Joining Voices is all about the process of making connections both within and between singers from various walks of life. All aspects of the conference are designed to help choral conductors/teachers increase the richness of their work with singers. The conference will represent the primary ACDA Repertoire and Resource areas—Youth, Collegiate, Lifelong, and Repertoire-Specific (Men’s, Women’s, Jazz, Ethnic, Contemporary/Commercial)—with a diverse, broad representation of performances and interest sessions that explore the potential for choral organizations and ensembles to create rich, rewarding, and meaningful connections between singers, audiences, and communities. In addition to celebrating our past traditions, the conference will feature ensembles and programs that represent underserved populations and/or diversities. Further, the conference will highlight innovative choral programming and practices.

Throughout the conference, you will not only hear inspiring performances (all in the incredible Marcus Center), but you will also learn from inspiring master clinicians, most of whom engage in choral music making within the Central and North Central Region’s elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools and lead church and community choirs. If you are eager to help your singers connect to one another in meaningful ways, to help them sound better, to sing with greater artistry, to better connect their musical “doing” with their musical thinking and feeling, and to value the role music plays in their lives and in the lives of our communities, then Joining Voices is for YOU!

Uihlein Hall, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts

Special Events

Immersion Day
The conference begins on Wednesday, March 4th, with Immersion Day: a day focused on working with singers who have a variety of specific needs, with special emphasis on creating meaningful connections between singers with varying abilities. Immersion Day will include sessions that focus on the unique opportunities and challenges related to building singing communities whose members have particular learning and performance needs. Participants will also have the opportunity to observe rehearsals of an honor choir that will be a first in ACDA conference history—the Joining Voices Festival Choir. The Joining Voices Festival Choir will be conducted by Anton Armstrong, with integrated body singing sessions led by Therees Hibbard.

The opening night concert of the Joining Voices Conference will bridge our Immersion Day focus on working with singers who have a variety of specific needs with our full conference focus on the process of making connections both within and between singers from various walks of life. This focus requires us to reflect, plan, and act both broadly and deeply regarding issues related to inclusion, access, unity, and diversity.

Opening Night Concert

The opening night concert will include a program by one of our auditioned choirs, the Roosevelt High School Concert Choir entitled Building Humanity… Together. The cornerstone of the program will be the premiere of a collaborative work by Kyle Pederson and the members of the choir. The composition, exploring ideas of inclusivity, connectedness, and unity, will be performed by the choir joining their voices together with invited guest singers of all abilities. Immersion Day presenter and performers, Susan Vaughan and the High Five Choir, will participate in the evening concert through a brief performance/media presentation that will be shared virtually via video. Immersion Day presenter and invited performers, G. Phillip Shoutlz, III and the VocalEssence Singers of This Age (VESOTA), will perform selections that represent the backgrounds and values of its membership. Finally, the Joining Voices Festival Choir will sing individually and in collaboration with other performers, culminating in an opening night finale you will not want to miss!

Thursday Night Concert

In alignment with our focus on innovative programming and practice, our Thursday night line-up begins with Nation, a collaborative vocal band from Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, pioneered by composer/performers Jocelyn Hagen and Timothy C. Takach. Blurring the lines of pop, classical, a cappella, singer/songwriter, folk and many other genres, Nation’s sound defies definition, and commands attention from the stage. Our evening continues with Variant 6, a vocal sextet that explores and advances the art of chamber music in the twenty-first century. Variant 6 is committed to commissioning substantial new works, collaborating closely with other ensembles, and educating a new generation of singers and composers. Variant 6 believes that its process of detailed music-making shared by its six individual artists can create deeply impactful experiences for audiences, collaborators, and students.

Friday Night
Join Voices, Wisconsin!
An evening of music celebrating our host state

Both Central and North Central Regions are home to rich and storied choral traditions.** Join Voices, Wisconsin! offers an opportunity to celebrate choral singing in our host state by presenting a sample of the larger Wisconsin singing community. Join Voices, Wisconsin! performances begin with one of the four auditioned choirs hailing from our host state, Jazz Central Voices, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, Timothy Buchholz, conductor. Our second feature of the evening consists of singers from area high schools participating in the Milwaukee High School Honor Choir, Lee Kesselman, conductor. [More from Karyl here] Our Friday evening concert also offers the opportunity to celebrate individuals in our two regions who have made a lasting impact on the choral profession: presentations of the Weston H. Noble Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Stace N. Stegman Award. Following the award presentations, conference attendees will have the opportunity to participate in an All-Conference Sing, featuring a small sample of the rich body of choral music created by composers with strong ties to the state of Wisconsin. Our celebration of choral music concludes with performances by two invited Wisconsin choirs, the Milwaukee High School of the Arts Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Raymond Roberts, Director, and finally the Madison Choral Project, Albert Pinsonneault, artistic director, who will present a program featuring music for soprano/alto voices. Throughout the evening, we will be joined by emcee, Greg Marcus, CEO of The Marcus Corporation, Milwaukee resident, and jazz pianist.