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September 17, 2014

Patrick Ryan assumes the "mantle" of leadership for NW ACDA

Patrick tells us why ACDA is important to him...and to all of us!

ryanHello, ACDA Friends and Colleagues,

Welcome to the 2014 academic year! I hope your summer was enjoyable, refreshing, and restful, and that this fall finds you in a place of excited anticipation for the rewarding year to come. We are truly blessed to be in careers such as ours – we serve as catalysts for renewal and personal growth, for creative and emotional outpourings, and are stewards of the most breathtaking artwork humans have created.

As I assume the mantle of the NWACDA Presidency (humbled and a bit intimidated!), I would like to offer my heartfelt thanks to Gary Weidenaar for his excellent leadership these past two years. Not only are Gary's choirs absolutely amazing, he is also one of the nicest human beings I've ever met. Gary's steady leadership continues a tradition in the Northwest – our 1,250 members remain a very collegial, almost familial division. Gary's humble attitude, hard work, and mentorship are greatly appreciated.

Our division is served by six state presidents and a solid board representing all bd-meets-July-14of our diverse interests. Additionally, we all benefit from the service of longtime treasurer Carol Stewart-Smith and webmaster Howard Meharg. Thank you to all of our board members for their service to the choral art.

The board met in Tacoma this past July, and I am excited about the direction we are moving as both a division and a national organization.

I joined ACDA in 1995 because my mentor, Dr. Richard Sparks, told me that if I was serious about being a choral director, I simply must to belong to ACDA. So, I joined the student chapter and before I knew it was singing in Portland in 1996 with Frieder Bernius in the collegiate honor choir. Since that time, ACDA has provided me with tools and professional relationships. The networking, repertoire, skills, and inspiration I find at conferences, and the collegiality and friendships I've developed through ACDA have made my teaching, and my life, far better. I simply cannot imagine my career without the American Choral Directors Association.

With that in mind, I encourage you to assist other choral directors by taking part in the second SingUp! campaign, which begins this month. A personal invitation by you, an ACDA member, to a potential member means a lot and is the most effective way we have to share the gifts of our organization, furthering the choral art. I hope we can increase membership in NWACDA, especially among the student population and newer directors. Your Northwest Board has implemented some strategies to help bring about this goal.

  • First, our New Teacher/Director Initiative invites anyone who is new to our field to accept a ncyccomplimentary membership for their first year of teaching/directing. Our feeling is that once new directors experience what ACDA has to offer them, that they will become lifelong members of our organization. Please direct any new directors in our division to the NWACDA website, where our new Student Activities R&S Chair, Tim Westerhaus, has put an easy registration form online.
  • Our Collegiate Member Initiative hopes to increase student memberships even further than we have in the past few years. It is financed jointly between each state and the national office. New collegiate members can join for the cost of only $5. I personally buy the first year membership for each of my high school members who go on to study music education when they become freshmen in college – I urge you to do the same!
  • Each of our six states are also offering five scholarships to student members to attend the National Conference in Salt Lake City this coming February. Students, please contact your state presidents for more information concerning how to apply for this wonderful opportunity!
  • In July, the board unanimously decided to include student representation at the northwest board level. This recognizes the growth we have in student membership, and will serve not only to give a voice to students members at the divisional level, but also recognizes that the students sometimes come up with fantastic, fresh ideas that some of us "more seasoned" veterans would likely not have. We will have a link on the website by the end of the month if you would like to apply for this position; applications will be due by October 31.

Our 2016 Divisional Conference is set for March 3-6 in Seattle. President-Elect Nicole Lamartine and I are busily engaging headliners and honor choir directors, and we're really excited about the offerings we have to share with you.

To conclude my first missive as president, I would like to borrow Gary Weidenaar's words from two years ago, as they perfectly sum up my feelings. "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."

Contact Patrick Ryan HERE