Summer and Winter


Each Summer and Winter, the SD ACDA host a conference for Choral Directors and Music Educators. 


Winter Conference 2020

January 17-18, 2020

Rapid City

Please join us for the upcoming SD-ACDA Winter Conference and Junior Honor Choir in January in beautiful Rapid City!  Dates for the conference are Friday and Saturday, January 17 and 18, 2020.  Registration for the conference is forthcoming!


Dean Luethi- Clinician


Dr. Dean Luethi serves as the Director of the School of Music and Associate Professor at Washington State University. He received his BM in Vocal Music Education from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, his MM in Choral Conducting from the University of South Florida in Tampa, and his DMA in Choral Music from the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign. Before working at WSU, Dean was a high/middle school choir and musical theatre director in the Green Bay and Luxemburg/Casco School Districts. He also served as a visiting instructor at the University of South Florida in Tampa.


Dean was Coordinator of Music Education, taught choral conducting, choral music methods, directed WSU’s Treble and Tenor/Bass Choirs, and supervised student teachers prior to his appointment as Director of the School of Music. He currently teaches applied theory in addition to his administrative duties.


Known for his work as a choral pedagogue, Dean has presented research, workshops, or conducted choirs at festivals, conferences, and competitions in the US, India, China, NewFoundland, Austria, Hawaii, Poland, and Germany. Dean has performed as a soloist or with professional ensembles in Ukraine, Romania, Austria, Poland, Germany, and throughout the United States. He is published in Choral Journal and Music Educator’s Journal. As part of his service to the National Choir Council of NAFME, Dean works with and has prepared a virtual choral conducting series for choral conductors which is distributed throughout India. Dean’s book Aligning Voices: Exercises to Build Choral Musicianship was recently published and is available through GIA Publications. This summer Dean will work with choirs from the Netherlands, South Korea, and will conduct the UW-Green Bay Alumni Choir for their tour of Poland and the Czech Republic.


Dean lives with his wife, Ruth Boden, in Pullman, WA.   In his free time Dean enjoys amateur photography, piloting his drone, and spending time with their two cats.


The Power of Story in Song: The Aesthetic Chameleon

As choral directors we continue to develop the skills necessary to train our singers to sing with aesthetic intent. No matter the ability level, no matter the grade level, no matter the size, all choirs have the goal of aesthetic intention. That is, we want our audiences to be moved in particular ways through our performance. The choir’s ability to move our audiences is limited by their own ability to be aesthetically moved. Over the course of an 8-week rehearsal period our singers speak, sing, repeat, parse out, batch, and scrutinize each word of the repertoire. After time we experience “message fatigue;” we are no longer moved by the words. As conductors we must enable our student to, once again, feel the magic of the poetry. That is the only way they’ll be able to prepare a convincing performance. We do this by reading poetry with messages akin to the music, creating stories that are parallel in intent, and observing or creating visual art that enables us to deepen and strengthen our understanding of the text. In this session you will experience all of these processes to be able to understand their usefulness in preparing their choirs for performance. You will leave the session with concrete ideas to bring back to your ensembles.



Wake-up Sing-Up:

In this short session Dr. Luethi will guide us through some eurhythmic and solfege exercises. These fun activities are meant to teach your students how to align what they see (on the staff) and what they hear with a kinesthetic response. This session will invigorate you!



Ten Steps to Recruiting Singers:

Recruiting singers is a continual struggle. We all seek more students and/or more gifted students. In this interactive experience we will discuss specific strategies and guide you through the process of shaping these ideas to your specific situation. Every school is different and there’s no one way to recruit. Everyone has particular skills and each school has differing resources. You will be introduced to a wide array of recruitment activities including creating a sense of community, working your feeder programs, boosting your program’s public image, and creating a recruiting calendar to plan your efforts. We will also discuss the collection of data to be able to understand what works and what doesn’t. No one person has all the answers. There will be a little time to think-pair-share and to discuss ways in which your peers are using social media for these purposes. You will leave with ideas how to capitalize on your personal strengths and your program’s strengths and will begin an outline for a recruitment calendar for your upcoming recruitment season.



Rehearsal Diagnostics and The Rehearsal Plan:

No matter the best of intentions, in an environment where stealing away time for rehearsal prep may be at a premium, we may find ourselves not as prepared for rehearsals as we could be. Over the year, we fall into the habit of prepping less and less because we may have experience, good methods, and facility in classroom management “in the bag.” This will only get you so far. Your ability to understand your music, organize your rehearsals, and execute an energetic and efficient rehearsal is essential to creating quality performances and building a culture of excellence in your choirs. The session will begin by presenting ideas of diagnosing your strengths and weaknesses in your rehearsals. Only by understanding who we are do we

know who we can become. There’s always a new way in which we can engage our students and we must be ready with these mini techniques at a moment’s notice. However, we must also create a rehearsal plan that reflects best practices of pacing, motivation, and focus. This session will provide you “ready to go” tools to use in your rehearsals and also the skills necessary for you to build efficient rehearsal plans.



Day One Wrap-Up:

Dr. Luethi will lead us through a number of questions meant to identify key methods or concepts you learned throughout the day and how you might integrate them in your program.


Aligning Voices: Warming Up with Intent:

Choral rehearsals often begin with rudimentary warm-ups that we’ve used for years. This workshop and demonstration will show that your warm-up/technical routine can be more efficient and achieve its desired goal if you consistently communicate intention behind your exercises. Just as we assess when we’re listening to repertoire in rehearsal, we need to be able to assess in our warm-up routine as well. This will enable our students to focus on the desired objective rather than technical skills being a secondary goal to the loose objective of “warming up our voices to be able to sing.” We’ll accomplish this by determining why we warm up, explore larger goals for our warm-up sessions, means to assess, and how to incorporate these ideas in every rehearsal. You will be provided with warm-ups and will leave the session with the necessary tools to build your own warm-up routines tailored for your particular ensembles.



Kinesthetic Calibration: Using Movement to Improve Ensemble Accuracy:

We all know that singing is a communal physical endeavor. If we breathe together, we sing together! This is just one way in which we can move together to create ensemble accuracy and cohesion. In this interactive workshop the audience members will experience ways in which movement can enhance a choir’s ability to sing with accurate rhythm and pitch, perform with less tension, sing with a full and relaxed tone, perform with dynamic contrast, contrasting articulations, and have freer body movement in performance. All of these techniques will be modeled, applied to musical excerpts, and their usefulness discussed. You will create a map of integration to apply these techniques in your own rehearsals.


Dr. Luethi will work with South Dakota School of Mines and Technologies’ Master Chorale, directed by Dr. Matthew Bumbach, to demonstrate these concepts.


1) The Eyes of All Wait Upon Thee – Jean Berger

2) Riu, Riu, Chiu – ed. Noah Greenberg



Day Two Wrap-Up:

Dr. Luethi will lead us through some of the key concepts discussed throughout the conference and how these may be used back home!

Summer Conference 2020

July/August 2019 TBA

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