President's Page

Vic Oakes

Vic Oakes

ACDA Southern Region

August 2019


As I reflect on August – how it brings new school years, choir seasons, and the other “life cycles” of the chorus – I wanted to share a reflection of personal experience that I hope might provide a spark of encouragement about the task ahead. 

Over the last few months, I have participated as a singer in the “Summer Choir” at my place of worship – this is a varied collection of singers who participate as they are able due to summer plans, mission trips, vacation schedules, etc. with a limited (typically morning of) rehearsal schedule. As a result, the ensemble is comprised of both veteran choir members and several others who might not be able to commit to consistent involvement during the regular fall-spring choir season. While the participation varied from week to week, the singers regularly included octogenarians, an eleven-year old, and everything in between. In the span of about thirty minutes, a new anthem was read, rehearsed, prepared, and polished for the service to occur just an hour or so later.

The director – impressively and equally gifted in musicianship, talent, encouragement, and mentorship – is an absolute master at his craft, and is the perfect person for this intimidating task. Despite the relative “newness” of the selection (and the choir members!) each week, he quickly and effectively led the singers through navigating the score, employing proper vocal pedagogy, interpreting the composer’s intent, and building ensemble skills in a quick but thorough fashion. His rehearsal pacing actively involved all facets of the seven-decade difference in the choir loft while keeping every singer engaged and encouraged. With pencil at the ready, I filled my own scores with items I felt helped me as a singer as well as anecdotes to bring back to my own rehearsals and classrooms in the year ahead. Given a schedule that I am sure mirrors many of my ACDA colleagues, I sadly am unable to regularly participate in a choir as a singer, so this experience was thoroughly enlightening, encouraging, and educational.

Our Southern Region Conference – Lift Every Voice! – promises to be this for each of you. We are fortunate to have several of our colleagues offering their insight, artistry, and experience through performances, interest sessions, symposia, and a host of other offerings that will engage, refresh, and inspire you in Mobile, Alabama. Moreover, the conference committee has set about creating experiences that will include and celebrate several choral constituencies found under ACDA’s umbrella, and it will not be difficult to find yourself discovering a part of the choral world that will soon become a favorite. Make plans to join us March 11-14, 2020 in Mobile!