July 1, 2014

Moving day for NW ACDA officers

Gary Weidenaar's last article as president...continuing to inspire us all with his leadership and insights

On July 1, 2014 I move to past – president (vice-president), and Patrick Ryan assumes the presidency.

Patrick is a superb musician and choir director and even better person. I say that with confidence. A former student of mine in Arizona, Patrick has sung for me, but also now I've seen his choir at least three times in visits to CWU or at festivals. Like the men's choir at NAU which he conducted in the firyannal year of his masters degree, his choirs are amazing. And I especially appreciate the fact that he has a life outside of choral music which includes quality time with his three kids, refereeing football and basketball games as well as many other things like putting in fences and redoing his house. He is a real renaissance person! And a person with a good head on his shoulders. He is a quick study, and will make a fantastic president.

I'm also thrilled that Nicole Lamartine will follow Patrick Ryan as president. lamartineNicole is another renaissance person. Not only is she an accomplished singer, she is an equally gifted conductor. Add to that a great motivator, if her impressive concert conducting the 150 guys singing in the Men's NW division 2014 honor choir is a fair indication. And if I'm not mistaken, she is just ran her first marathon recently. Like Patrick, she has vision, ideas, and the passion and energy to lead our Division!

It seems like yesterday rather than two years ago, that I wrote my first article as Northwest Division President. It was actually July 10, according to this website so ably maintained by the incomparable Howard Meharg. After two years as president – elect, I felt a mixture of excitement and responsibility - with a healthy dose of knowing that there were many things which would be new to me in the next couple of years.

But as choral directors, we already know the feeling. Because most of the people in this profession who I respect have the same attitude that I do – when one stops learning it's time to stop doing this.

The next few sentences are directly from that article I wrote on July 10, 2012:

I, for one, learn daily from colleagues – both peers in the college arena and those teaching in the public/private school arena (where I spent 15 years as well).

And just as importantly, I learn from the young, budding music educators who are my college students and those from sister institutions.

Keep your eyes open, participate, attend – you never know when you might have an opportunity to "gain" a mentor. ACDA has ways of creating opportunities for that to happen!

I look forward to meeting and serving you in this new role for the next two years. Whether you are a retired or active member, long time or first year student – please feel free to introduce yourself to me any time we are at an event. You are the reason there is an ACDA – and we will then both have an opportunity to learn from each other.

And now at the other end of that short two years, I can say with certainty that I have continued to learn daily (or, in the case of conference week - hourly or even minute-ly, if that's a word).

ACDA is thriving, branching out in new and exciting directions, and expanding its reach and services. One focus of national executive director Tim Sharp is on building bridges from ACDA to other organizations. Another is mentorship. Both of these initiatives deal with connecting people.

Just this week, the national office announced a career center for choral musicians. And the International Conductors Exchange Project (ICEP) is taking root, with a dozen conductors from the US (including our own Nicole Lamartine) visiting China and upcoming visits to Sweden and beyond planned.

In my role as President, my scope and priority has been on the division as a whole. We have six active and effective presidents in our states. Long gone are the days where people had to be coerced into running for office. Each of the six is committed to their particular state and various initiatives happening as we speak. Further, each state has passionate people filled with ideas in the R&S chair positions. A huge thank you is due to these people who are ACDA's engine and GPS unit, both choosing the destination and then setting the course on how to get there.

As I transition to my next role - far from going off into the sunset, I am looking forward to moving ahead on some initiatives of my own. It's an undeniable fact that for the past two years the hours of service have numbered into the hundreds. While it's been a labor of love, I'm looking forward to using those hours in a other ways. Projects including finishing a half-developed conductor's ear-training course, creating software for festival judging, and developing some summer offerings for high school students at CWU are just a few of the ideas which will move to the front burner.

I offer a sincere thank you to Howard Meharg, treasurer Carol Stewart-Smith, national president Karen Fulmer, Twyla Brunson, Scott Peterson, Richard Nance and Solveig Holmquist for their help and wisdom. Thank you to the NW Board R&S Chairs for your service. Also a special thanks to Craig Gregory at the National Office.

And finally, thank you to the membership – for making the ACDA possible. As I've said many times, my career has been profoundly influenced by this organization.

Patrick, or more accurately President Ryan, it's all yours. I'm a phone call or text away if you need anything!