Repertoire Womens Choir History

History 1980-1997
According to an article on the history of the ACDA Repertoire & Standards committee structure in the September, 1994, issue of the Choral Journal (pp. 4-5), the Repertoire and Standards committee structure began with the leadership of National President, Colleen Kirk. At that time there were nine committees. When Royce Saltzman became National President, several additional committees were added and all were more clearly defined. However, there was still no committee for women's choirs. At the Western Division Convention in San Diego in 1980, Sister Sharon Breden asked Saltzman why there was no committee for women. Breden remembers that Saltzman, "... had no good reason and shortly thereafter I was asked to begin the committee!!!".

In its relatively short history the Women's Choir R&S Committee has had five chairs: Sister Sharon Breden, founding chair, (1980-1983); Lynne Bradley, (1984-88); Diane Brumley (1989- December, 1990); Patricia Hennings (December, 1990 - June, 1993) and Leslie Guelker-Cone (July 1993-June 1997).

Sister Sharon Breden remembers those first years.  "In those days, R&S really did not know what it was doing. At the first national meeting I attended, when all the National Chairs met (once every 2 years), I just have a recollection of chaos and indecision, non-support and frustration. Although the structure was set up, no one had really outlined what we were supposed to be doing. There really wasn't an infrastructure. No money, no time to meet with any quality of time or quantity of hours. It really was a "step-child" in the worst case Cinderella way! Thank God, things have improved since then."

National Report, 1984. Lynne Bradley, Chair.

Women's R&S Chair, Lynne Bradley, reported that ten women's choirs had performed at regional ACDA conventions and that three women's choir performances, as well as women choir oriented interest groups and activities had been planned for the 1985 National Convention. The concerns outlined in Bradley's report were those normal for a group just getting off the ground - communication, commitment of participants and scheduling. Ongoing objectives included better communication, identification of outstanding women's choir conductors and getting their involvement in ACDA, development of a monograph for treble literature, encouragement of programs and activities for women's choirs and their directors, more Choral Journal and division and state articles of interest to women's choir directors, recruiting of more women's choir directors, and more visibility of women's choirs at national, divisional and state conventions.

National Report, 1985. Lynne Bradley, Chair.

Bradley's 1985 annual report listed a number of women's choir programs at the National Convention in Salt Lake City. The Wheaton College Women's Choir, Mary Hopper, conductor, performed. An interest session titled "No Guts, No Glory" was presented by the WoCho from the University of Wisconsin, Gregory Vancil, conductor. Delegates particularly enjoyed a combined women's/children's reading session and a reception for women's choir directors was held, which included videotapes of four U.S. women's choirs and on from Sweden. The general plan for the women's chorus monograph was drafted and a committee was set up to review the proposal. Mary Breden devised a list of criteria for the monograph and Raymond Sprague agreed to draft a form soliciting titles for consideration. The 1987 National Convention was set as the deadline for this project's completion. James Laster has begun compiling a list of treble choirs and their directors. He also has published a Discography of Treble Voice Recordings. Ideas proposed for the 1987 National Convention included an international repertoire reading session, in conjunction with publication of American editions of one or more songs from each region, and an international repertoire list that would include publisher/distributor sources.

Finding time for ACDA work and communication were again noted by Bradley as major hurdles for all chairs at all levels. She proposed delegating some of the R&S projects mentioned above to members other than the Division Chairs. She also urged that convention interest sessions not be scheduled in competitive time slots. Mary Breden and Raymond Sprague were appointed to coordinate the monograph project.

National Report, 1986. Lynne Bradley, Chair.

This year's regional conventions featured increased participation by treble choirs. Among those listed were Central Michigan University Women's Chorus; Lorallerna from Lund, Sweden; Casper College Women's Chorale from Casper, Wyoming; Clarkston High School Advanced Women's Chorus from Clarkston, Georgia; Miami Girls Choir; Girls' 21 from Cherry Creek High School in Englewood, Colorado; and The Knightingales from Modesto, California. Bradley reported little progress on the Monograph of Literature for Women's Voices since both project directors had assumed new jobs. Dr. James Laster continues work on a national directory of women's choruses and has plans for a women's chorus newsletter. Division chairs were encouraged to continue to identify women's choirs and urge them to submit audition tapes for 1988 regional conventions. The following conductors were listed as Division chairs: Mary Hopper (Central); Beverly Taylor (Eastern), Karen Haines (North Central), Jerry Wesley Harris (North Western), Lynne Gackle (Southern), Mary Breden (Southwestern), Patricia Hennings (Western). Bradley also reported discussion of proposed change that would have each state president take over the appointment of the state Repertoire and Standards chair in his/her state.

National Report, 1987. Lynne Bradley, Chair.

Bradley reported that an interest session on international repertoire was presented at the San Antonio National Convention, which included a performance by the Doshisha Women's College Choir from Japan and distribution of an excellent resource of Japanese treble music. James Laster distributed a questionnaire to help in compiling a directory of women's choruses and conductors. Work on the Monograph of Literature for Women's Voices was also reported with Mary Breden assuming leadership of the project.

National Report, 1988. Lynne Bradley, Chair.

Continued progress on the Monograph of Literature for Women's Voices was reported. The directory of women's choruses was camera-ready at report time. More female choirs than could be listed in the minutes appeared on regional conventions. Bradley noted that no money had been allotted to the Women's Choir R&S committee for expenses and that she and division chairs had absorbed committee costs. On the other hand, Bradley was encouraged by the increased participation in regional and national conventions.

National Report, 1989. Diane Brumley, Chair.

Records of the National Convention reflect that Hilary Apfelstadt presented a session on Canadian music for women's choirs. The following women's choirs were scheduled to appear: Girls 21 from Cherry Creek High School in Colorado, Charolotte Adams, Conductor; University Women's Choir from University of North Carolina-Greensboro, Hilary Apfelstadt, Conductor; Loyola Marymount University Women's Chorus, Paul Salamunovich, Conductor. Korallerna from Lund, Sweden, Eva Bohlin, Conductor, were slated to present a special interest session on Scandinavian women's choral music. The Women's R&S Committee was to host a forum, "Ask the Experts", comprised of the conductors of women's choirs performing at the convention.

National Report, 1990. Patricia Hennings, Chair.

This was the first report that listed the Division chairs. They were Joe Grant (Central), Beverly Taylor (Eastern), Karen Haines (North Central), Constance Branton (North Western), Lynne Gackle (Southern), Charlotte Adams (Southwestern), Leslie Guelker-Cone (Western). Hennings assumed her position in October, 1990. Her main task was to prepare for the upcoming 1991 national convention in Phoenix, AZ. Various festivals were reported by the divisions and repertoire continued as a major concern. A new pilot project will begin in California called the Women's Chorus Repertoire Exchange. Participating conductors will send concert programs twice yearly to Kathy Smith, Program Director. Smith will copy the programs and distribute them to participating subscribers. The project will go national in 1991.

National Report, 1991-2. Patricia Hennings, Chair.

Hennings reported a successful year. The first women's honor choir was part of the Southern Division Convention, and a women's honor choir also performed in the Northwest Division. Each Division chair and the National chair led interest sessions or conducted at one or more division conventions. At the 1991 National Convention in Phoenix, AZ, Paul Salamunovich, and the women from St. Charles Borromeo Choir, presented "Developing the Dynamic Singer: Youthful Tone/Mature Expressiveness". Over 250 people attended this breakfast meeting. Deer Park High School Women's Chorale from Deer Park, Texas, was the only other female choir performing at the convention. No women's chorus special interest sessions were reported. In 1992, five female choirs performed at the Western Division Convention. Five other divisions presented concerts by women's choirs. The first National Women's Honor Choir is to be held at the 1993 San Antonio convention. In some states organizational goals have not taken root. National and divisional leaders were encouraged to provide more orientation, encouragement and support to state chairs. The Monograph of Women's Choral music was still not completed and concern was expressed that the information was no longer current.

National Report, 1992-3. Leslie Guelker-Cone, Chair.

Division Chairs: Mary Hopper (Central), Linda Lanier-Keosian (Eastern), Timothy Sawyer (North Central), Constance Branton (Northwestern), Norma Raybon (Southern), Sharon Paul (Western). No additional information was available from the ACDA Archives.

National Report, 1993-4. Leslie Guelker-Cone, Chair.

The Women's Chorus Repertoire Exchange, begun in California, has gone national, with financial assistance provided by National. The ACDA National Archive for Women's Music, Joan Whittemore, Project Coordinator, will include highly recommended compositions for women's choirs. She will collect, catalogue and annotate the music received before sending it on to be housed at National Headquarters in Lawton, OK.

This report, more than any of the previous ones, included an extensive and informative summary of Division activities focused on women's choirs. It seemed to document a greatly increased interest in women's choirs and repertoire.

National Report, 1995. Leslie Guelker-Cone, Chair.
Division Chairs: Mary Hopper (Central), Linda Lanier-Keosian (Eastern), Timothy Sawyer (North Central), Constance Branton (Northwestern), Norma Raybon (Southern), Charlotte Adams (Southwestern), Sharon Paul (Western). Strengths of committee were enthusiastic new division and state representatives and greater visibility due to the National Women's Honor Choir in 1993, the Repertoire Exchange, and the National Women's Archives. Areas needing improvement were communication between all levels; better response from state chairs; replacement of inactive division chairs; greater R&S participation in the advance planning of both division and national conventions. It was noted that some divisional and state boards do not consider R&S chairs as integral to the board structure. A Women's Honor Choir was requested for the 1997 National Convention, as well as timely information to assist in planning for the 1997 convention. Western Division was the only Division requesting a budget allocation for 1995-96.

This report, also for the first time, listed State R&S chairs, along with Division chairs. It is an impressive list that indicates, we sincerely hope, the continuing and increasing interest in music presented by and composed for women's voices.

Two women's choirs, the Seoul Ladies Singers from Seoul, Korea, and the Deer Park High School Women's Chorale from Texas, performed at the National Convention in Washington, D.C. There were also four interest sessions presented dealing with women's choirs and repertoire.

Again this year, an impressive number of State and Division reports show more and more interest in learning about and hearing women's choral music.

National Report, 1997. Leslie Guelker-Cone, Chair.
Division Chairs: Hilary Apfelstadt (Central), Tahme Adinolfi (Eastern), Sandra Peter (North Central), Cindy Busler (Northwestern), Lillian Quackenbush (Southern), Galen Darrough (Southwestern), Monica Hubbard (Western). The chair noted an energetic and involved Women's Choir Committee, particularly in the planning of national convention activities. The continued frustration was noted about the R&S chair appointment process, the inactivity of some division and state chairs, and communication at all levels. The goals noted were to begin planning women's chorus activities for the 1998 division conventions; to propose a national women's honor choir for the 1999 national convention; to re-vamp the Women's Chorus Repertoire Exchange Project; and decide the fate of the National Women's Choir Archive.

Past National Chairs
1980-1983 - Sister Sharon Breden
1984-1988 - Lynne Bradley
1989-1990 - Diane Brumley
1990-1993 - Patricia Hennings
1993-1997 - Leslie Guelker-Cone
1997-2001 - Monica Hubbard
2001-2007 - Lisa Fredenburgh
2007-2010 - Debra Spurgeon
2010-2016 - Iris S. Levine