2014 MassACDA Summer Conference at Smith College

July 20, 2014 – July 23, 2014 all-day
Smith College
51 College Lane
Northampton, MA 01060
Cathy Melhorn

Click here to register for the conference!

Click here to download the 2014 Summer Conference Brochure

Click here to download the draft conference schedule (subject to change)

PDP’s and Graduate Credit information

For more information on PDP’s or graduate credit for attending the conference, please click here

Click here for the UMASS Amherst Credit Course registration form.

Complete this form if you are applying for PDP’s.

The Conference

A conference to inspire choral conductors at every career stage! Less than two hours drive west from Boston, in the Pioneer Valley, home to the “Five Colleges” (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith, and UMass), an area rich with history, bucolic farmland, stunning campuses, bike paths and hiking trails, and amazing restaurants. Conference headliners: Dr. Betsy Cook Weber, Director of Choral Activities, University of Houston, and Dr. Mary Goetze, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University; featuring a collaborative public performance (July 22) of James Whitbourn’s Annelies by Boston-based Coro Allegro and Chorus pro Musica, with optional participation by Conference registrants.

The Conference opens with a Sunday evening welcome buffet, followed by informal singing, a keynote lecture and optional Annelies rehearsal for Conference registrants. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are packed with presentations by our headliner clinicians, as well as interest sessions led by distinguished ACDA members on provocative, practical, wide-ranging topics. Possible topics include:

  • Unique rounds for warm up and performance
  • Commissioning new works
  • Shape Note singing
  • The Feldenkrais Method for conductors and singers
  • Super repertory for the all-volunteer church choir
  • Vocal health for choral teachers
  • Choirs, Connections and Community

Many sessions will introduce repertory (packets provided) for all levels, including multicultural selections, music for men’s and women’s choirs, music in worship, and for university and community ensembles. The conference also provides participants with many opportunities for socializing and networking.

Headliner Clinicians

Betsy Cook Weber, headliner clinician

Betsy Cook Weber, headliner clinician

At the University of Houston, Dr. Betsy Cook Weber directs the Moores School Concert Chorale, and the University Women’s Chorus and teaches various courses in conducting, rehearsal techniques and choral literature. Her choirs performed for the national ACDA conference in Miami (2007), two Texas MEA conventions (2005 & 2008), and for the prestigious Eisteddfod in Wales, UK, where her Chorale won or placed in three different categories. She served for seven years as Assistant, and later Associate, Director of the Houston Symphony Chorus where she assisted in the preparation of large choral-orchestral works for conductors such as Christoph Eschenbach, Robert Shaw, Robert Page, Peter Schrier, and Nicholas McKeegan among many others. Before coming to the University of Houston, Dr. Weber taught public-school vocal music (K-12) and directed the Spring Branch Boys and Girls Choirs. She is active as a conductor, clinician, lecturer, and adjudicator and comes to us with the highest recommendations from one of last year’s Conference attendees and many professionals.

Betsy Cook Weber’s sessions include:

  • Boot Camp for Conductors
  • Ten Commandments of Leading Good Rehearsals: When Research and Common Sense Converge
  • 33 Opinionated Ideas about Selecting Repertoire
Mary Goetze, headliner clinician

Mary Goetze,
headliner clinician

Recently retired from Indiana University, Dr. Mary Goetze has been one of the driving forces of the children’s choir movement in the United States for decades. Her compositions, arrangements and her research on children’s voices have influenced music teachers throughout the world. At IU Dr. Goetze developed a curriculum in general studies and directed the IU Children’s Choirs. In 1995 she founded the IU International Vocal Ensemble (IVE) to recreate vocal music from around the globe, and co-authored Global Voices, a series of interactive CD‐ROMs and DVDs to make music of diverse cultures—including South Africa, Japan, Hungary, Azerbaijan, and New Zealand—accessible for classrooms and choirs beyond the IVE. Her sessions on ways to approach the multiple vocal techniques employed around the globe, as well as “democracy in the choral rehearsal”—ways to involve singers in musical decision-making—should interest conductors at all levels.

Mary Goetze’s sessions include:

  • Democracy & Artistic Citizenship
  • Repertoire for Children and Youth
  • Preparing Multicultural Repertoire: Honoring the Culture through Respectful Recreation of the Music

James Whitbourn’s Annelies

On July 22, in a public concert co-sponsored by MassACDA and the Smith College Music Department, singers from Singers from Coro Allegro (David Hodgkins, Director) and Chorus pro Musica (Jamie Kirsch, Director), with soprano soloist Lynn Eustis (Boston University faculty), and chamber instrumental ensemble, will present this first major choral setting of The Diary of Anne Frank. Whitbourn’s music for this work has been described as ‘woundingly beautiful’ (The Daily Telegraph). He reflects sounds of the Westerkerk bells and tunes heard on the radio in the Annexe, along with representations of Anne Frank’s Jewish and German heritage, details that add to a score ‘whose respectful understatement is its greatest strength’ (The Times). Conference registrants are invited to join in the singing of the work’s central “chorale.”

One ticket for the performance of Annelise is included in the conference registration.  For tickets without conference registration, please click here.  The concert is preceded by a 7 pm pre-concert lecture by Prof. Joshua Jacobson, distinguished authority on Jewish music, on this work and other musical commemorations of the Holocaust.


Conference participants may choose to meet with individuals from a panel of outstanding Massachusetts conductors during “Face2Face” sessions. Face2Face conductors include Wayne Abercrombie, KC Conlan, Bill Cutter, Ann Howard Jones, and headliner clinician Betsy Cook Weber.

More Details


Smith College campus, single rooms, un-airconditioned (fans provided), three nights, three breakfasts, $140 total. There are also many hotels, motels, and B&Bs in the area; however, they tend to be booked up far in advance.


Sunday supper, Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday lunches, and several refreshment breaks are included in the registration fee. Dinners are independent, an opportunity to experience the outstanding and varied cuisine of dozens of local restaurants.

Click here to register for the conference!

MassACDA would like to thank these Conference sponsors:

WCT Logo

World Cultural Tours


Cousin's Concert Attire

Cousin’s Concert Attire