2012 Summer Conference


2012 MassACDA Summer Conference

July 15–18, 2012

Gordon College

Wenham, Massachusetts

MassACDA welcomes all choral conductors to its summer conference.



The MassACDA Summer Conference has all the elements that will help busy choral musicians recharge their creative batteries: a restful setting with a scenic view, time to reflect with other choral musicians, singing of inspiring music, tidbits of choral wisdom from nationally recognized clinicians, and a 60-piece packet of carefully selected music! This is why the Massachusetts conference attracts attendees from Massachusetts, surrounding states, and even some from the Midwest and western states.

The conference will be held in the Phillips Music Building of Gordon College in Wenham, MA, July 15-18, 2012. It will provide sessions of interest to conductors of all levels and types of choirs. Our featured clinicians this year are Dr. Daniel Bara from the University of Georgia, and Deborah Mello, Founder and Artistic Director of the Children’s Chorus of Sussex County, NJ. In addition, Dr. Deanna Joseph, Director of Choral Activities at Georgia State University, will join us for a few sessions. A former faculty member at Smith College and UMass, Deanna has studied with Helmuth Rilling, Joseph Flummerfelt, and Simon Carrington. Her research interests include 19th-century choral-orchestral performance practice.

Deborah Mello

Founding and Artistic Director of the Children’s Chorus of Sussex County, Deborah Mello is the recipient of the Master Teacher Award from the New Jersey Music Educators Association, the New Jersey Governor’s Award for Arts in Education, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Master Teacher Collaborative Award, sponsored by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. A former National Chair of the American Choral Directors Association National Committee for Children’s Choirs, Debbie currently serves ACDA as Eastern Division Children’s and Youth Choir Chair for Repertoire and Standards. Debbie has conducted regional and honor choruses in several states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Louisiana, Maine, Kentucky, Virginia, and New Mexico. She has taught numerous workshops on elementary music education and choral singing with children in the United States and as an Artist/Teacher for Doreen Rao’s Choral Music Education courses in England, Sweden, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. In May 2007, Debbie and her husband, Joseph, each received the Inaugural Distinguished Music Educator Award from Yale University. Debbie, in conjunction with composer, Jill Gallina, has published 2 music collections, All-American Sing Along Songs, and Songs Boys Like To Sing that can be used in school, church and community programs. This past summer, she served as vocal coach for the girl choir camp at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in New York City. Recently retired as Director of Choral Activities at Randolph High School, Debbie is currently teaching at Montclair State University and is also the director of the Junior Choir at Christ Episcopal Church in Newton, New Jersey.

Debbie Mello’s Sessions:
  • Get Moving! Singing and Moving in the Choral Rehearsal
  • Vocal Techniques for Choral Singers
  • Singing for Understanding: Sightreading in the Choral Rehearsal
  • Produce, Practice, Perform: the CME model of choral education
  • Choral Reading session

Daniel Bara

Daniel Bara is the Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia, having served as Associate Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities at East Carolina University, in Greenville, North Carolina.  While at ECU, his university choirs were invited to perform for state, regional, and national conventions of ACDA and MENC, and the ECU Chamber Singers completed two professional recordings for the Gothic Records label (Greater Love, 2007; Eternal Light, 2010).  His conducting students have consistently advanced into the live rounds of the ACDA National Conducting Competition, and several of his former MM conducting students now hold collegiate conducting appointments at New England Conservatory, Miami University of Ohio, University of Idaho, and William Jewell College.

At ECU, Dr. Bara was the recipient of the UNC Board of Governors Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award and the Robert L. Jones Award for Outstanding Teaching.   Prior accolades include the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize given at the Eastman School of Music, and the ACDA National Student Conducting Competition (Graduate Division) awarded at the National Convention in San Antonio, TX in 2001. Dr. Bara is Past-President of NC-ACDA, has held the Artistic Directorship of the New York State Summer School of the Arts – School of Choral Studies (2007-2009), and has served as conductor of the World Youth Honor Choir at Interlochen Arts Camp (2004-2006).  He is in increasing demand as a guest conductor and clinician, with recent or upcoming engagements with all-state, regional honor choirs, and conference appearances in California, Texas, New York, Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida.

Dr. Bara holds the DMA degree in conducting from the Eastman School of Music, organ and conducting degrees from the University of Michigan, and is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy.  He is the Youth and Student Activities Chairman for the Southern Division Chapter of ACDA. At UGA he oversees the graduate choral conducting program, and conducts the UGA Hodgson Singers and the UGA Men’s Glee Club.

Daniel Bara’s Sessions:
  • Conducting Gesture #1: A reminder about the Fundamentals of Motion and Conducting Grammar – and why the Fundamentals are so… Fundamental!
  • Choral/Vocal Tone: Establishing the principles and teaching the lessons of your aesthetic in your daily warm-ups.
  • The principles and aesthetics of exhilarating and productive rehearsals: Success in Every Minute!
  • Conducting Gesture #2: Turning Grammar into Poetry and Patterns into Music. (Possible volunteer master class time? – or discussion/lecture)
  • The ingredients of engaging leadership: The importance of defining excellence for the ensemble, and ourselves as conductors and teachers.

Deanna L. Joseph

Since 2010, Deanna Joseph has served as Professor of Conducting and Director of Choral Activities at Georgia State University, where she conducts the University Singers, teaches conducting and choral literature, and supervises the masters program in choral conducting.  Previously, Dr. Joseph served on the choral and conducting faculties at Smith College (2004-7), the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (2007-8), and Hobart and William Smith Colleges (2008-10).

In addition to her academic positions, Deanna Joseph was the founder and artistic director of the semi-professional chorus, Hodie, and was the conductor of the South Hadley Chorale, which she led in performances of works such as Mendelssohn’s Elijah and the Beethoven Mass in C.  For three years, Dr. Joseph held a conducting position on the Artist Faculty of the New York State Summer School for the Arts – School of Choral Studies. Dr. Joseph is an active soprano soloist performing regularly with the Rochester, New York ensemble, Voices, and formerly with the Arcadia Players and the vocal sextet Cantabile in Massachusetts.

Deanna Joseph has a doctorate of musical arts in conducting from the Eastman School of Music, where she served as an instructor of undergraduate conducting and assistant conductor of the Eastman Chorale and the Eastman-Rochester Chorus.  While at Eastman, Dr. Joseph was a recipient of the Walter Hagen Conducting Prize. Dr. Joseph’s research interests include 19th-century choral-orchestral performance practice.  She has presented on this topic at ACDA and other professional conferences.  Deanna Joseph was a conducting fellow at the Oregon Bach Festival in the summers of 2005 and 2006, where she studied with Helmuth Rilling.  She has worked with Joseph Flummerfelt and Simon Carrington and has studied voice with baritone Jan Opalach.  Deanna Joseph is a member of the Atlanta Symphony Chorus and Chamber Chorus.

Deanna Joseph’s Sessions:
  • Pristine Intonation: Building choirs that sing with excellent intonation through directed score-study, knowledge of vocal challenges, body movement, and ear-training exercises.
  • Unearthing the REAL Sound and Performance Logistics of 19th-Century Choral-Orchestral Music


All registration for the ACDA Summer Conference is now accomplished online through the website of Gordon College, as follows:

See www.gordon.edu/acda for the 2012 registration fees and the various graduate credit and PDP options. Please note that lower early-bird registration fees are available only for registrations received by May 15, 2012.

Checks for all types of fees (registration, meals, housing, grad credit) should now be made payable to Gordon College (no more paying ACDA and Gordon separately for conference registration and graduate credit)

Registration will be done entirely online by visiting www.gordon.edu/acda. When you register online, you will receive a confirmation email within 48 hours and will be asked to mail in payment with a copy of your confirmation email.

Housing and Meal registration will also be accomplished entirely online. You can visit www.gordon.edu/workshops/housing and you can build a meal plan and/or housing plan just as was possible in the past using the printed registration form.

If you have questions relating to registration, please contact Kristen Harrington 978.867.4429 or Kristen.harrington@gordon.edu.


Rooms are air-conditioned and apartment-style with shared kitchen, bathroom and living room. Linens provided. Requests for on-campus housing must be received by July 1.

Graduate Credit

Gordon College offers Mass ACDA Summer Conference participants up to two (2) graduate credits from its Master of Music Education program, depending on number of sessions attended. Registration deadline for credit is July 1 by 9 a.m.; a late fee of $25 will be added to all registrations for credit received after July 1. In order to receive credit, participants must attend 15 hours of sessions and submit a summary paper after the conference.

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