Calendar of Events

Children’s Choir Reading Session @ First Unitarian Universalist Society
Sep 22 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Looking for new repertoire for your children’s choir?

Come to a reading session sponsored by MassACDA!

“Field-tested Favorites for Children’s Choir”

Saturday, September 22, 2018
9 AM – noon
First Unitarian Universalist Society
1326 Washington St., West Newton

Several of your esteemed colleagues will bring multiple copies of their favorite pieces for us to read through, and you’ll go home with a curated list of tried-and-true repertoire. Appropriate for elementary and middle school teachers, church musicians and conductors of community youth choirs. Light refreshments provided. Cost: ACDA Members $20, Non-members $25, Students $10.

Click here to register now!

For more information contact K.C. Conlan at (413) 530-9337 or

2018 MassACDA & UMass High School Choral Festival @ UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center--Bezanson Recital Hall
Oct 20 all-day

Registration EXTENDED! The new deadline is Saturday, October 13th. Cost: $45 per singer

8:00 am registration, 9:00 am start time, 5:30 pm Performance

The High School Choral Festival welcomes high school choral singers and their directors to participate in one combined SATB ensemble.

No auditions required; directors can honor their finest and submit singers for the combined choir. Participants will sing alongside members of the UMass Amherst Chamber Choir and University Chorale. If you have any questions, please contact High School Choir R&R Chair Kirk Averitt at

Click here to register!

The Festival Chorus will be conducted by Dr. Stephen A. Paparo, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Stephen A. PaparoDr. Stephen A. Paparo is Associate Professor of Music Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and conductor of the University Chorale. He holds degrees from Michigan State University (Ph.D.), Syracuse University (M.M.), and Ithaca College (B.M.), and is a Guild Certified Practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method® of somatic education. As a former public school teacher, he taught junior and senior high school choral music for ten years in New Hartford, New York, and earned National Board Certification in 2002.

Dr. Paparo is active as a guest conductor and has conducted honors choirs in Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. He has presented at international, national, and state conferences, including International Symposium on Performance Science (Kyoto, Japan), The Phenomenon of Singing International Symposium (St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada), Suncoast Music Education Research Symposium (Tampa, FL), and American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division Conference. He is President for the Massachusetts chapter for the American Choral Directors Association, and has previously served as Student Activities chair.

His research interests include the application of the Feldenkrais Method to singing instruction in the choral setting, non-traditional choral ensembles, such as contemporary collegiate a cappella, virtual choirs, and circle singing groups, and LGBTQ studies in music education. He is published in Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, International Journal of Music Education, and Music Education Research, and has a chapter, “Circle singing: Composing Improvisation and Improvising Composition” in Musicianship: Composing in Choir, published by GIA. His compositions, “Sing in Harmony!” and “A Musical Pun-ology”, for beginning choirs are published by Alfred Music.


Mass in G by Franz Schubert
“If Music Be The Food of Love” by David C. Dickau


8:00 – 9:00 am Registration (Bezanson Recital Hall Lobby)
9:00 – 9:15 am Tutti warm-up with Dr. Paparo (Bezanson Recital Hall)
9:30 – 10:30 am SATB sectionals
10:45 – 12:00 pm Tutti rehearsal with Dr. Paparo (Bezanson Recital Hall)
12:00 – 1:15 pm Lunch (Franklin Dining Commons)

  • 1:00 – 2:00 pm UMass Ensembles (FAC stage)
    • 1:00 – 1:30 pm: University Chorale
    • 1:30 – 2:00 pm: Chamber Choir

1:15 – 3:00 pm Full rehearsal
3:00 – 3:15 pm Ensemble moves to FAC stage
3:15 – 4:45pm Dress rehearsal on stage
4:45 – 5:15 pm Dress & prepare for Concert
5:15 – 5:25 pm Warm-up & move to seats at 5:25pm
5:30 – 7:00 pm  2018 MassACDA High School/Collegiate Festival Concert

Registration Details

Step 1: Register using the online form linked below by SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13th. Please submit singers for each voice part for the SATB chorus. The form only allows for up to 12 students (SATB/SATB/SATB). If you wish to send more than 12 students, simply fill out a separate Google form to register every student. We would like to have as balanced an ensemble as possible. Please contact Kirk Averitt ( with any questions regarding registration. Click here to register!

Step 2: Upon registration, you will be emailed an invoice by MassACDA treasurer Chris Clark for $45.00 per student. Please submit your student’s fees in the form of one check as soon as possible in order to complete the registration process. Payment MUST be received prior to the festival itself or you and your students will not be allowed to participate.

Step 3: Please make sure all students are adequately prepared. There will be a random grouping of students selected at the beginning of the rehearsal day who will be tested on parts of the literature. Details on the testing policy can be found below. Please email Kirk Averitt ( with any questions.

Student Preparation Testing Guidelines


The leadership of MassACDA has decided to continue a testing procedure for students attending the 2018 Festival. The purpose of this decision is to ensure all students are adequately prepared for the festival with all music learned prior to arrival. This will allow all students to enjoy the most rewarding and positive experience.

Testing Guidelines

After the warm-up, students will be selected at random for testing; at least one student from every school in attendance will be selected. The students will then be asked to sing portions of the previously prepared festival music for a panel of adjudicators. Students will heard in small groups; and no student will be asked to sing alone. At the conclusion of the testing, the students will return to rehearsal for the remainder of the festival.


If the panel of adjudicators feels that one or more of the students were ill-prepared for the festival, that school will be given a warning for the 2018 year. If the school receives another warning at the 2019 festival, the school will be asked not to participate in the 2020 festival. If you have any questions about these procedures, please feel free to contact Kirk Averitt (

Contemporary A Cappella Festival @ 1st Lt. Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School
Dec 8 all-day

Registration is now available for the MassACDA Contemporary A Cappella Festival! Deke Sharon, the “godfather of a cappella,” will be presenting a morning seminar and working with a cappella groups from across Massachusetts, in preparation for a showcase concert that evening. Several different tracks are available; to sign up your a cappella group for a masterclass, or to attend all or part of the day as an observer, click the link below!

Click here to register now!

If you have any questions, reach out to Shannon McNulty at


2019 MassACDA Intercollegiate Choral Festival @ Endicott College
Feb 16 @ 9:30 am – 8:30 pm

Drawing choirs from colleges across the state, the Intercollegiate Choral Festival is a special opportunity for programs to join forces and sing sections of a major work with instrumental accompaniment, all the while working with an esteemed choral conductor. The all-day festival offers a chance to connect with professionals and other area students who love to sing. Ensembles will also have the opportunity to perform for each other in a communal “informance” during the afternoon.

Click here to register!


Der Herr denket an uns, BWV 196 – J.S. Bach
Kyrie and Gloria from Missa in Angustiis (“Nelson Mass”) – F.J. Haydn

Click here to download the Bach score and here to download the Haydn score.


Professor Marguerite Brooks joined the Yale faculty in 1985 as chair of the choral conducting program at the School of Music and director of choral music at the Institute of Sacred Music. Active as a guest conductor, teacher, and clinician, she has been a juror for the Eric Ericson conducting competition in Sweden; she has conducted, given master classes, taught, and adjudicated in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. She has served on the faculties of Smith and Amherst Colleges, and was director of choral music at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Brooks was cited by the Yale School of Music for cultural leadership in music, and has received alumni awards for distinguished work in her field from both Mount Holyoke College and Temple University. The Connecticut chapter of the ACDA honored her with its 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. She is most proud to have been honored recently as a Woman in History by the Barnard School.


The registration fee is $30 per singer, which includes dinner. There will not be any group rates this year. The registration deadline is January 31, 2019. To register yourself as an individual observer, please contact Jonathan Harvey at

Click here to register!

2019 ACDA National Conference: Kansas City, MO @ Kansas City, MO
Feb 27 – Mar 2 all-day

The 2019 ACDA National Conference will be held in Kansas City, MO.  Keep an eye on the National ACDA website as more information is released.

2019 Big Sing Central @ Fay School
Mar 16 all-day


Non-competitive, Adjudicated Youth and Children’s Choir Festivals

**This event is fully subscribed and registration is now closed.**

Participating choirs will have the opportunity to present short, individual performances, also to listen to the performances of other choirs and to join together in singing a combined final selection. Singers and directors alike gain a sense of being part of a larger, enthusiastic community of choral musicians!

Fay School, Southborough, MA
March 16, 2019

Conductor/Adjudicator – Dr. Pamela Mindell

Pamela Mindell is Artistic Director of the Worcester Children’s Chorus and Music Director of the Cambridge Community Chorus. She has served on the faculties of Smith College, Clark University, and College of the Holy Cross. Under her direction, the Holy Cross choirs traveled to Italy and Spain, as well as throughout the Northeastern United States, singing in such venues as Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Other performance highlights include a concert of Sacred Latin American music with renowned soprano Dawn Upshaw, and Osvaldo Golijov’s Pasion segun San Marco, as part of the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center.

Pamela has worked with a number of children’s choirs, including the Litchfield County Children’s Choir in CT and the Paradise City Children’s Choir, in Northampton, MA, which she founded in 2001. She served as Artistic Director of the Hotchkiss Summer Portals Vocal Chamber Program (CT) for high school singers for ten years.

Prior to her college teaching, Pamela spent a year in Sydney, Australia, conducting and singing professionally. She has sung with The Boston Secession and Emmanuel Music in Boston. Pamela received her doctorate in Choral Conducting from Yale University, where she studied with Marguerite Brooks and David Connell. She holds a master’s degree in Music Education with Kodàly Certification from The Hartt School as well as a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Princeton University.

2019 Big Sing East @ Christ Episcopal Church
Mar 23 all-day


Non-competitive, Adjudicated Youth and Children’s Choir Festivals

**This event is fully subscribed and registration is now closed.**

Participating choirs will have the opportunity to present short, individual performances, also to listen to the performances of other choirs and to join together in singing a combined final selection. Singers and directors alike gain a sense of being part of a larger, enthusiastic community of choral musicians! Application Deadline is Monday, January 7th.

Christ Episcopal Church, Needham, MA
March 23, 2019

Festival Conductor/Adjudicator – Dr. Jennifer Kane

Jennifer Kane serves on the education faculty of the Handel and Haydn Society as the Conductor of the Handel and Haydn Singers, Youth Chorus, and Concert Choir. She is also Music Director of Cantilena: A Women’s Chorale. Previously, Kane was the Artistic Director of the Worcester Children’s Chorus, where she built a thriving and multi-level program with an active performance schedule and frequent collaborations; the Artistic Director of PALS Children’s Chorus in Brookline, where she prepared the chorus for collaborations with the Back Bay Chorale, Boston Musica Viva, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra; and the Artistic Director of the Spivey Hall Young Artists, the treble ensemble that serves as the training choir for the nationally renowned Spivey Hall Children’s Choir.

Kane was the Artistic Director of Atlanta Schola Cantorum, an auditioned ensemble specializing in Renaissance polyphony and Twentieth century compositions. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution described Kane’s work: “Such depth of expression – a fusion of harmonies and texts – was the hallmark of Kane and her singers.” Kane holds a BA in Music from Furman University, an MM in Choral Conducting from Georgia State University, and a DMA in Conducting from Boston University.

2019 MassACDA Summer Conference @ Smith College
Jul 14 @ 2:30 pm – Jul 17 @ 1:00 pm

Click here to register for the conference!

Click here for a complete schedule of events for the conference.

Our annual MassACDA Summer Conference is designed to inspire choral conductors at every career stage! It is held on the campus of Smith College in Northampton, MA. It is less than two hours drive west from Boston in the Pioneer Valley, which is home to the Five Colleges (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and UMass), an area rich with history, bucolic farmland, bike paths and hiking trails, and outstanding restaurants.

Conference headliner clinicians are two fantastic conductor-composers: Andrea Ramsey and Rosephanye Powell.

The Conference opens Sunday with a buffet supper and an opening night Brahms’ Requiem sing led by Dr. Wayne Abercrombie, in honor of Joseph Flummerfelt. A Conference Chorus (participation optional) will rehearse and perform a public concert under the baton of both Andrea Ramsey and Rosephanye Powell on the evening of Tuesday, July 16.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are packed with presentations by the clinicians and distinguished ACDA members, who will offer interest sessions on provocative, practical, and wide-ranging topics that will be beneficial to public school teachers, community chorus directors, collegiate directors, and music in worship leaders. Several reading sessions with large packets of recommended repertoire will be provided, along with opportunities for informal small group singing, socializing, and networking.

Dr. Andrea Ramsey enjoys an international presence as a composer, conductor, scholar, and music educator. Her teaching experiences range from work with adolescent and children’s voices to high school and collegiate voices. She enjoys regular opportunities to conduct all-state and divisional level honor choirs, festival events at Carnegie Hall, and serves as a principal conductor for the Pacific International Young Women’s Choral Festival in Eugene, Oregon. Before leaping into full time composing and guest conducting, Andrea held positions in music education and conducting at The Ohio State University and the University of Colorado, respectively. An ASCAPlus award-winning composer, Andrea believes strongly in the creation of new works. Her compositions are available with traditional publishers and also through MusicSpoke, a digital sheet music marketplace. She enjoys residency collaborations with ensembles and festival choirs, some of which have included: the Allegro Choirs of Kansas City, Ithaca College, and the Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans.

Dr. Rosephanye Dunn Powell has been hailed as one of America’s premier women composers of choral music. She has an impressive catalogue of works published by some of the nation’s leading publishers.

Dr. Powell is commissioned yearly to compose for university choruses, professional, community and church choirs, as well as secondary school choruses. Dr. Powell’s works have been conducted and premiered by nationally-renowned choral conductors. Her work has been auctioned by Chorus America and her compositions are in great demand at choral festivals around the country, frequently appearing on the regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, as well as honor choir festivals. Dr. Powell’s compositions include sacred and secular works for mixed chorus, women’s chorus, men’s chorus, and children’s voices. Dr. Powell serves as a Charles Barkley Endowed Professor and Professor of Voice at Auburn University. She holds degrees from The Florida State University (D.M. in vocal performance, University Fellow), Westminster Choir College (M.M. in vocal performance and pedagogy, with distinction), and Alabama State University (B.M.E., summa cum laude). Dr. Powell served on the faculties of Philander Smith College (AR) and Georgia Southern University prior to Auburn University.

Conference Registration: includes Sunday supper, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday lunches, and three coffee breaks, as well as choral music packets.

On or before June 1:

  • ACDA member $315
  • Non-member $350
  • Full-time student $100

June 2–July 14:

  • ACDA member $350
  • non-member $385
  • full-time student $100

No reduced fees for fewer days. All conference activities will take place on the campus of Smith College. Parking is free in designated areas.

Smith Dorm Housing (Sun, Mon & Tues nights): Comfortable and conveniently located single dorm room with linens supplied and fan (no air conditioning) for three nights. Three full breakfasts included. Total cost $185.

Meals: Two dinners are on your own, which are opportunities to experience the outstanding and varied cuisine of dozens of local restaurants.

PDPs & Graduate Credit: Professional development points (PDPs) are available to conference participants at no charge. Up to two graduate credits are available from UMass Amherst, contingent on enrollment of eight students. Cost: one credit $145, two credits: $245. Contact Stephen Paparo,, with any questions.

Click here to register for the conference!

Click here for a complete schedule of events for the conference.

2020 ACDA Eastern Division Conference: Rochester, NY @ Rochester, NY
Mar 4 – Mar 7 all-day

The 2020 ACDA Eastern Division Conference will be held in Rochester, NY.  Keep an eye on the ACDA Eastern Division website as more information is released.