April 8, 2020
Enjoy this performance of "Witness" from the 2017 ACDA National Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota! This song was performed by the Worship in Song choirs.
Your work to continue taking whatever aspects of choir you can to your students and communities is offering hope and healing to all of us who need sustenance right now. You are appreciated!

This week, we are especially appreciating our music in worship directors. Did you know that almost a third of our members indicate they work in religious settings some or all of the time? These musicians have been thinking out of the box, supporting online or drive-in versions of Palm Sunday services and planning similar efforts for upcoming Easter services. With the first Seder of Passover tonight, large dinners and group singing of prayers are having to be re-imagined.

We appreciate the myriad ways that you are stepping up during this time of crisis to fulfill both a musical mission, as well as a spiritual one. Blessings on you!

As I work through the stages of my personal processing of this time with COVID-19, I have decided to share my own experience in a desire to bring some degree of encouragement and hopeful inspiration.

One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with this quarantine other than the immediate health threat, has been our loss of control. As choral directors, we are generally “control freaks,” which goes along with our job. Many of us would admit that this control is part of the “secret” in our personal “secret sauce.” We have to meticulously prepare, then plan, then execute rehearsals and performances. We have trained to discover and interpret every detail, and to not let one note go unpolished. Nuance defines all that we bring to the party in terms of score preparation, rehearsal planning, and execution, resulting in a performance that offers the best of that controlled work. And now, we have all lost control.

The stoics would tell us we never really had control. We didn’t choose this time in which we now find ourselves. We never had control over this environment, and to act like we do is the definition of insanity, or at least, the source of our immediate uneasiness and frustration.

Let me first admit that I don’t consider myself a particularly “courageous” person, but neither have I ever backed away from a challenge or a calculated risk.  Read more.

"I have been thinking a lot about music and its place in our lives. My soul is warmed and filled by all of the people who are participating in music and the arts, whether through books, movies, art, dance, plays - whatever it is that they’re getting involved in during this time of quarantine. I’ve always said that the arts speak to our humanity, and if there were ever a time when we are recognizing our humanity, living into it, this is it. Alone, and yet together.

I have been reminded, of all things, of the night that my mom passed many years ago. I will never forget, being in our living room with just family, the hospice nurse, and our pastor. The nurse shared with us that the last sense to go is hearing. So we spent that evening talking with her - talking to her, since she was not responding anymore. More importantly, we played music for her.

As with many landmark times in our lives, and I believe we are part of one right now, there is pain and there is beauty - they are coexisting. There is grief and there is gratitude. It’s okay to be in grief and in gratitude at the same time. Take a moment today and maybe reach out to someone who is quarantining alone, who is not able to be with family around them. Check in on them. Be that person who says, 'Hey, are you doing okay?'"

Joy Fritz Paffenroth

Online Platforms
The SPiN Network i s the first fully licensed video site created specifically for school-related music performances. Schools and associations can film and upload videos of their music performances – subscribers can view and enjoy the performances. SPiN is offering free student accounts that allow them to watch content and lessons from their teachers. Educators and directors can set up a free channel and send the link to their students.  Directions for doing this are here . More information  here .

ACDA is hosting a webpage that is updated daily containing resources that are particularly useful for choral professionals: Resources for Choral Professionals During the Pandemic . Added over the past week:

  • "Here I Am" (composed by Karen Siegel) is a “gift to the choral community, and is dedicated to all who are quarantined or isolated during this pandemic.” Siegel says that it was composed to embrace the latency of online singing. The page also contains suggestions for creating remote choirs, including live streaming.
  • JewishChoralMusic.com is a resource center (repertoire, articles, educational pieces, videos, podcasts, and more) for anyone interested in choral music from a wide variety of Jewish traditions and experiences. They have just added “Podcasts in a Time of Corona.”
  • And more . . .

Keep an eye on on this page, and please share with us any resources we should consider adding!

Americans for the Arts (AFTA) is leading a nationwide assessment of the impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic on the nation's arts and cultural sector. Organizations involved in the arts are urged to respond to AFTA's brief five-minute survey.

Through the survey, AFTA aims to demonstrate how arts and cultural workers are overcoming challenges of the pandemic. AFTA also wants to learn how the outbreak is affecting operations through canceled events, lost wages, and additional expenses. Feedback from the survey will affect future funding for the arts, including any additional federal stimulus measures.


Submit Your Choir to an International Stage
We are adding choirs to the Virtual Concert Halls daily. Have your submitted your choir yet? To have your choir included, follow the instructions on this form and submit it with a YouTube link. While you're there, enjoy the wonderful playlists!

Do you have an idea you're trying out? Please share it with us to consider including in next week's email by replying to this message.

The ACDA mobile app provides the opportunity to catch up on the latest news, read recent thought leadership, message individual members or group of members, and share insights using the forums. Now more than ever, it's time to stay connected and strengthen our sense of community.

Note to subscribers: Our app is temporarily offline to any new users, as well as some existing ones. If you are able, we encourage you to keep engaging. We continue to post! We expect to be operational to everyone by Apr. 15 and will communicate that and instructions for downloading accordingly.

There were some problems with the link to the ChorTeach page in Monday's email. Our apologies! Click here to view the latest issue.

Membership Portal Maintenance
The ACDA membership portal will come back online on Apr. 15. Until then, we are unable to process membership renewals and profile updates. But don't worry:
  • Resources on the website are still available and updated regularly, including Choral Journal and other publications.
  • The app is still available with new posts and resources being added daily.
  • The ACDA Career Center is still open for posting and review.
  • ChoralNet is still open for business.
  • National office staff are still here to help you!
This email is a weekly Wednesday communication we are sending - for a time - to support and lift up our members during this challenging period.

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American Choral Directors Association | 405.232.8161 | membership@acda.org | www.acda.org | 545 Couch Dr, Oklahoma City, OK 73102-2207