American Choral Directors Association (1959-) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: American Choral Directors Association (1959-)


Historical Note:

Concerned by the lack of resources available to American choral directors, Robert Landers (director of the US Air Force Choir), Archie Jones (director of choirs at the University of Texas), and Maynard Klein (director of choirs at the University of Michigan) first conceived of a national choral association in 1957. The American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), originally called the American Choirmasters Association following the American Bandmasters Association, was founded two years later in Kansas City, Missouri during the biennial conference of the Music Teachers National Association. The ACDA, which began with 35 members, was established to serve the needs of pubilc school, collegiate, community, sacred, and professional choirs by sponsoring choral workshops, international conventions, concert exchanges, and symposia.

The first executive board was led by Archie Jones (president), R. Wayne Hugoboom (executive director), Earl Willhoite (treasurer), Charles Hirt, Warner Imig, James Aliferis, Elwood Keister, and Harry Robert Wilson. During their first meeting, the executive board established a set of bylaws and yearly dues of $6.

In March 1960, the organization held its first biannual convention in conjunction with the 1960 Music Educator's National Conference. This conference consisted of concerts, reading sessions, workshops, and panel discussions. The following May, the ACDA published the first issue of the Choral Journal. Eleven years later, the organization held its first independent conference in Kansas City. Since then, the ACDA conference has expanded to include honor choirs and multiple sessions.

In addition to their biannual conference, the organization has fostered the annual Schmitt and Pepper Choral Composition Competitions since 1962. In 1991, the ACDA added the Raymond W. Brock Student Composition Competition. In addition, the ACDA also provides awards for dissertations and professional research on choral music. 

Since 1961, the ACDA has been governed by both national and regional officers from six regions. In 1979, the ACDA added a seventh region to accomodate expanding membership.




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