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American Choral Directors Association

Vision for the 21st Century

ACDA for the Twenty-First Century-A Statement by ACDA Executive Director Tim Sharp Dr. Tim Sharp

The American Choral Directors Association enters the first decade of the new millennium at the age of 50. What are we going to become as a mature, twenty-first century choral organization? As we celebrate our 50th anniversary this year, our grand celebration includes our collective look to the future. The following is an outline of my vision for ACDA in the twenty-first century. I ask for your response and your intelligent, creative methods for helping us get there.

I envision a twenty-first century ACDA that utilizes the full extent of technological communication and other technologies for the benefit of our membership.

Every choral subgroup has specific and unique choral needs. These begin with repertoire and standards, but continue in many more specific ways. Repertoire & Standards areas (choir types) are not simply our domain or special interest, but rather, theyare the very core reason why we engage in the choral art and profession. Going forward, through working together and through our own creation and development, ACDA will be available for you throughout the day, every day. Pedagogical resources, demonstrations, master classes, networking and communication, inspiration, local and international choirs, musical publications and resources all of these and more will be a click away from our membership and your unique attachment to ACDA.

I envision a twenty-first century ACDA that establishes the opportunity for every child in the United States to sing in a choir.

We have new research that continues to support the fact that music forms an important piece of a child's education and development (see to download the Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition: Learning, Arts, and the Brain). We know choral singing has the fewest barriers for entry of any music-making and music-teaching opportunity. Further, there is not one area in ACDA that will not benefit directly from every initiative we take in this direction. ACDA has an advocacy statement poised to take us in this direction.

I envision a twenty-first century ACDA that becomes fully engaged in world choral initiatives.

ACDA is a founding and active member of the International Federation for Choral Music. There are IFCM programs and member benefits that can help any ACDA member connect with the world. To adapt architect Louis Kahn's statement, choral music "begins with the immeasurable, moves through the measurable, and returns to the immeasurable." One aspect of this "immeasurable" is the beauty, peace, harmony, and common human spirit possible through choral music, and a way we "measure" those ideals is our connection with the world choral community.

I envision a twenty-first century ACDA that sets the research and publication agenda for the best thinking, past and present, in choral music.

Through the richness of our membership and the institutions with which we work, and through our own past initiatives, partners, and staff, the robust nature of our inquiry will become a resource to the world choral community through our strong choral research and publication agenda. We will set the agenda, and we will provide a plan to make resources available in the various ways that people need and locate information.

You can hear more of my thoughts on this topic by listening to Philip L. Copeland's ChoralNet Podcast here.

There is a place for every member and future member of ACDA in this vision. I would like to hear your considered thoughts and amplification of methods to achieve this vision by inviting you to e-mail me.

Source: Choral Journal, April 2008