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‘It’s an honor’: WHS Concert Choir to appear at ACDA state conferenc

Members of the Worthington High School Concert Choir are shown outside the WHS entrance. (Rickers Photography Studio)

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington High School Concert Choir will sing at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Minnesota chapter’s American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) 2018 conference.

“This is an honor, but it’s definitely a challenge as well,” said Kerry Johnson, WHS choral director since 2009.

“The ACDA is a national professional organization of choral directors, with chapters in each state, so my choir will perform for my professional peers,” she continued.

“I want them to be at their best because we’ll perform literature that may spark ideas for other directors throughout the state.”

Johnson explained that, typically, choirs chosen to sing at state ACDA conferences must send in audition recordings representing three years of work.

“That demonstrates the consistency of a choral program to the selection committee,” said Johnson.

“But the focus of this year’s conference is on Greater Minnesota, so instead of that audition process, district ACDA chairs were asked to submit nominations so choirs from throughout the state were sure to be represented.”

Johnson’s southwest Minnesota choral colleague, Seana Graber of Luverne High School, is the current ACDA Southwest District chair. It was Graber who nominated the 62-voice WHS Concert Choir for the prestigious nod.

“We’re incredibly honored to be nominated and selected,” affirmed Johnson. “That said, this has pushed us because we had to prepare six pieces to fill a 25-minute slot.

“At a typical home concert, the choir would perform three or maybe four pieces due to the other choirs or musical ensembles involved helping fill out the program, so this has stretched my students in both the depth and amount of literature they’ve had to learn.”

On Tuesday night, Johnson led her choristers in a send-off concert at Memorial Auditorium Performing Arts Center. Her hope was that the concert format would be a helpful warm up to their high visibility performance on Friday.

“Really, this has been a fun process to take on,” she said. “It’s allowed us time to develop our pieces and continue to improve, and we also gained from the feedback received from clinician Dr. Axel Theimer at the Big South Choral Festival in St. James on Nov. 5.”

Johnson received the ACDA invitation last spring; to the best of her knowledge, this is the first time a WHS choir will have sung at a state ACDA conference.

Other secondary school choirs from around the state that will share the ACDA stage with WHS are from Baxter, Bemidji, Duluth, Hawley, Mantorville and Roseville.

The Minnesota ACDA conference concert sessions are open to the public and supporters are encouraged to attend; there is an admission fee. The WHS Concert Choir performs from 3:30-3:55 p.m. Friday in the sanctuary of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 900 Stillwater Road, Mahtomedi.

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