Voices United was established in 1999 by Jack Ay, then-owner of The Musical Source, along with MD/DC ACDA president Paul Rardin and VA ACDA president Deborah Moyers Proctor. Together, they formed a collaborative summer conference to stand in place of individual state conferences, bridging the Southern and Eastern ACDA Regions. Delaware ACDA joined in 2002, under then-president Paul Head.
Much of the original mission holds true today:
- To establish honor choir experiences for singers not addressed by then-MENC (now VMEA): Community / Church choir singers and Children’s Choirs.
- To include reading sessions for all levels of choral singing, led by local experts from each of our states.
- To partner with The Musical Source, who provides session materials, an on-site shop, and discounted prices for conference participants.
- To foster a spirit of unity – Voices UNITED – between directors and singers from both states.
- To include time for informal socializing and networking, fostering friendships and building bonds among our choral community.
- To bring nationally-known headliners to the Virginia / Maryland / DC area to work with conductors and singers
More than 25 years later, Voices United continues to offer more than professional development: we have become known as a friendly, professional, resource-rich conference that builds unity. In 2011 we added an honor chorus for conductors, conference participants who become part of the choir again, learning from our headliner through rehearsal and modeling performance for our singers. In 2015 we added a seminar track – at first focused on conducting with Stephen Caracciolo, this track is now reflective of the expertise our headliner brings: sometimes conducting, but sometimes arranging, composing, staging, or any number of other special topics.
Above all, we place a great value on the community we provide for one another as fellow choral conductors. In many institutions, we are the only person who does what we do, so the need for community is great. Through our Networking Lunches or Dinners, our Annual Voices United Banquet, and simply the down-time between sessions, Voices United provides a great chance to meet, connect and support one another as choral conductors.
We hope that your time at conference is inspiring, energizing, and offers you the wisdom, resources and connections to get you through the year. Please join us and find out what Voices United is all about!
Written by Deborah Moyers Proctor and Bill Podolski, 2016
Revised by Pamela McDermott, 2021, Chair, Voices United Planning Committee