Issue 28 • Fall 2020
In This Issue: Renascent—Rising Again To Ease Up or Double Down? Time for Self-Care What’s in the Folder? The Official Publication of the North Dakota Chapter
of the American Choral Directors Association www.ndacda.com | 1
North Dakota ACDA Leadership Cheryl McIntyre, president, Jamestown High School Dean Jilek, president-elect, University of North Dakota Rebecca Raber, past president, University of Mary Sheldon Weltz, treasurer
North Dakota Repertoire and Resources Committee Repertoire-Specific Coordinator: Tom Porter, University of Mary Men’s Choirs: Tom Porter Women’s Choirs: Lauren Brandenburg, Fargo South HS/Eielson MS Vocal Jazz: Mike Seil, Bismarck Legacy High School Showchoir: Connie Stordalen, Horizon Middle School Ethnic/Multicultural Music: Phillip Voeller, Beulah Middle/High School
Youth Coordinator: Sarah Barnum, Discovery Middle School Children and Community: Brady Gudgel, Mandan Middle School Middle School/Junior High:
Lacey Hanson, Center-Stanton Public School Samantha Steffan Senior High School: Brian Saylor, Bismarck High School
Collegiate Coordinator: Chris Redfearn, Valley City State University Youth College/University: Chris Redfearn Student Activities: Melanie Popejoy, University of North Dakota
Life-Long Coordinator: Sara Lichtblau, Fargo South High School Community Choirs: Sarah Barnum Music in Worship:
Traditional: Vicky Boechler, St. Mary’s High School, Contemporary: Sara Lichtblau Brent Rogers, Dickinson State University Editor and Designer, The Chorister firstname.lastname@example.org 2 | The Chorister • Winter 2019
Contents From the President
Cheryl McIntyre, Jamestown High School Renascent
Dean Jilek, University of North Dakota To Ease Up or Double Down
Brent Rogers, Dickinson State University Bypassing “I Don’t Have Time” for Self-Care
Samantha Steffan, MS/Jr. High Co-Chair What’s In the Folder?
Matt Goettle, Dickinson High School
Visit NDACDA online at ndacda.com, or by clicking below.
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From the President
ello to my fellow music teachers, my inspiration, my heroes! This has been such a challenging spring and fall and I have the privilege of working with some of the most creative people ever. During the spring, most teachers were learning the "ins and outs" of online instruction in order to offer a viable education to their students. We have such varying situations that there is not a "One Size Fits All" answer during this pandemic. Many teachers spent their summer researching and accumulating strategies to use in case this pandemic persisted into the school year. That brings us to the present. I am so pleased that the North Dakota ACDA members look to each other for support and assistance in times like these. We held three planning discussions with teachers to allow teachers to share different strategies they were planning with their administration to make their music programs run as smoothly as possible this fall. These discussions focused on the importance of staying in contact with your building administration to make them aware of the importance of music and social emotional development of students. In addition, we need to help in planning so that we have needed supplies such as masks, additional music and instruments since sharing is discouraged, adequate or alternative rehearsal spaces, proper ventilation and air exchange, and amplification for speaking through masks to name just a few areas of concern. Several suggestions that were shared included: 1. Asking our communities to assist in funding air purifiers 2. Creating a student activity kit for use at home 3. Creative seating, such as using hula hoops for each child in your class to sit in during general music
4. Methods for communicating with students and parents 5. Finding new and creative strategies to keep students engaged both in person and during online learning NDACDA has added Patick McGuire to the NDACDA Board as a newly created "Young Professionals Chair" to work specifically with young teachers or new teachers to North Dakota. He and Lacey Hanson have been staying in contact with the new teachers that have been identified. An additional meeting was held this summer to connect these teachers with each other. Please let us know if there are others who should be contacted from your school or surrounding areas. We want to offer our 4 | The Chorister â€˘ Winter 2019
support to these young teachers and to give them a voice in our organization.
We still have a couple free memberships to give away to new members as part of our Sing Up Membership Drive. Please contact Rebecca Raber if you would like to offer this to someone who is new to ACDA. If you are dealing with financial hardships that may affect your membership, please contact myself or Rebecca Raber. NDACDA continues to offer opportunities to students and teachers in the safest way possible. "Surround the State in Song" has been postponed until the spring in the hopes of creating a safer environment for our young singers. Middle Level Honor Choir audition results will be out in a few weeks. We will continue to monitor the situation and offer enrichment opportunities to these very deserving students. We are currently planning for our state convention for Feb. 5th and 6th. I would ask that if you have someone you would like to nominate for "Choral Director of the Year" or "New Choral Director Award" that you find the easy-to-use forms on our NDACDA website under "FORMS". Note that each award requires a nomination letter and a letter of support. This process has been made simpler throughout the past several years. Thank you all of you for going the extra mile to make lifelong experiences for your students. Stay connected, take care of yourselves and your families, and give yourself the proper credit for the amazing work that you do. Our students need music education now as much as ever.
Cheryl McIntyre Jamestown MS/HS NDACDA President
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“rising again into being” • The Themed Concert
reetings my friends,
Throughout my career, music colleagues from around the nation, especially within the state of North Dakota, have deeply inspired me. The leadership within every one of you has helped this organization and our schools create a map with a direction that ensures the education of our students is dynamic, exciting, and inspiring. Even more, your management skills are guiding our students through this pandemic and because of you, they are rising to the challenge. While preparing for a new school year, especially under the current pandemic, I pose this question, “How can the music I choose to teach be inspiring for others and myself?” The latter part of this question is the most important. Yes, it may sound selfish, but I assure you it is not. I must be inspired to inspire. If I am inspired, I will provide the students more than music itself, but vulnerability, hope, and direction.
One of the beauties of our profession is the music! How often do we find a piece that is dynamic, exciting, and inspiring, so much so, that it moves us to tears or brings us hope and direction. Furthermore, there exists a plethora of repertoire to provide inspiration. This past summer I heard that song which inspired my programming, Lighten the Darkness by Ben Parry. It was perfect timing in light of the pandemic. With every find, I think about the direction I want the piece to take me and what I want to teach the students and community. This creates a guide, a theme. A theme can be as simple as Love and Shakespeare, Even Song, or as curious as Sacred and Profane. A theme for one of my fall performances is “Renascent.” It’s different, interesting, and it makes me ask, “what does it mean?” Merriam-Webster defines it as “rising again into being or vigor.” Once the theme was set, my search for repertoire began! With every theme there are pieces that provide inspiration by means of history, lyrics, and musical beauty. And sometimes we may find a song with all three elements, which becomes the star of the program. Even though my star was Lighten the Darkness, the hardworking staff at Poppler’s Music discovered that it has yet to be published! This happens, and sometimes the song that sparks my research is left out of the program. It may not fit the program tonally or the overall direction of the coinciding repertoire has changed. Another element to the program is the flow and meaning of the text. This “Renascent” program consisted of a mixture of chronologi6 | The Chorister • Winter 2019
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cal order and the message of struggle, prayer, light, and direction.
1. “Elijah Rock” arranged by Moses Hogan. Elijah was a prophet during the 9th century BC who helped protect the religion of Yahweh from being corrupted by the nature worship of Baul. 2. “Ave Maria…Virgo Serena” by Josquin des Prez. Josquin lived during the transition into the early renaissance era and was an important influence of choral music as we know it today. Bringing a new style of writing to a new era, while incorporating his own lyrics as a prayer to the Virgin Mary, O Mater Dei, Memento Mei! (O Mother of God, Remember Me!) 3. “Even When He is Silent” by Kim André Arnesen. The text is taken from a poem originating on a wall at Auschwitz, “I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. I believe in love, even though I don't feel it. I believe in God, even when he is silent.” It speaks for itself. 4. “O Lux Beatissima” by Howard Helvey. O Beautiful Light. I felt this piece begins the answer of Josquin’s prayer and the solidification of the poem Even When He is Silent that his belief has not gone empty. 5. “The Road Home” by Stephen Paulus. This final piece spoke to me. Although this pandemic has placed numerous burdens in my life, it also provided a blessing in disguise. My blessing is my family, at home, that I have neglected due to work and the day to day busyness of life. I was fortunate to be given the time to connect with the beautiful people close to me! “Rise up, follow me, come away is the call, with love in your heart as the only song. There is no such beauty as where YOU belong.” What you provide for your students, family, and friends is beauty, and it is where you belong. Thank you for your continued service to society through your vocation to music. Rise again, my friends, into being, with vigor!
Dean Jilek University of North Dakota NDACDA President-Elect
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To Ease Up or Double Down? Thoughts on Teaching in High-Stress Situations
e’re now nearly eight months into the first global pandemic in over a century, and it seems safe to say that nearly everybody on the planet is functioning at higher stress levels than they were before the pandemic started. As teachers, we are in a particularly challenging situation, and even more so as music teachers: we teach an art form that basically amount to vigorous breathing in large groups—not exactly the ideal thing to be doing when respiratory droplets are the best way to spread this virus. So it’s rough, and we’re all coping in different ways. And here at the outset, I think it’s important to say that whatever you’re doing to get by right now is good enough. As musicians, we tend to be perfectionists, but this is one of those situations in which perfectionism can be a huge barrier to success rather than an asset. If we insist on the same procedures and outcomes that we pursued prior to March of 2020, we are going to be immensely frustrated. So step one in coping with COVID-19 as a music educator must be to give ourselves permission to do things differently and look for new solutions to problems. This will necessarily involve errors and less-than-ideal attempts at everything we do. When people try new things, nobody does it perfectly the first time. Especially for those of us who have been very successful at our jobs for many years, this has been and will continue to be difficult. So, this is the big question: do we ease up or double down? Do we expect less of ourselves and our students, or expect the same and require them and ourselves to work harder to get there? I think the answer is “yes,” or in other words: both. We ease up where it makes sense to ease up, and double down on the things that are most important, but do so in a way that preserves our and our students’ sanity.
Let’s think of some examples. Do we double down on our attendance policy during a pandemic? No way. While we all know that attendance at every rehearsal is critical to an ensemble’s success, it’s not reasonable to expect students to have the same attendance right now that they did before. Now, maybe we can get creative and count virtual attendance via Zoom or some other platform, but there are a whole host of issues involved there that you all know about at least as well as I do. The moral of the story: be flexible with how and how often the students attend. Ease up. What about skill building? Do we ease up here? I think we absolutely shouldn’t. We’ll need to be creative with what skills we choose to work on and how, but excelwww.ndacda.com | 9
lent music educators are always working on skills. Which ones you work on will depend strongly on the current format of your teaching. If you’re 100% online, vocal technique is going to be tough to work on. But basic literacy is more feasible. There are lots of worksheets and other teaching materials online that can assist you with this. Bottom line: figure out what skills you can successfully teach in your current format, and double down on your commitment to teaching those skills in the best way you can under the circumstances. There are a whole host of issues that we could discuss, but I think you all know better than I what your particular situation demands. Once we start thinking in terms of where to ease up and where to stay the course, it becomes clear pretty quickly. It seems to me that the key to successful music education during the COVID-19 pandemic is to focus on effort, not on outcomes. Are you giving the best you can give to this situation? If so, let that be enough. If not, ask yourself why. In doing so, maybe you’ll realize that you are giving your best, but your best looks different right now. That can be very frustrating, but it’s an important realization. What about your students? Are they giving their best? If not, why? Again, maybe they are, but their best just looks different now. Said another way: can you and/or your students reasonably do more right now? I submit that the answer is probably “no.” That student that is slouching and glaring instead of standing and singing may be experiencing the most stressful home life imaginable. As a former middle school teacher and current foster parent, I’ve learned that many, many young people deal with terrible things at home. Right now your students are super stressed, and so are their parents. Give them a break whenever you can. Beyond that, give them positive experiences that strengthen them to endure the stresses of their lives. We can always double down on teaching the right things. Prioritize technique, literacy—all the basics. When possible, confine most of the work to class time. Find fun ways to practice the skills you’re teaching them. Make class time as enjoyable and 10 | The Chorister • Winter 2019
recharging as possible—and part of that means giving them something worth having. A beautiful performance of a fantastic piece is a wonderful memory; vocal technique and musical literacy are skills that will last them a lifetime. Moreover, these are skills they can acquire whether or not they’re wearing a mask and socially distancing. Congratulations on getting this far. You’ve moved heaven and earth for your students over the last eight months, and your commitment to them is clear to anyone who is paying attention. These are indeed difficult times, but the good news is that we’re probably more than half way through. Vaccines seem to be on the horizon, and a return to a more normal way of living and teaching is the light that’s beginning to become visible at the end of the tunnel. Do your best, but don’t forget to also give yourself and your students grace. Our COVID-19 best looks different than our prepandemic best, and that’s okay. And getting through this experience successfully will help us be better equipped for the next big stress, and all the ones that will inevitably follow. If we can get through COVID-19, we can get through anything!
Brent Rogers Dickinson State University Editor and Designer, The Chorister
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“I Don’t Have Time” for Self-Care
elf-care. Mindfulness. Coping mechanisms. Mental health strategies. Chances are, if you’ve been teaching in the last few years, you’ve participated in some kind of training or initiative about one of these topics for your students. As teachers, we try to help students navigate the stress in their daily lives and find some balance, but are we applying these same practices to our own lives? Are we being good examples to our students of how to live? Are we choosing a way of living that is sustainable for a quarter, a semester, a year, a career? Self-care is different for everyone. We are extroverts, introverts, ambiverts, early birds, night owls, athletes, bookworms, adrenaline junkies, travelers, homebodies, creators, foodies, gamers, and so many other things beyond teachers and musicians. The only two requirements for a self-care activity are 1) you enjoy doing it and 2) you purposefully chose to do something for yourself. All the way from my new home in Utah, I can hear your collective, exasperated sigh: “Who has the time?! We’re teaching during Covid! We have students in person, students online, students suddenly gone for two weeks at a time! We have children and aging parents to worry about! We don’t have time to do things just for fun!” But we can’t pour from an empty pitcher, and most of us can’t take full days or weekends to completely set work aside, so we’ve got to find ways to recharge in short, frequent bursts. Self-care is a practice. Think about how we ask our students to practice outside of lessons or rehearsal. We probably would rather they spend a little time practicing every day than spend two hours the night before their lesson. We probably want them to have a goal in mind. We probably want them to practice with intention and set some boundaries. Think of the progress our students make if they set aside their devices, set a goal for a specific part of the music, and practice with intention for even 10 minutes in the morning and another 10 minutes in the evening each day. We can practice self-care the same way, even if it’s only a few minutes. A quick Google search will bring you many, many more ideas, but here’s a quick brainstorming list for how we can all start inserting some self-care activities into our days based on the time we have: (continued on p. 14) 12 | The Chorister • Winter 2019
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Five Minutes or Less
Take four deep breaths followed by long exhales Make a cup of tea or coffee Drink some water Do a guided meditation Stretch Get a little fresh air, even just stepping onto the deck during sunset Pet/play with the cat, dog, hedgehog, lizard, or whatever other pet you have Ask family members how their day is going
List 10 things you are grateful for Thirty Minutes Watch an episode of a TV show Play a video/computer/phone game Read Walk the dog Play a short game with a family member Spend some quiet alone time with the door closed One Hour Pick up doughnuts, coffee, a meal, etc. from somewhere you havenâ€™t tried or your favorite place, and enjoy it without working Play a longer game or watch a longer TV show Take a bubble bath Participate in an NDACDA check-in Zoom meeting Any Amount of Time Take a walk Watch a movie Exercise Have a healthy snack Create art 14 | The Chorister â€˘ Winter 2019
Care for a plant
Give a gift Bake or cook Video call with friends Take a day trip somewhere scenic Just like for singing, we must develop good practice habits. Schedule time to practice self-care. Set technology boundaries, especially when it comes to responding to emails and notifications from students late at night or on weekends. Donâ€™t be afraid to set a timer for the self-care practice session. Be intentional. We will be better teachers, good examples to our students, and able to live more wholly if we allow ourselves to regularly recharge.
Samantha Steffan NDACDA Middle School/Jr. High R&R Co-Chair
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What’s in the Folder? ere are a few songs that I will use every 2 or 3 years for a Christmas concert because they resonate so much with students and audiences.
“Coventry Carol” arr. Tim Harrison (SATB) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6M4kIEF3rbw The haunting melody of this piece is a hit with students. This is an a cappella arrangement with easy harmonies of open fifths and thirds and will showcase a choir’s use of dynamics.
“Do You Hear What I Hear?,” by Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne, arr. Harry Simeone. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6JW95G03G4 This is a good show opener or closer. The arrangement comes in 2 part, 3 part or SATB. The harmonies are fairly easy and it builds to a wonderful, big finish!
“Carol of the Bells” by M. Leontovich, arr. Peter J. Wilhousky https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnfb_7xKlaM I think that each choir student should have the opportunity to sing this because it’s such an iconic Holiday piece. This a-cappella arrangement is a fairly short piece that can be learned in a small amount of time. It’s a good piece to sing while caroling or singing at a function, etc. because you don’t need a piano. I’ve also done this same arrangement for SSA and it was well received.
The holiday season is full of memories and it’s fun to give the audience a gift that takes them back to a time when they were children, so I like to do pieces from Home Alone, Polar Express, or other movies. (continued on p. 18) 16 | The Chorister • Winter 2019
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“Believe,” from Polar Express, by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard, arr. Mark Hayes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlq_Y306-dI This arrangement comes in SSA, SSAB, or SATB. If you have a small men’s section, the SSAB arrangement would work well. The flowing piano and the dream-like lyrics bring a smile to anyone.
“Somewhere In My Memory,” from Home Alone, by Leslie Bricusse and John Williams arr. Mark Hayes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcVv_xbvq0Y This is such a memorable tune and carries the magic that everyone feels at Christmas time. It comes in arrangements for all voices.
“The Awakening,” by Joseph M. Martin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UXtzXyxi0w In closing, I want to mention a piece of music that would be a hit at any concert – fall, winter, or spring, or for any special occasion. Joseph M. Martin writes beautiful choir music, but the one that students talk about for years is “The Awakening.” It’s a love song about music. What would the world be like without music? Dreams, silence, heartache, and love, “The Awakening” has it all. It is an excellent closer to a concert and will bring joyful tears to an appreciative audience. The SATB arrangement is very workable as often the parts double between the soprano and tenor, and the alto and bass. Cheers!
Matt Goettle Dickinson High School
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