Kansas State’s American Choral Director’s Association aims to improve choral community through new program

Stephanie Goering, senior in music education, is the president of K-State’s chapter of American Choral Director’s Association. (Mariah Stadel | The Collegian)

The American Choral Director’s Association is one of a few student organization on Kansas State’s campus that is specific to choral music. They are trying to better the choral community all together, Stephanie Goering, senior in music education and president of K-State’s chapter of ACDA, said.

Goering said that the organization is introducing a new program this year called “music mates,” where they pair upperclassman with underclassman members so they can learn from one another.

“We’re basically fostering a community within ACDA instead of individuals,” Goering said. “It’s really student-centered (that way).”

The organization also holds activity nights where the members get together and simply have fun, Goering said. They held an ice cream social this past September and are having a Halloween party on Oct. 27th.

“You just get to be in a big group of people that all love choir in a non-choir situation,” Goering said.

Their semimonthly meetings are a mix of music education labs, guest speakers and social events, like the ice cream social, for members to come and just have fun, Goering said.

The music labs are designed to help the members hone their music skills. They work on everything from sight-singing, music education and practice conducting and directing an ensemble, Goering said.

Sarah Keller, sophomore in music education, said that she enjoys the labs because they’re in more of a fun environment and they are able to work on their skills outside of the classroom.

“You’re doing (labs) with other people with who, that’s their goal, is to improve themselves and you’re not taking away time from non-majors this way,” Keller said.

In the past, music professionals such as Janeal Krehbiel, founder and artistic director of the Lawrence Children’s Choir and David Wood, music professor at K-State, have come and spoken to the organization. Bringing in music professionals around the K-State area gives the members the opportunity to get advice they can use after college, according to Goering.

“The biggest benefit I get out of ACDA is the opportunity to develop as a music educator with other growing professionals,” Ryan Dillon, senior in music education and ACDA’s public relations chair, said.

On top of their meetings, members are also able to attend regional and national ACDA conferences to be able to network with directors and develop their professional skills, Goering said.

“I went to one day of the Southwestern conference last school year and left with a million applications which I’ve used to better my personal musicianship and my leadership as a conductor,” Dillon said.

Goering said that ACDA’s goal is to help people better themselves as choir members. ACDA is a national organization composed of both choral directors and student chapters, as well as both music majors and and non-music majors.

“Being a part of ACDA is such a rewarding experience for me,” Goering said. “Not only do I get to work with so many awesome choral lovers and future music educators from our school, but I get to connect with others from all over the state and country who have the same love of choir as I do.”