Moody Music Building David Mandt Interest Session Professional Development at Lunch Clinician Interest Sessions In the Recital Hall

Alabama ACDA Summer Conference

Our Alabama Choral Directors Association Summer Conference will return to the campus of The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Monday and Tuesday, July 18-19, 2022. Please mark your calendars to reflect these dates. The conference will include much of what we return for year after year: guest clinicians, interest sessions by Alabama choral directors, reading sessions that encompass all ACDA Repertoire & Resources (R&R) areas, food, fellowship, and fun.

NAfME Members: Alabama ACDA will cover new ACDA membership for AVA (Alabama Vocal Association) members who are attending the summer conference for the first time. Include a completed ACDA Membership Form with your registration.

All attendees are invited to a Monday evening pre-concert social from 5:15-7:15pm. The annual after-concert Karaoke Fest will follow the concert. Come share your talent, or just come and (tastefully) criticize everyone else’s!

Reserve Your Stay We have reserved rooms at the premier hotel in Tuscaloosa, Hotel Capstone, at reduced rates. Group rates will be available now through June 17. Click Here to reserve your room.

Summer Conference

  • When:July 18-19, 2022
  • Where:Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Who:All ACDA Members


Register Now Conference Program Schedule At-A-Glance

Guest Clinicians

  • Chris Munce
    Lee's Summit High School
  • Martha Shaw
    Reinhardt University


Mr. Chris Munce

Lee's Summit High School

Dr. Martha Shaw

Reinhardt University

Harris Gessner

Alabama Voices

Guest Clinician Interest Sessions

Session 1: Practical Session: "Everyone CAN get an A, not everyone will."
In music education, we frequently lament cultural attitudes about music not being a "real class." Well, sadly, much of this is on us. If we present courses without rigor, academic standards, or measurable achievements, we are walking right into that criticism. But, there is where we run into tension. Our jobs are dependent on enrollment numbers. If we make the grading more rigorous, many teachers fear, then kids will quit. In my experience, this is the opposite of what happens, provided that every student, regardless of "talent", can get an A. Join me as I outline my philosophy on program building through increased standards and rigor.

Session 2: Philosophical Session: "Maximizing Your Choir Means Maximizing YOU."
"Who am being that my students' eyes are not shining?" -Benjamin Zander. How often do we as educators buy into new educational fads, systems, or methods, only to discover that not much has changed? How many PD sessions do we attend in which we whisper to our neighbor about how detached from reality it is? It is so common in education that it is almost a given at this point. I believe that this is partially pervasive because no one wants to swallow the bitter pill that we are our own biggest hurdle in the classroom. As a result, we turn to external sources first. I believe it has to start in the first person.

Session 3: Discussion Session: "Why Do We Even Do This?"
Attendees should come ready to discuss! I will lead a discussion session with a few short insertions for the group to chew on, and be challenged by. But mostly, we will discuss our educational philosophies. Why do we do what we do? What is the role of choral music in the community, in education, in churches and in the broader culture. Maybe you will come away with a NEW philosophy.

Session 1: Programming Framework for Meaningful Performances
The magic of performance begins with the spark of thoughtful literature selection. Establishing a successful framework is just the beginning. Then the real fun begins. What inspires you? Themes? The latest big piece? Your favorite composers? Once the framework is in place, you can start with what you love and build a program that truly speaks to your audience!

Session 2: Expressive Singing: Methods that Work
What is “expressive enough?” Well, did you feel anything? How about your singers and your audience? The power to communicate starts with intent. It begins with focused programming, and is realized through singers who are taught to recognize and demonstrate meaning in the text. Syllabic inflection, phrasing, facial expression, and visualization are all part of building an ensemble that comes from the heart of the singer and reaches the soul of those who listen.

Session 3: Re-building after COVID: A New Measure for Success
It looks different. It feels different. How do we build a choral community that has the grace and compassion to help each other as we pick up the pieces from the last two and a half years? It begins with showing grace to ourselves and our own students balanced with demonstrating the courage to forge ahead. No two programs are the same, and many of our struggles are unique. All of us will benefit from the encouragement of our colleagues in this uplifting session.

Alabama Voices is a statewide premier community chorus which is comprised of music educators and adults with extensive choral experience. It is a choir with the belief that Alabama deserves the absolute highest quality choral excellence. The objectives of the choir are to provide an outlet for adults to continue with their own musical learning and artistic expression, to promote choral learning and engage with communities through performance of the highest level, to provide concerts that feature a variety of repertoire that spans all time periods and styles, and to promote young Alabama choristers to continue their choral education through the collegiate level.

Come, Let's Rejoice - John Amner (1579-1641)
I'll Make Music - Karl Jenkins (b. 1944)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Bryan Sharpe (b. 1989)
Earth Song - Frank Ticheli (b. 1958)
I Sing Because - Will Todd (b. 1970)
Let All the World in Every Corner Sing - Ralph Vaughn Williams (1872-1958)

Established in 2022, the Montevallo Choral Society is founded on a reputation of artistic excellence. Consisting of highly skilled singers, the chorus seeks to inspire audiences through rich and diverse repertoire. The Montevallo Choral Society, for which Melinda Doyle serves as the music and artistic director, is housed at the University of Montevallo. In addition to achieving the highest level of choral artistry, MCS seeks to incorporate educational outreach and community enrichment as a part of its mission. Upcoming performances include the Alabama American Choral Directors Association Summer Conference as well as concerts in the throughout the Southeast region.

A Jubilant Song, Norman Dello Joio (1913-2008)
O Radiant Dawn, James MacMillian (b. 1959)
Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, Kantate BWV 131, Johann Sebastian Bach, (1685-1750)
I. Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir
I Will Lift Mine Eyes, Jake Renestad (b. 1986)
How do I love thee?, Eric Nelson (b. 1959)
I Don’ Feel No Ways Tired, arr. Stacey V. Gibbs (b. 1962)
Deep River, Roy Ringwald, (1910-1995)

Guest Clinician Bios

Mr. Chris Munce is an accomplished choral performer, conductor, educator, clinician and arts administrator. As a performer/conductor he is a member of Kantorei KC, as well as its founder and Artistic Director. Under Mr. Munce’s direction, Kantorei has recorded and published three albums, and has been an invited featured performer at National and State ACDA conventions as well as the National American Guild of Organists convention. At Lee’s Summit High, Mr. Munce has lead his choirs to performances at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC, the Missouri Music Educators Convention, Alice Tulley Hall at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and on aMasterclass with the multiple Grammy Award winning vocal group Chanticleer. Most recently, his school district awarded him with its “Excellence in Teaching” award for 2019.

Media reviews of his directed recordings with Kantorei KC include praise from the KC Star for “Music and Sweet Poetry” for its “lush and full bodied sound…gorgeous singing.” The Observer (London) called “To Bethlehem” one of the best Choral albums of the year and “the most interestingna festive album.” He has also performed with the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers, and the Grammy Winning Kansas City Chorale. Chris was fortunate to be a part of the Chorale’s Grammy Nominated album, “Rheinberger: Sacred Choral Works.”

Chris received a Bachelor’s of Music Education and a Master’s Degree in Choral Conducting from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. His graduate research focus was the performance practice of early Baroque choral singing in the French and Italian styles. Chris has studied with Eph Eely, Charles Robinson, Ryan Board, William Dehning, Peter Bagley and Jerry McCoy. He also served as adjunct faculty at the Conservatory teaching choral arranging, and at Blue River Community College as a professor of voice.

He has been an active private voice instructor since 1999. Last year Chris launched the Choralosophy Podcast which has quickly become a top rated Fine Arts Podcast reaching the top 25 on the iTunes charts in the US. Chris is married to Beth, a soprano and voice teacher. They live in Lee’s Summit, Missouri with their two children, Clara (13) and Colin (10).

Since coming to Reinhardt University in fall 2012, Dr. Martha Shaw has led the University’s choral programs to new heights of excellence, just as she did in her previous position at another Georgia university and in her role as artistic director of Spivey Hall Children’s Choir Program.

This spring Dr. Shaw received the Reinhardt University United Methodist Exemplary Teaching Award. The award, voted on by her faculty colleagues throughout the University, goes to a faculty member who exemplifies excellence in teaching; civility and concern for students and colleagues; commitment to values-centered education; and, service to students, the institution and the community.

A graduate of Shorter College (BME), University of Tennessee (MS) and the University of South Carolina (DMA in Conducting), Martha Shaw is a highly regarded clinician and guest conductor through the U.S. and around the world.

Harris Gessner is a native of North Alabama, where he now serves as Choir Director of James Clemens High School (Madison) and Minister of Music at Weatherly Heights Baptist Church (Huntsville). He holds a BME in Vocal Studies from Auburn University and a Master's in Choral Conducting from Emory University. His experience comes from both teaching in schools, working in music ministries, and remaining an active tenor soloist. He is extremely honored to be serving as the Artistic Director of Alabama Voices, and is driven by the sole focus that our state deserves our strongest efforts to keep choral excellence alive and well!

Melinda Doyle is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Montevallo, where she conducts the Concert Choir, University Chorus and teaches undergraduate courses in choral conducting and choral methods. Dr. Doyle received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in choral conducting under the tutelage of Dr. Kenneth Fulton, with a related field of orchestral conducting from Louisiana State University. Her previous appointments have included Visiting Choral Director at Tulane University, Visiting Director of Choral Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University, Director of Music and Worship at University United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, Director of Music at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Baton Rouge, Director of Choirs at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church and Director of Choral Activities at Howard W. Blake Performing Arts High School, both in Tampa, Florida. Choirs under Dr. Doyle’s direction have offered invitational performances for the American Choral Directors Association Conference, Alabama Music Educators Association Conference, Florida Music Educators Association Conference, Alabama Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra as well as some of the finest performance venues throughout Europe. In summer 2015, she led the University of Montevallo Concert Choir on its inaugural European tour with multiple concerts in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Vienna. In summer 2018, they embarked on their second international tour to the United Kingdom and France and performed at such venues as King’s College in Cambridge, Canterbury Cathedral and the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. More recently, the Concert Choir made its New York Carnegie Hall debut in a featured performance under her direction for the 2019 Gotham Sings Choral and Ensemble Showcase. Frequently in demand as a clinician and adjudicator, she has conducted honor choirs at all levels. Currently serving at the Alabama ACDA President, she served as the Repertoire and Standards Chair for College and University Choirs for the Alabama American Choral Director Association (ACDA) and also served in the same capacity as the High School Repertoire and Standards Chair for the Florida ACDA. Dr. Doyle remains an active member of the American Choral Directors Association, National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), Alabama Music Educators Association (AMEA), and Florida Music Educators Association (FMEA). Dr. Doyle is also the music and artistic director of the Montevallo Choral Society.