American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) is pleased to announce that the 2019 Diverse Voices Collaborative Grants have been awarded to Andrea Clearfield, composer, in partnership with a consortium of choirs from Virginia and beyond including Radford University (Meredith Y. Bowen, conductor) and Brandon Waddles, composer, in partnership with SACRA / PROFANA (Juan Carlos Acosta, conductor). Each composer will receive $2,500 to be used toward the commissioning costs for their new works with their partner organizations.
Designed as a way to further ACDA’s mission and achieve its strategic goals, this program was established to actively encourage the creation of new choral music by composers from underrepresented minority groups. In fall 2018, choirs of all ages, sizes, and varieties (civic, school, church, professional, etc.) were invited to submit a proposal for a commissioning project in partnership with a composer for the benefit of both their organization and the choral profession at large.
Andrea Clearfield is an award-winning American composer of music for opera, orchestra, chorus, chamber ensembles, dance, and multimedia collaborations. She will compose a three-movement work for treble voices, piano, and percussion, with text written by Dr. Sienna Craig, anthropology chair at Dartmouth College. The overarching theme will be linked to current events–specifically the present worldwide refugee crisis and the question “what is home?”
As a conductor, composer, and educator, Brandon Waddles has enjoyed a multifaceted career spanning a variety of genres from classical to gospel to musical theater. He will compose a 20- to 25-minute work for SATB double choir and rhythm section (piano, upright bass, drum set). The work will use the words of James Baldwin, as well as the texts of various Negro spirituals, vocalized respectively in conversation between the two choirs. According to Waddles, “Today, the impassioned Black writer’s words seem even more poignant in this political and social climate. These, interspersed with the folksongs that helped define American music centuries ago, will together form a plea for change.”
The program received 17 submissions from choral organizations and composers across the United States. The submissions were adjudicated by an anonymous panel of composers and conductors appointed by the Composition Initiatives Standing Committee (whose members did not participate in the adjudication process).
The Diverse Voices Collaborative Grant program was created in 2018 by the ACDA Standing Committee for Composition Initiatives (Dominick DiOrio, chair; Andrew Crane; Susan LaBarr; Nancy Menk), in partnership with the ACDA Standing Committee for Diversity Initiatives (Eugene Rogers & Penelope Cruz, co-chairs; Jeffery Ames; Angela Broeker; Gennevieve Brown-Kibble; André de Quadros).