Mike Frasier, NW Division President

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine months and we're trying to deliver!
by Mike Frasier, President
May, 2005


It has been a whirlwind nine months since I took office as your division president. The time has flown by, and I have had a great time so far. Although things have not gone perfectly, I do feel good about what has been accomplished as I try to represent you and facilitate the running of division business. This is a huge job, and I am only able to get things done through the efforts of the many great conductors, teachers and choral professionals who assist me in the many tasks at hand.
 

Convention 2006 “City of Roses, City of Song”

THE largest and most consuming of all these tasks is the planning of the division convention. The planning began long before I took office as President in August and has been an almost daily activity since. The organization, planning and facilitating of the convention will continue throughout the summer, fall and winter leading to what I believe will be an outstanding convention, “City of Roses, City of Song” in Portland, Oregon March 15-18, 2006.

I would like to apprise you of some of the convention plans so that you can start planning now to attend. I have worked hard to bring outstanding conductors and headliners to Portland. Negotiations have been finalized with two of our headliners for the convention. Our headlining performance group will be “The Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers” from Los Angeles! Those of you in LA in February will remember their outstanding performance. They will present a concert Friday evening during the convention. Founder Dr. Albert McNeil is well known to the national choral community and is one of the nations pre-eminent experts on the African-American choral repertoire. He will be presenting an interest session, using a demonstration choir, on performance practice/rehearsal techniques in spirituals.

Another headliner will be Dr. James Jordan, from Westminster Choir College. Dr. Jordan will present multiple interest sessions and a reading session. James Jordan is recognized and praised from many quarters in the musical world as one of the nation's pre-eminent conductors, writers and innovators in choral music. The Choral Journal has called him a “visionary”. His career and publications have been devoted to innovative educational changes in the choral art, which have been embraced around the world. A master teacher, Dr. Jordan's pioneering writing and research concerning the use of Laban Movement Analysis for the teaching of conducting and movement to children has dramatically changed teaching in both those disciplines. He has also well known for his writings on the choral art, specifically his books, “The Musicians Soul” and “The Musicians Spirit”. His sessions should be both educational and enriching!

I was able to secure four outstanding honor choir conductors for the convention who will inspire our students and provide a truly memorable musical experience. Dr. Jerry Blackstone, from the University of Michigan, a national leader in the male chorus will conduct the HS Men’s Honor Choir and Dr. Z. Randall Stroope, will conduct the Women’s Honor Choir. Dr. Andre Thomas from Florida State University will conduct the Jr. High/Middle School Choir, and the Northwest’s own Rebecca Rottsolk will conduct the Children’s Honor Choir.

Are you excited about the convention yet? I am! Along with the great interest sessions, conductors and headliners mentioned we will be featuring over twenty of the Northwest’s most outstanding choirs, representing all of the states in our division and the province of British Columbia. And there may be more exciting news yet to come, as negotiations are ongoing to bring in an International choir from China!

Answering The Call

In my last article I talked about the need for people to contribute to ACDA and commit to making the division successful. I asked that you please "answer the call” if approached to do a job and many of you have done just that. I would like to thank President-Elect Scott Peterson for his efforts on the Performing Choir application project and state presidents Solveig Holmquist, Leslie Guelker-Cone, Lani Monds, Diane Hultgren, Ted Totorica and Kevin Allen-Schmid for shepherding the state selection committees through the daunting task of listening to all the great choirs who submitted applications. To Doug Anderson, a huge thank you for heading up the Division screening and being so extremely organized. Thank you also to the NW screening committee who sent us truly great choirs from which to choose.

Others of you who are stepping up and answering my call for assistance include the members of the NW board of directors who give so much of their time and energy for this organization. I would also like to thank all of the folks who have agreed to serve on the convention planning (and implementing) committee. You will be hearing more about these good folks later. I am still in need of volunteers to fill spots on the convention committee, so if I call please consider joining this wonderful group.

NW Division Directory

Any of you who responded to the postcard we sent last fall should now be the proud owner of a 2005 ACDA Directory. This is one of the projects that didn’t go perfectly, but all in all turned out well. The directory came out later than hoped and does not include everyone. Only those members who sent in the information prior to January 1 had their information included and then sent a directory. This is a large undertaking and I am sure some of you were missed. If you didn’t receive a directory, and you sent in the information, email me and I will try and sort out what happened. For those of you who would like a copy of the directory I will be sending the extras to state presidents. They in turn will have them available this summer and fall at state ACDA activities and can give you one at that time.

As I close, I want to leave you as always with a few quotes. I hope they inspire you in the same way that they inspire me.

“Music is the place where you learn to think with your heart and feel with your head!”

“We are what we continually do. Excellence then is not a single act, but it is a habit in the pursuit of academic and musical distinction.”

“Whatever you can do, or dream, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it,”- Goethe

This one is just for fun, but I know how she feels.

“I always wanted to be someone, but I should have been more specific!” - Lily Tomlin

Have a great summer!

President's Messages

3 - May, 2005

2 - February, 2005

1 - October, 2004

 
 
     
     
     

 

State of the Division:
A Presidential Update
on NW ACDA

By Michael Frasier, President, NW ACDA

President's Messages

3 - May, 2005
2 - February, 2005

1 - October, 2004

2 February, 2005

It is that time of year where our leaders look back and examine where the city, state, corporation or nation has gone and where it is headed in the future. This article is going to address the same subjects as they pertain to our organization.

At my first board meeting as President in August I tried to set a tone of transparent leadership and collaboration that I hope will be the hallmark of my time as President. If you have not read the minutes from that meeting, I encourage you to do so. Howard Meharg, our NW Notes Editor and web master has put them on the web page. By reading the minutes you might get a better idea of how decisions are arrived at, and to how much thought and discussion goes into the decision making process. I often hear people grumbling about how this was done, or that was done. I don’t ever take it as a complaint, but rather as a lack of information as to how things actually work at the division level. The National ACDA office has policies, rules and procedures for divisions to follow and it helps us all greatly. We were all trained as choral conductors and became what I call “benign dictators”. We were able to run our programs somewhat unilaterally, and even though that would make life somewhat easier, the division does not run that way.

Since my first article in the fall of 2004 a great many things have happened in the life of the ACDA NW Division. My time has mostly been spent organizing aspects of the division convention that will take place in Portland, Oregon March 15-18, 2006. I have secured conductors for all of the honor choirs, venues for the performances and Honor Choir Concert, a great convention hotel with very good room rates, and have worked with treasurer Carol Stewart-Smith to come up with a convention budget that will hopefully enable us to show a modest profit. I have also been working at securing a headliner for the conference. I began with great dreams (see the quote at the end of the article). So far I have been unsuccessful, but I don’t give up. I will give more details about the convention, as we get closer to 2006.

I have also been working with Vice-President Twyla Brunson and Howard Meharg at putting together a new ACDA NW Division Directory. It will be sent out the first of February. I think you will find it very helpful in your efforts to communicate with your choral colleagues. Sorry it is so late, but the info cards were a bit late in being returned to us. By board decision, only those members who returned the info cards will be included in the directory and will have a directory sent to them. Any extra directories will be made available at various ACDA functions.

A third project has been the updating and publication of the call for performing groups for the 2006 convention. Scott Peterson, ACDA NW President-Elect is in charge of this and he will have The Application for Performing Groups posted on the web page very soon. Please look for this information and think about sending in a recording of your group for consideration. I feel that having a group selected to perform is both and honor and a way of giving back to ACDA.

In my 6 months as ACDA NW Division President I have been struck by both the enormity of the job and the importance of what the ACDA NW Division officers do to see that the workings of our district run smoothly and successfully. I am excited about our organization and where it is headed, and I am honored that I was entrusted with the job of helping lead. In my first article as President I addressed The 3 C’s of Membership: Communication, Commitment and Contribution. I have tried to always remember all three in my service to you, and now it is your turn. Leaders often refer to a Call to Service when they want to rally those they have been chosen to lead. The first great President of my life put it this way: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. We have great people helping run the workings of ACDA NW, but more are needed. I hope that if I call, email or write to you asking for assistance or help with ACDA that you will be able to answer this Call to Service. I will be in touch. Will you answer the call?

Quote: “ Whatever you can do, or dream, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Goethe

On a personal note, I spent last weekend at the OMEA conference talking to many of you about ACDA and getting ideas for our conference. Thank you for your ideas and insights. I will be in LA for the national conference as both your president and as a parent of a singer in the National ACDA HS Honor Choir (Devin Frasier, Tenor II) I will look for you in the mass of humanity. I will also be in Bellevue for the NW MENC conference and hope to see you there.

Mike

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The Power of We...
Communication, Commitment, Contribution

by Michael Frasier, President, NW ACDA
  1 - October, 2004

October 2004

This is intimidating! My first Northwest Notes article as the President of the Northwestern Division of ACDA and I don’t know what to write. What could I possibly say that would be inspirational, informational or entertaining enough to be read by some of the finest choral musicians in the nation? I’ve got it! How about an article on style? Now that would be valuable. Okay, style…. Never wear a polka dot tie with a plaid sport coat! No good. All my colleagues know that already. Let’s see, how about technique? Head down, slow back swing, smooth follow through… wrong again! This is hard. What can I say? I know that everyone who reads this newsletter put together by our outstanding editor, Howard Meharg, expects the best in quality educational writing and I am failing them. How can I possibly communicate to my constituents the need for commitment…or encourage them to make a contribution to the ACDA NW Division? Wait a minute. Communication? Commitment? Contribution? That’s it: my inspirational, informational, educational, and entertaining theme for an article. I’m saved!

Enough silliness, I do have something to say that I hope will cause you to think about our organization and your part in it. I call it The 3 C’s of membership: Communication, Commitment and Contribution. What follows are my thoughts on the 3 C’s, how I can serve as a facilitator of each in our division and what YOU can do to personally address the issues of Communication, Commitment, and Contribution.

Communication
We as choral directors understand the importance of Communication when we are conducting a choir. We need to be clear, precise, and have a multitude of tools available to get information across to the differentiated learners in our groups. What works for one, doesn’t work for everyone. We also know that Communication has two parts. It needs a sender and a receiver. I need to keep those things in mind as I communicate with you. As your president I am going to be a transparent leader, communicating through our newsletter, and by email as often as possible. I want to keep you informed and feeling a part of decisions and why they were made. I also want to visit as many areas of our division as possible and talk with you about the strengths of your state or region and about your concerns, suggestions and ideas that might help make our division operations better.

Already we have set-up a division leadership list serve, where your division officers can share operational ideas, discuss board issues and communicate rapidly whenever we wish. I think it will enable to do a great deal of positive things that weren’t easily done previously.

Tywla, Howard and I have started work on a new division directory so that we all have a hard copy directory of our membership.

I am also planning a videoconference meeting for this winter that will enable the board to meet without us all having to go to a central location. This will save the board time, and the division money.

You can help with the Communication piece in three ways. First, send in the information card that you received as soon as possible. If you didn’t get one, or it got misplaced, send the information electronically to me at mfrasier@eou.edu. Do it soon. Secondly, you can drop me an email and let me know about the great choral happenings in your area. Invite me to come to a concert, festival, clinic anything that you want to brag about. I love seeing different parts of our region, hearing great choirs, and learning more about the great things happening in the Northwest. I might not get to them all, but I will know what is happening around the division. Thirdly, talk to your R & S folks. Ask them for ideas; make suggestions for the Northwest Notes or for convention interest sessions. They want to be used, but they need to have you communicate your thought and needs.

Commitment
Commitment
is another word we choral folks use a lot. Who doesn’t want choir members who are always at rehearsal, ready to work, focused on the musical and group goals? So it is with ACDA. My commitment to ACDA and the profession has always been to do the best work that I could, regardless of the time needed. I am sure that most of you have the same philosophy. We are often the first one to get to work and the last one to leave. Much of our job is extra-duty and unpaid. We don’t complain (well, sometimes a little) and go the extra mile because we know it will pay musical dividends and because we love what we do. That’s how I feel about ACDA. Much of what I do is done for the love of our profession and personal satisfaction and not for any tangible reward.

I have made a Commitment of the next 6 years to help our division prosper and I am honored to do so. I ask each of you to find a way to commit to ACDA NW. Go to an ACDA sponsored workshop, conference, in-service or festival. Take a colleague along and invite them to become a member. Go to Los Angeles in February for the National Convention. Be an advocate for ACDA and choral music. These are necessary and vital to the growth and health of our organization.

Contribution
What do you think of when you hear the word Contribution? In our choral groups Contribution is usually the word used when we list the things someone does to help the group succeed. So it is with ACDA. I hope that my contributions as your president will be evident with the evolution of my term. Already I feel that the steps I have undertaken with regard to communication and transparent leadership are making a difference. We have a complete board, with all R & S positions filled, and the convention planning is under way. I am feeling pretty good about my first 100 days.

What can you do? Along with your commitment to ACDA you might volunteer to write an article for the Northwest Notes. R & S chairs would love to have other choral directors share their thoughts. It also takes some pressure off of the R & S folks to be “inspirational, informational and entertaining”(see paragraph 1) on a regular basis. Develop an idea for an interest session at a State or Regional conference. Become an “expert” on a choral topic and become a resource to others on that topic. Help a new choral director by sharing ideas, literature, and day-to-day nuts and bolts about what you do that makes you successful.

These are only some of the things you can do for ACDA. ACDA is a great organization. It is great because ACDA members are able to communicate, commit, and contribute to their craft, their singers and their audiences. And it is great because of people like you who inspire, inform, educate and entertain me everyday.

I always close with a quote, and today is no exception. This is from “Hoop Dreams” by Phil Jackson:

The power of WE is greater than the power of ME.

Michael Frasier
Division President




   
So be it!
by Howard Meharg
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OK, so my arms were not long enough to get the newspaper far enough from my face so I could read the newspaper. Glasses? No big deal. Bifocals? Oh, all right, I can deal with that...albeit with considerable grumping around about getting used to them.

But now there’s this other thing! People just don’t talk as plainly as they used to. What ever happened to teaching public speakers how to enunciate? Don’t they know how to spit out those consonant sounds? And then there’s television...especially the “West Wing.” They talk fast and mumble. My wife walks in the room from the other side of the house and says, “Why do you have the TV turned up so loud?” “Well, duh...these actors don’t know how to speak clearly!”

Choirs? Final consonants seem to be a thing of the past. What’s wrong with these directors nowadays, don’t college conductors teach the basics of diction?

My wife, Karen is not one to beat around the bush. “You should have a hearing aid!” “What are you suggesting,” I argue, “at the age of 65, I should have an ear ring made...that’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard of...I can’t imagine...” She interrupts with what I think was a shout, “No, a HEARING AID!”

For months this went on...she talking softly to aggravate me; I, aggravating her by constantly asking her to repeat things. Then, one Sunday at church my daughter-in-law sang a solo. I couldn’t understand a word she sang. I wanted to chide her that her normally fine singing diction needed some work. But somehow I knew this was not the problem. Monday I had my hearing checked. Verification! The higher frequencies were dropping off enough to lose those consonant sounds. Oh, my God!

We think nothing of wearing glasses. Even kids sometimes have need of vision correction. My dad had hearing aides. He was old. I now have a hearing aid. I must be old. This is somehow more than getting a little “hearing correction.” This is BIG. Frankly, this literally caused some mild depression for me. It was verification of what I was seeing in the mirror and trying to deny.

Naturally I went straight to my priest. Big help there. “Yep,” he says, “I’m beginning to feel more aches and pains myself...and I’m only 55. Time surely does fly, doesn’t it.”

As I drove away from the church I turned on the radio. Garrison Keillor was quoting the poet Robert Bly, who had written about the “great Amen,” or “So Be It.” He had written:

 If a young boy leaps over seven hurdles in a row,
And an instant later is an old man reaching for his cane,
To the swiftness of it all we have to say "Amen."

Time surely does fly, doesn’t it? Hey, relax...say “Amen.” Some things have to be accepted with “so be it,” albeit, in my case, with considerable grumping around about getting used to it.

 

 

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