2016 MassACDA Summer Conference

July 17, 2016 – July 20, 2016 all-day
Smith College
7 College Ln
Northampton, MA 01060
Cathy Melhorn

Click here to register for the conference!

Click here to download the conference brochure!

Click here to learn about Graduate Credits and PDP’s from UMass Amherst!
Click here for the Graduate Credit Registration Form.

Click here to download our Summer Conference draft schedule!


Headliner Clinicians: Josephine Lee, President and Artistic Director of the Chicago Children’s Choir, and John Dickson, Chair of Ensembles and Conducting at Louisiana State University.


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, bike paths and hiking trails, and outstanding restaurants. Conference headliner clinicians: Josephine Lee (Chicago Children’s Choir) and John Dickson (Louisiana State University), an opening night Evensong by the choirs of Boston’s Trinity Church Copley Square, and public concert (July 19) by the Conference Chorus and Moriah, a division of the Young Singers of Greater Westfield.

The Conference opens Sunday at Smith College with a buffet supper and introduction of clinicians, followed by Evensong in the resonant acoustics of Mount Holyoke’s neo-gothic Abbey Chapel in nearby South Hadley (bus provided). A Conference Chorus (participation optional) will rehearse and perform Corigliano’s Fern Hill under the baton of John Dickson. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (morning only) are packed with presentations by the clinicians–outreach to urban youth, choral kinesthetics, creative programming—and distinguished ACDA members will offer interest sessions on provocative, practical, wide-ranging topics such as:

  • Vocal Health for Choral Teachers
  • Alice Parker’s Melodious Accord Hymnal
  • Building Tonal Literacy
  • Creating an LGBTQ-friendly Choir
  • Beyond Sheet Music: Inspiring and Retaining Inner-city Teens
  • Multi-movement Works for Mixed Chorus and Piano

Several reading sessions with large packets of recommended repertoire will be provided, along with opportunities for informal small group singing, socializing, and networking

Comprised of auditioned adult volunteers and young choristers—boys and girls—plus eight professional staff singers, the Choirs of Boston’s Trinity Church Copley Square sing repertoire from the broad canon of sacred choral literature. This festive liturgy, open to the public, will include psalms, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, anthems, congregational hymns, and will feature both Fisk and Skinner pipe organs. Directed by organist Richard Webster and assisted by Colin Lynch, the choirs will travel to England in August 2016, for week-long residencies at Westminster Abbey and Winchester Cathedral.

A limited number of comfortable (no air-con, but fans provided), single dorm rooms, three nights, three full breakfasts, $170 total. There are also many hotels, motels, and B&Bs in the area, but they tend to be booked up far in advance. Some private housing with local ACDA members and friends may be available.

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

PDPs & Graduate credit:
Professional Development Points 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. Payable by check to the University of Massachusetts on or before the first day of the Conference. Students are expected to attend a specified number of Conference sessions and submit a short summary paper. For more information or to register for PDPs and/or graduate credit, contact Dr. Tony Thornton at tonyt@music.umass.edu.

Conference Registration:

  • On or before June 3
    • undergraduate student $100
    • ACDA member $310
    • non-member $345
  • June 4-July 17
    • undergraduate student $125
    • ACDA member $345
    • non-member $380

No reduced fees for fewer days. Except for the Sunday Evensong, all Conference activities will take place on the campus of Smith College. Parking is free in designated areas. Conference registration must be completed online through the MassACDA website: www.massacda.org For up-to-date information, please see the MassACDA website: massacda.org or contact Catharine Melhorn, Summer Conference Chair at cmelhorn@mtholyoke.edu.

Click here to register for the conference!