R/S Chair Blog


Kerry Marsh (2015 ASVJE conductor) 

Hey guys! Check out Kerry Marsh's Behind the Mic interview. www.BehindTheMic.org


Youth and Student Update - January (a few days late!)

We hope to see all of you at the ACDA Southwester Division Conference in Little Rock on March 19 - 22nd.  On Wednesday, March 19, we are hosting an “Immersion Day” for university students and new teachers.  It is a FREE conference event with sessions, panel sessions, icebreaker activities and even lunch!  We meet from 11am to 5pm.  This is designed to make the upcoming and new members to our profession feel welcome and immersed into the choral music network!  We will need attendees to register for lunch purposes.

Secondly, we need guides and workers to help with our main performing area for the conference, the Robinson Center.  Guides will be responsible for greeting and pointing performing ensembles toward their next location.   Workers will act as stagehands and equipment crew for the conference. 

Volunteers will get their conference registrations waived, a t-shirt, meals while they are working and an opportunity to see the “behind the scenes” magic of some of the finest choirs around such as NY Polyphony and Pentatonix!!!!  Volunteers only need to help 2 days of the conference and will have plenty of time to network and attend sessions.  

Please email Dr. Julie Yu, julieyu@ksu.edu, if interested in serving as a guide or student worker.
Kurtis and I hope to see all of you there!


Youth and Student Newsletter - December 2013

Greetings, young choral enthusiasts! 

I want to congratulate you on completing your final semester of 2013!  That's one more semester under your belt on your way to becomming the next impactful choral music educator, and a feat to be celebrated!  I know, because I am living it, too... Music students at the University of Maryland also relate; here is their Carol of Final Exams.

Did you know that you can STILL REGISTER as an ACDA MEMBER as first time members for the low price of $5.00?  You can find all the information you need to register at our Student Memebership Page.  Returning members still receieve a discounted rate, too.  Register today!

I hope to see all of you at the ACDA Southwestern Division Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas from March 19-22, 2014.  March 19 is a special Immersion Day for College Students and New Teachers (12pm-5pm) so make sure to arrive in time!  Missouri's own, Melissa Baughman (PhD Candidate from the University of Missouri) is a featured speaker during this day!  If you plan to attend, please post to our facebook page so we know to look for you!  I would love to plan a meal with all of the Missouri student/new teacher members, but I can't do that unless you tell me that you'll be there!  Carpool, roadtrip, or hitchhike down (with another ACDA member, of course) - we hope to see you there!  National and Divisonal conventions offer an unmatchable opportunity to hear excellent choral groups from around the world.  It is rare to have such an opportunity taking place in close proximity to our home! 

Mark your calendars, Missouri ACDA's summer conference will be held in Jefferson City at the Capital Plaza Hotel on July 23-26, 2014.  More information will be made available on MCDA's website very soon.  8 collegiate students will be selected through an applicaiton process to work in exchange for housing at this summer's convention.  Applications will be made available in the early part of 2014.  This is an amazing chance to meet choral musicians from all over our state, to hear great choirs and lectures on our art, and to reconnect with old friends. 

SWACDA president-elect, and Missouri's own, Mark Lawley, shared a fantastic article recently about leadership qualities necessary for success as a conductor.  Check out the article, at Forbes online, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.  How did you know you wanted to be a music educator?  Are these leadership qualities natural to you, or do you have to be intentional about developing them?  In what ways are you devleoping your choral artist chops while still in training?

From all of us at Missouri ACDA, we wish you a happy and healthy winter break.  Take time to reflect on the lessons you have learned this semester.  Set goals for the coming year. 

Musically yours,

Elizabeth Hogan McFarland





Gobble, Gobble! Youth and Student Update - November

Greetings, friends!  I write to you from the comfort of a coffee shop... I am officially on Thanksgiving break as of 9pm last night when we finished performing Beethoven's Mass in C and Choral Fantasy at MU.  What a way to start the week off!  I wish each of you productive, safe and restful breaks.  I am thankful for our organization, which helps each of us grow and learn in a variety of ways!

Here are a few updates from your Youth and Student team:

As of September 2013, Missouri has 6 official Student ACDA chapters.  I know of at least 2 more schools pursuing this designation in the coming year.  We can't wait to add more schools to this list!  Contact Kurtis Hinrich or me for more information!

  • Central Methodist University
  • Lindenwood University
  • Southeast Missouri State University
  • University of Missouri-Columbia 
  • University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • University of Missouri-St. Louis 

Even though the membership drive is over, the new member registration discount is still in effect until February.  Check out our student membership page for the process to follow so that you and your friends can take advantage of this opportunity.

Are you registered to attend the SWACDA Convention in Little Rock, AR in March?  Make sure to attend all day Wednesday... it is designated as a student day!  Missouri's own Melissa Baughman will be presenting a special session on incorporating the National Standards into your choral rehearsal.  This convention is NOT TO BE MISSED!

As always, I'm just an email or phone call away.  Make sure to like our student page on facebook for more frequent updates.  ---Elizabeth


Have you seen these videos?

Ever wanted to learn to improv?

Here are some tricks of the trade:

1. Know the "changes" (chords that that willl be played while you are singing).

2. Use simple syllable combinations (doo vah, deh bah, etc., but never boo bee.) until you are comfotable to add new ones.

3. Sing an idea (riff or lick) 3 times, but on the 3rd time change it.

4. Use your full range, be a risk taker.

5. See if parts of another tune you know (quote) will fit in your solo, like Yankee Doodle Dandy, etc.

6. Save the tonic until the end of a phrase...or delay it longer.

7. Analyze less and sing what comes to mind. I dare you to make a mistake!!



Here's what Bobby McFerrin says about it:



Great example:



Just Kirby hangin out with the Swingle Singers after a gig: