May 27, 2020

American Choral Directors Association in collaboration with MatchMySound™ and GIA Publications has created a highly innovative and user friendly web app for the choral community that aids in choral rehearsing and part-learning: My Choral Coach. My Choral Coach is a simple guided practice and choral management system that will keep choirs engaged and reaching their goals during this time of physical distancing and isolation. 

My Choral Coach is easy to use and does not require software installation. The app is inexpensive, just a one-time $50 fee for ACDA members for six-month access, and FREE for all choral singers in your choirs during this COVID-19 period. Learn more.

Curious? Join a free introductory webinar session tomorrow (Thurs., May 28 at 9:00 a.m. PDT / 12:00 noon EDT) on getting started with My Choral Coach. Register on our webpage.

Watch an informational video:
Minnesota Public Radio's Brian Newhouse moderated the coalition's second webinar, hosted on May 26 by NATS, ACDA, Chorus America, Barbershop Harmony Society, and PAMA. This was an energizing session with a number of guests, all of whom shared creative ideas and approaches for choirs and singing during this time. Watch the recording.

Click here to read more on the session, including a few takeaways.

Webinar 3 - Guide to Copyright in a Virtual Singing/Choral World
Save the Date: June 9 (2:00 p.m. PDT / 5:00 p.m. EDT)

Advocacy is a critical activity as we continue shaping the arts sector and ensuring a central place for choirs and singing. A number of members have shared ways that students' voices are central to this message. Following is one!
Alexandra Anderson, 8th grader and music enthusiast, shares her passion for singing and its many positive effects - including her experience in the 2019 Children's Honor Choir in Kansas City.
Arts Education Is Essential - A Unified Statement
ACDA is a signatory to a coalition statement "Arts Education Is Essential," along with more than 50 other national organizations. From the statement:

"We have listened to educators across the country as you grapple with uncertainty in the next and coming school years. With fellow organizations working to preserve music and arts education, we have provided this clear statement of support for educators and other stakeholders, which also provides you talking points as you make the case with administrators and other decision-makers for your own music program in your school district. . . . " Read full statement

The Arts Sector and COVID-19 Relief
ACDA also joins more than 50 national arts organizations in calling for additional forms of COVID-19 federal assistance that will sustain the arts' sectors unique capacity to support the U. S. economy, uplife the human spirit, animate the issues of our time, and provide lifelong learning. Read full statement

The Arts Are Essential to Public Infrastructure (excerpt)
How, then, should we argue on behalf of choral music and broader arts education in the face of cuts?

Let's start with this—choral music is not a mere extracurricular activity or test-prep aid; it is not in conflict with the public good—choral music is itself a public good. It's all about learning to be in right relationship with the other people in the room. We educators devote considerable time to unifying details like pitch, rhythm, and diction, yes—but we also teach listening and awareness as active, invisible skills. We pour ourselves into fostering intentional community inside and outside the choral classroom. These intangible connections transcend the auditory surface details of our repertoire, while also elevating our students' capacity for authentic communication. At best, the connectedness our students learn in choir serves like a structural integrity field, one that sustains and supports them through their years in high school, college, and beyond. It helps them to bend and stretch under stress, without breaking.

Looking more broadly—I'd argue that the arts are essential public infrastructure. I'll draw specific attention to the prefix, meaning “below,” not immediately visible or appreciated. After all, how often do we give thanks for a smooth, safe commute? Perhaps only in its absence and in retrospect, say, when your car hits a nasty pothole. In the absence of singing together, in the absence of attending concerts in community, we're feeling a deep loss—and maybe we'll recognize that which we're missing has always been hiding in plain sight.

Maybe this crisis will help us remind each other that the arts are not simple entertainment, or a public good among many, but the real truth—the arts are deeply foundational to the practice of being alive, the infrastructure of our self-understanding and expression. Just as the freedom of the press is essential to a functioning democracy, the arts are essential at helping our society tease out what it means to live a life with meaning. They facilitate the expression and public discussion of our values, both to rejoice in commonality and to articulate difference. (This is why fascists hate the arts, by the way.) The arts draw us to common points of attention and wonder. They give us practice at being creative, and creativity helps us solve problems. Arts educators are the laborers that build and maintain this infrastructure, and as such, they are an essential public investment. Let's argue for them in this way. In the midst of this pandemic, as we reckon with separation and scarcity, they need our support more than ever. Read full post

Michael McGaghie, Director of Choral Activities, Macalester College

Thursday! May 28 , 8:00 p.m. PDT / 11:00 p.m. EDT. ACDA: Connecting with the World - South Korea , co-hosted by T. J. Harper and Tim Sharp
The third episode in the series ACDA: Connecting with the World features guests from South Korea: Hakwon Yoon, ShinHwa Park, Heechurl Kim, Euijoong Yoon, and Hyowon Woo. This webinar is free for all participants. Register 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 . New:

Do you know of a resource that should be added? Please reply to this email.

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. Click here to download the  iPhone/iOS app  and here for the  Android app. Already a user?  Update the app and log-in again. Hint: Your log-in information is the same on the app as it is on!

Were your spring concerts cancelled? We are still adding choirs to ACDA's Virtual Concert Halls. Have you submitted your choir yet? To do so, follow the instructions on this form and submit it with a YouTube link. While you're there, enjoy the wonderful playlists!
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