Colleen Kirk Award

Dr. Colleen Kirk served as national president of the American Choral Directors Association from 1981-1983 and may be best known for her pioneering role in shaping ACDA’s National Standing Committee on Repertoire & Standards. Dr. Kirk spent fifity years devoted to choral music, and worked closely with Harold Decker in developing the choral conducting doctoral program at the University of Illinois. She was the author of numerous articles and co-authored Choral Conducting: Focus on Communication with Harold Decker. Dr. Kirk’s leadership in church music inspired generations of singers and conductors. She was the sixth recipient of the Robert Shaw Choral Award.

The Award

In recognition of the outstanding achievements and contributions to ACDA and choral music education made by Dr. Kirk throughout her long and distinguished career, the Colleen Kirk Award is established to promote the ideals and standards represented by her life and work. Contributions to the lasting impact of this fund may be made by contacting ACDA’s National Office.

The award is presented to new and aspiring choral conductors who are members of ACDA, in support of their attendance at regional or national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. Choral music teachers in their first three years of full-time pre-collegiate teaching will be eligible. The award supports a goal articulated at the National Leadership conference in August 2001 that ACDA provide support and mentoring for aspiring and new teachers in choral music education.

2018 Award Recipient

Caroline Morse

Caroline Morse

Winner of the 2018 Colleen Kirk Award

Caroline Morse is the Choral Director at Warhill High School in Williamsburg, VA. Throughout her two years of teaching, she has created performance opportunities for her students at Disney World, Atlanta (GA), William and Mary, the Williamsburg-James City County School Board, WTKR News Channel 3, and Kings Dominion. Her Honors Choir received superior ratings at their District Assessment this past year.

Caroline graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honors from James Madison University where she received her degree in Music Education. During her time at JMU, Caroline served as Choral Librarian, Treasurer for the ACDA collegiate chapter, and was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity. She is also a core alto singer with both the Virginia Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Virginia Chorale.

2020 Award Application

Choral music teachers in their first three years of full-time pre-collegiate teaching are eligible to apply for the Colleen Kirk Award, which provides complimentary registration to the regional conference and a stipend to assist with travel.

The application process consists of an application form, a one-page letter stating your goals in attending the conference, and a letter of recommendation from a teacher, colleague, or administrator (include phone number and email address in recommendation for verification).

Recipients of the award will submit a report to the division president within one year, following receipt of the award. Availability of funds will determine the number and amount of the awards presented annually.

Completed applications for the 2020 Colleen Kirk Award will open on October 7, 2019 and will be due by November 6, 2019. Only fully completed applications will be considered. The award recipient will be notified by November 15, 2019. 

Questions about the application process and/or completed application forms should be directed to Connie Drosakis at