wish you well in 2011-12!



Don’t forget to recruit new members to our organization! We want to make our organization a vital and living resource to all of our state’s teachers.! If you know someone who should be a NDACDA member, please refer them to the President or Membership Chair.

From the Other Side of the Table Anne Christopherson, Guest Column ...An Adjudicator's View Thinking back to my first solo singing competition as a kid (jr. high school choral festival) I remember being excited to show off what I could do with my voice. I don’t remember fear or struggle. I had no idea I was supposed to be learning anything. Ah, ignorance is bliss, is it not? I still get excited to perform but a lack of thorough preparation will always prevent me from enjoying the experience as much as I’d like. I get distracted by the fear of making a mistake. And, while fear can certainly be an effective motivator, it doesn’t always inspire me to give an effective performance. I think we can all agree that if we are performing as a soloist or in an ensemble or as a conductor, preparation largely contributes to our ability to give a successful performance. I hope the following thoughts will give you a new perspective on repertoire selection for your students; a sometimes daunting task. As an adjudicator I enjoy seeing and hearing young singers sing all day. I guess I’m just a music geek. But, as I understand it, my job is to appreciate and encourage them regardless of their inherent talent or level of development. Teachers and adjudicators are on the same team, providing the most successful learning experience for the young singer. While I am observing a young singer, I assess technical assurance, musical accuracy and performance effectiveness. The level of proficiency in each area gives me a sense of their inherent ability as well as the level of skill they’ve accomplished thus far in their musical training. NDHSAA Music Regulations state my task rather succinctly: fidelity to the music and to sound musical concepts. Allow me to elaborate further: 1.Technical Assurance a. balanced and receptive body alignment, b. efficient breath management, c. a clear and consistent tone throughout the range of the melody, d. centered intonation, e. fluid legato line and flexibility, and f. a relaxed and consistent vibrato. 2. Musical Accuracy a. the correct rhythms, pitches and lyrics, b. clear diction, c. execution of phrasing (grammatical and musical), and d. adherence to the score markings (articulation, dynamics, et al). 3. Effective performance a. sincere and vibrant engagement with and understanding of the lyrics as indicated in their eyes, facial gestures and overall body language.

One of the significant tasks for a teacher of voice is the preparation of their students for festivals, competitions, juries, and auditions. Since each student responds to deadline and performance pressure differently and possesses different strengths and weaknesses it can be a challenge to find the right repertoire. The song I choose should expand their technical and musical skills but it should also build performance confidence. I think any ensemble director or applied teacher strives to facilitate the highest level of performance while providing enough challenges to encourage the growth of young musicians. A teacher’s challenge is to choose repertoire that meets the student at their current level of technical capability, musical sophistication, personality and life experience yet, doesn’t insult their intelligence. While I’m sure this observation may not be ‘news’ to many of us, I think larger truths bear repeating. So, the difficulty level of a song is determined by the amount of complexity or difficulty of several components. What components should we assess when choosing solo vocal repertoire? 1. Melody 2. Accompaniment 3. Harmony & Rhythm 4. Text & Subject Matter A melody with a good ‘hook’ will shorten the amount of time it takes a young singer to learn it. An accompaniment that doubles the vocal line from time to time boosts their confidence. Straight-forward diatonic harmony and rhythmic patterns allow the young singer to be more secure technically and give a more engaging performance. A set of English lyrics that ‘speak’ to a younger adult’s life experience can allow for greater musical and dramatic expression. I’ve often found that if a young singer is struggling it is because one or more of these components is too challenging. The easier the song, the greater the degree of success. As I was researching a presentation for the South Dakota In-State Music Conference I came across the website containing the repertoire list for the Wisconsin School Music Association: http:// I appreciated how they assessed the difficulty level of repertoire.

Class C a. The first solo experience for students. b. Approximately 2-3 years of instruction. c. I interpret this to mean instruction within the context of an ensemble. Class B a. Suitable for students in grades 8-12 with developing musical skills. b. This supports a fairly wide range of difficulty given the range of ages that exists between grades 8-12. Class A a. Students with the most advanced skills.

I think we can infer that these “Classes” are not restricted to any specific age. Students come and go and young females tend to start earlier and stay in music longer than young males. There’s a nice amount of “wiggle room” within each of these classes. For example, the typical female 9th-grader might be more technically & musically confident than the typical male 9th-grader. I might choose a more difficult song for the young woman than the young man. That being said, I would still err on the side of caution in order to ensure they are able to work within the range of their current level of ability. To me, it’s about meeting them where they are and ensuring the greatest level of overall success. In preparation for something like the NDHSAA festival I imagine that the teacher is beset with many goals to achieve for ensembles, small ensembles and soloists. Preparation time for the student is often limited and other academic and extracurricular commitments vie for their energy and attention. Please find here in The Chorister, links to an ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY of some anthologies and their songs' difficulty levels as defined by the Wisconsin School Music Association. I hope that you will find new repertoire ideas that will interest you while engaging your students in new ways. Anne Christopherson, D.M.A., is Associate Professor of Voice at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. While on developmental leave in New York City she taught on the faculty of NYU Steinhardt as well as freelanced as a performer, teacher & coach. She has received acclaim for her performances in different vocal genres. She is in demand as a performer, teacher, musical director, adjudicator and clinician locally, regionally, and nationally. She is very active in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) and is currently serves as a national board member and as the national Vice President of Membership.

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Jamestown High School Show Choir

Red River Velvatones

Shanley Choirs & FM Area Youth Symphony

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NDSU Madrigal Dinner, 2011

VCSU Singers, 2011

BSC Women’s Ensemble

NDACDA Chorister Winter Issue, 2012  

NDACDA Chorister Winter Issue, 2012

NDACDA Chorister Winter Issue, 2012  

NDACDA Chorister Winter Issue, 2012