Chora Link - November 2019
In this issue: Eastern Region President election,
College Fair during the March conference,
Registration continues, Kegerreis Collegiate Scholarships, Sing Up!, and Lannom Study Award winner.
Peggy Dettwiler

ACDA Eastern Region President


Dear ACDA East Friends,
We are just four months away from our Rochester conference and plans are moving at a fast pace now. Don’t delay in registering and getting your room at one of the two conference hotels!
Register at the early-bird rate: Active members $265; Retired members: $215; Student members: $100. These rates will continue through January 29. (FYI, there will also be a $6 transaction fee.) The conference hotels are: Hyatt Regency Rochester Downtown with our special rate: $163 ($186 w/tax) and the Hilton Garden Inn: $139 ($159 w/tax).  Here is the link for registration. Once you register online, the hotel link will open for your selection.
You can go to the ACDA East website to view the schedule and all of the events - everythiing is conveniently in one place:

Students: take a look at the College Worker Program & Richard Kegerreis Scholarship opportunity - you can apply for BOTH! Composers can still sign up for the Composer Meet & Greet.
And moving on to the future.  All ACDA members should have received the invitation to vote for the 2022-2024 Eastern Region President. We have two wonderful candidates: Christopher Kiver and Tony Thornton ! Their biographies and photos are below. The election will run from Nov. 5th to Nov. 18th. Vote right away!
SING UP!  The membership offered through each state continues until November 15 th . Spread the word to your friends in choral music who might appreciate what the organization offers.
There will be a College Fair at the conference on Thursday, March 5 for one and a half hours, where members of the High School Honor Choir and Musical Theatre Honor Choir will have the opportunity, on a rehearsal break, to visit tables with college admission information. 25 colleges can register first-come, first served.
See below for more details and the active link.
Organizations interested in arranging a private reception during the conference can contact our Social Event Chair, Susan Medley:
Excitement builds!
Peggy Dettwiler

Voting is open from November 5-18 only. Be sure to cast your email ballot.
Christopher Kiver is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at
Pennsylvania State University where he directs the Concert Choir and Glee Club,
oversees the graduate choral conducting program and teaches classes in choral
conducting and choral literature. Since joining the faculty at Penn State in 2005, choirs under Kiver’s direction have performed at numerous state and regional conferences of ACDA and the National Association for Music Education. In March 2017, Kiver led a performance of Julia Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields with the Penn State University Concert Choir and Bang on a Can All-Stars. He has taught at the Westminster Choir College Summer and Saturday Seminar programs, and appeared as guest conductor, clinician and adjudicator in the United States, Australia, China and New Zealand.
He has served as Director of Music at the University Baptist and Brethren Church in
State College since 2005, was founder and director of The Orpheus Singers, an
auditioned community chamber choir from 2011 to 2018, and is a regular guest conductor of the Pennsylvania Center Orchestra.
Prior to beginning his doctoral studies in the United States in 2002, Kiver lived in
Brisbane, Australia from 1996-2002, where he taught choir and general music in grades 4-12 at a private boys’ school; conducted the Brisbane Chorale – the symphony chorus for the Queensland Orchestra; led the Brisbane Concert Choir, an auditioned community choir; and taught classes in choral conducting and methodology at the University of
Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, and Griffith University.
Since 1993, Kiver has been actively involved on local, state, regional and national boards of professional choral organizations including the Association of British Choral Directors, the Australian National Choral Association and ACDA. He is the former national ACDA Repertoire & Standards chair for Men’s/TTBB Choirs and a past-president of the Pennsylvania chapter of ACDA. Kiver has twice served the Eastern Region as Men’s/TTBB Repertoire & Standards chair.
A native of England, he has received numerous prizes and scholarships including a Fulbright Award, and the 2002 Sydney World Choral Symposium Foundation Scholarship. In February 2006, he was a double Grammy Award winner (“Best Choral Performance” and “Best Classical Album”) as a chorus master for the critically acclaimed Naxos recording of William Bolcom’s monumental Songs of Innocence and of Experience . Kiver was the recipient of Penn State University’s President’s Award for Engagement with Students in 2017. He is a graduate of the University of London, Florida State University and the University of Michigan where he received the D.M.A. in choral conducting.


I am honored to be running for election as President-Elect of ACDA Eastern Region. As a choral practitioner working with young students in festival situations, college students on a daily basis, and adults in church and community choir settings, I am constantly aware of how important ACDA has been, not only in my personal development, but also in my daily work. From inspiring, mind and ear changing performances at conferences such as the Moses Hogan Chorale at the National Conference in Washington, DC, in 2005, to Choral Journal articles that help further understanding of all manner of issues from,vocal physiology and analyses, through to developing scholarship in important issues
such as inclusion of choral transgender singers, I rely on ACDA to help make me a better, more aware, choral musician. My main areas of research include repertoire selection and the quest for quality music, the teaching of conducting, critical thinking in rehearsals, advocating for women composers, gender in choral settings, working with lower voices, and creating greater relevancy for choral music beyond the concert hall.

Largely due to the vision of ACDA Executive Director, Tim Sharp, I have appreciated the gradual expansion of the ACDA choral umbrella to include music from beyond the western canon, and choirs and conductors working with the homeless, those who are incarcerated, or in elderly and hospice care and more. As the leading professional choral body in the United States, it is vital that ALL choirs find relevancy in our organization.

As President of the Eastern Region, I see my main role as a facilitator and enabler for the membership. One of the significant responsibilities of this position is envisioning and mounting a regional conference that is relevant and inspiring. I will work with excellent colleagues to come up with innovative ideas that draw upon the best traditions of our conferences. Yes, we need to hear the very best choirs to help us aspire, and develop, but can there be room for performing groups who are doing excellent work beyond producing a perfect performance? Would members be more inclined to attend conferences if there were strands that were directly relevant to their daily work? Would repertoire practices of the profession change if performing choirs were required to program more diverse repertoire? I will highlight the work of as many choral musicians as possible. Might it be possible for all states to hold a simultaneous one-day workshop for a particular choir type or topic? Maybe this can be done cheaply in person, or using technology in the form of webinars or livestreaming? Perhaps members can nominate webinar leaders who are not
necessarily the frequent headliners in the field?
My previous experiences serving on ACDA committees at the state, regional and national levels have helped me gain a thorough understanding of the inner workings and structure of the organization. I believe I have a proven track record of bringing people together, and I would be honored to serve ACDA as Eastern Region President and continue to expand the choral art.

Active as a conductor, educator, clinician, and author, Tony Thornton received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Voice from Westminster Choir College, a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Louisiana State University, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting and Historical Musicology from the University of Arizona. He studied conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt, Kenneth Fulton, Frauke Haasemann, Margaret Hillis, and Bruce Chamberlain.

Trained first as a singer, Dr. Thornton has performed as a tenor soloist throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. As a member of the Westminster Choir, he performed at the Spoleto Festival in Italy and the United States, and he has recorded with Leonard Bernstein, Riccardo Muti, Robert Shaw, Claudio Abbado, and Zubin Mehta. He sang for seven years as a member of the Grammy Award-winning Robert Shaw Festival Singers.

As a guest conductor and clinician who is active on the national and international choral scene, Dr. Thornton has worked with more than 350 treble, tenor/bass, and mixed choruses in public schools, colleges, churches, community, and professional organizations in 27 states, Japan, and throughout Europe.

Dr. Thornton is currently Director of Choral Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he oversees an extensive choral program and guides the graduate program in choral conducting. He is the Founding Artistic Director of Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble. Thornton maintains a choral series in his name at Colla Voce Music. 

Dr. Thornton holds active memberships in ACDA, Chorus America, and the National Collegiate Choral Organization. He recently completed his term as past president of the Massachusetts chapter of ACDA.

I attended my first ACDA conference as a student in 1991. The national conference was held in Phoenix, Arizona, that year. Paul Salamunovich conducted a marvelous performance with the St. Charles Borromeo Choir and it was announced that he would become the next conductor of the Los Angeles Master Chorale. His mentor, the great Roger Wagner, was seated in front of me at the performance! I remember the fantastic interest sessions, the magical performances, and the opportunities to meet and network with my choral music heroes. 

Since that time, I have only missed two national or regional conferences, generally due to weather complications. Through ACDA, I have met lifetime friends and colleagues who inspire me to become the best version of myself as an artist-teacher. Choral music - or any musical collaboration collaboration, for that matter- affords us the opportunity to create art in a more beautiful way than any one person could create alone. Collaboration is at the heart of what we do. For many years, I attended the conferences as a registrant. Most recently, I have taken a more active role in ACDA as president of MassACDA and by presiding over interest sessions at both regional and national conferences. On two occasions I served as the co-chair of the conducting master class committee for ACDA Eastern. 

I was pleased to receive a nomination from the ACDA Eastern Past-Presidents’ Council to run for the office of president-elect. I have overseen several state conferences in Massachusetts and I am excited about the possibility of collaborating with my ACDA Eastern colleagues to envision and plan outstanding regional conferences. With your support, I am honored to serve as your next president-elect.
Dear Choral Colleagues,

Eastern Region conference is excited to announce the College Fair event, on Thursday, March 5, 2020 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm in the Riverside Hotel, Rochester, NY, Ballroom C. The
College Fair will feature coordinated opportunities to meet with both the High School and Music Theatre Honor choirs.

Each ensemble will visit during the College Fair at assigned times for 45 minutes each (11:00am – 11:45pm & 11:45pm – 12:30pm). This is an
outstanding opportunity for your college or university to promote your program to potential students. You are permitted to bring program materials and any free samples that can fit on a table top that you would want to share with the students and conductors. Institutions will be provided one 6 ft x 30-inch rectangular table and 2 chairs. No sales will be permitted.

The registration fee will be $100.00, and all participating college and universities must also be an institutional members of ACDA. For more information on institutional membership, please go to:

The application deadline is January 29, 2020. Once you sign up and pay for your registration, you will hear from Felicia Barber, Eastern Region College and University Resources & Repertoire Chair, regarding site information and set up. If you have further questions or concerns, you may contact Felicia at:

Please note that this special event is completely different from the college booths in the Exhibits area, and all materials and advertising must be table top to distribute to the students.

Remember space is limited, so please get your applications in early. We are only able to take a certain number of registrants.


Felicia Barber, Ph. D.
Eastern Region College and University Resources & Repertoire Chair
Phone. 413-572-5341
Click the link above to give yourself an early holiday present
and join us in Rochester next March.
2019 Allen C. Lannom Study Award Winner
Matthew Lee

Matthew Chi Lee is the Choral Director at John P. Stevens High School in Edison, NJ, where he directs 5 co-curricular ensembles. In 2017 The J.P. Stevens A Cappella Ensemble was selected to perform at the NAfME Eastern Conference in Atlantic City, NJ. At the 2019 Sing N Joy Princeton International, Matthew received the Conductor’s Award, where both of his competing choirs also won their respective categories.

Matthew serves as Manager of the NJ All-State Mixed Choir and is a member of the NJMEA All-State Procedures Committee. He has also presented interest sessions at the NJACDA Summer Workshop as well as the NJMEA State In-Service Conference.

Matthew sings with the Harmonium Choral Society in Mendham, NJ, and is the Assistant Conductor at Christ Church in Summit, NJ. He is humbled and honored to be named the recipient of the Lannom Study Award and grateful to ACDA for this opportunity.


If you are enrolled in a college or university for this current academic year, you are eligible to apply for a Kegerreis scholarship. This money is intended to assist with the expenses of attending the Eastern Region Conference.

Richard Kegerreis was for many years the editor of the Eastern Region newsletter Troubadour, national coordinator of newsletter editors and editor of New York State's Choral Cues. To honor these contributions, as well as his life as a dedicated choral conductor and mentor, Eastern Region established a fund in his memory in 2002.

So, if this sounds interesting, which it should, follow the link below to the region website, where you fill find a short form to fill out and instructions about submitting a letter of recommendation from your college conductor. It won't take long but the deadline of December 9th comes up quickly. Good luck to all!

Photo by Susan Goldstone - used by permission.
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Late Autumn/Winter Events
in the Eastern Region
DELAWARE - Festival for Treble Voices, November 8, 2019 - University of Delaware, Newark, DE. Headliner: Duane Cottrell

All About That Bass Clef , January 16, 2020 - University of Delaware, Newark, DE.

Vocal Jazz Honor Choir , February 13-15, 2020 - Location TBA. Chairs: Marty Lasserman

Children's Honor Choir, March 13-14, 2020 - Newark H.S, Newark, DE.

MASSACHUSETTS - MassACDA Intercollegiate Choral Festival, February 22, 2020
Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, MA Headliner: Anthony Trecek-King.
Contact: Jonathan Harvey

Big Sing Central , March 14, 2020 - Fay School, Southborough, MA Headliner: Rebecca
Kenneally. Contact: Jennifer Kane

Big Sing East , March 21, 2020 - First Unitarian Universalist Church, Newton, MA
Headliner: Jamie Hillman Contact: Jennifer Kane

PENNSYLVANIA - Mucho Macho Music XVI , November 8, 2019 - South Fayette HIgh School, McDonald, PA

Annual Choral Composition Competition - Deadline: March 15, 2020
State Chapter Links