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Howard Meharg presented "Leadership, Excellence in and Devotion to The Choral Art" award at NW Convention in Vancouver, BC

Howard Meharg, of Vancouver, Washington was presented the bi-annual Leadership award at the 2008 NW ACDA convention held in Vancouver, B.C. on Thursday afternoon, February 21. Michael Frasier, immediate past-president of the organization made the presentation.

"Good afternoon. My name is Michael Frasier, Vice President of ACDA NW."

"One of the few responsibilities that the Vice President has is to oversee the nomination and selection process for the NW Division CHORAL LEADERSHIP AWARD."

"Established in 2000, this award is presented every two years to an ACDA NW member who has served the division, “Through Leadership, Excellence In and Devotion to The Choral Art”. Previous winners were Royce Saltzman, 2000: Lynn Sjolund, 2002; Paul Schultz, 2004; and Connie Branton, 2006."

"Before I announce this year’s recipient, I would like to share some highlights of his long devotion to ACDA and the Choral Art. Now, I wanted to keep this suspenseful, but as soon as I start listing his many, and I do mean MANY, accomplishments, it will become evident that our recipient is a perfect choice."

"Our Choral Leadership recipient spent his entire 30-year public school teaching career in the same SW Washington community that he grew up in. It was here that he inspired many future ACDA leaders, including former ACDA NW President Karen Fulmer and well-known educators Neil Laurance and Paul Dennis."

"Furthermore, our winner -

  • Is a member of the Washington Music Educators Hall Of Fame
  • A 2-time President of Washington ACDA
  • The Founder of The Male Ensemble Northwest
  • Editor of The ACDA Northwest Notes
  • Webmaster for ACDA NW Online, Washington ACDA Online, and Oregon ACDA Online
  • He was the founder and conductor of The Living Light Ensemble and The Columbian Chorale
  • He served as Music Director at the St. Stephens Episcopal Church in his native Longview
  • He is the co-founder of ED-WEB. A website development company that works with schools, businesses and organizations to better use information technology"

"His friend and colleague, Tim Russell, said this about him, 'Howard is an IDEA guy. If he can perceive it mentally, there won’t be much that will stand in his way of making it happen.'"

"Ladies and gentleman, it is my pleasure to present this year’s CHORAL LEADERSHIP AWARD to a wonderful TEACHER, SINGER, MUSICIAN, CONDUCTOR, MENTOR, LEADER, VISIONARY, INSPIRATION, ROLE MODEL, AND FRIEND… HOWARD MEHARG!"

Howard responded by saying, "One of the good things that come my way by working on ACDA newsletters and websites is receiving newsletters from other state and divisions. Often I find material that just cries out to be shared with you."

"One such article came my way a short time ago. It was written by Kevin Meidl, president-elect of the North Central Division and it appeared in the Winter edition of Melisma, that division's newsletter."

"Kevin says, 'We choral directors are dreamers! With our active imaginations we connect with our singers and lead them on toward a musical experience, one that we hope becomes significant in their lives.'"

"He quotes a poem by Joan Baez and now set to music for women's voices by Gwyneth Walker. It goes:

To sing is to love and affirm,
to fly and soar,
to coast into the hearts of people who listen,
to tell them that life is to live,
that love is there,
that nothing is a promise,
but that beauty exists and must be hunted for and found.

"I've talked of this in the past. The year that I retired from teaching, I shared this attempt at poetry with my students. It's called 'A Glimpse.'

A glimpse is often all we see,
a distant sound, a fragrance fine,
Fleeting hints of melody,
a photograph, a chosen line.
We're often stunned, even though it's brief,
the majesty, the rarely viewed,
Sights and sounds beyond belief
promise hope, a heart renewed.
Thus, we sing
and pause to catch of glimpse of the divine.
For beauty, art, are noble cause,
I think...a look at Grand Design.

"What an honor to be recognized today among all of you dreamers!
You who dare to speak of beauty. You who don't just stand and look at art,
but who are also so brave as to jump in and rebuild a monument...from the pieces on the page."

"Any of you who may be discouraged in this hunting expedition, don't give up.
Remember,'nothing is a promise,
But beauty exists and must be hunted for and found!'
That's why we're here."

"Thank you NW ACDA for this great honor."

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