A list of resources to help your choral organizations stay educated and take action on injustices and inequities in the arts. Read more here!
News and Notices
Many of us dream about having extra time to develop our singing and musicality. Yet, when the opportunity comes, we face a real challenge: how do we summon the mental energy and stamina to make the most of this time?
This is a question faced by choir directors, choir members – indeed, singers of all types and genres. It comes to us with special force during this pandemic as many of us have extra time on our hands, but it’s really a part of a larger, non-pandemic question: how can I muster the mental energy to develop myself when I am by myself? For, when I am alone I face an enormous amount of distracting mental “chatter”, negative judgements and that lurking sense that I’m not doing enough – or doing it “right”!
As a music journalist I’ve interviewed thousands of singers, curious about how they have developed themselves alone, often facing challenges in the form of punishing schedules, the fight to stay afloat financially, and lack of access to direct contact with those who might best help them to develop. I’ve consistently seen three activities that push these singers ahead – and which I try to implement in my own life. Read more!
At this point, every choir director, chorus member, board member, volunteer, advocate, and supporter feels a sense of loss as performances have been canceled over the past several months due to COVID-19. In times like these, it can be easy to have an internal dialogue that says, “Without performances we are nothing.”
But is that really true? Are choirs nothing without performances? Why do we truly sing? Do we have a purpose without performance?
The Challey School of Music at North Dakota State University is announcing a call for compositions for the 2020 Fissinger Choral Composition Competition.
This year we are modifying the guidelines for the Fissinger prize to reflect the likelihood of smaller gatherings of singers. This year we welcome submissions for a mixed chamber choir.
Entries should be:
• For an SATB chamber choir (around 16 voices) with limited divisi
• Unaccompanied, or with piano accompaniment
• One or two obbligato instruments would be acceptable
• Three to eight minutes in duration • original and unpublished (by an established commercial firm) works only.
• The text may be sacred or secular, either in the public domain or copyrighted, as long as a letter of permission from the copyright owner is included with the submission
• Submission deadline – August 1, 2020
Prizes / Performance
• First: $1,500
• Second: $1000
• NDSU reserves the right to not award prizes in any given year.
• The composer of the first prize work is invited to be present at the performance.
• For the premiere, NDSU will reimburse actual travel, lodging and food expenses, up to a maximum of $750.
• Winners will be announced at www.ndsu.edu/music/fissinger/index by September 15, 2020.
• The first prize winner’s piece, with the approval of the composer, will have their composition considered for publication in Pavane Publishing for placement in the Jo Ann Miller Choral Series.
Jo Ann Miller, Director of Choral Activities, NDSU
Michael Weber, Associate Director of Choral Activities, NDSU
Charlette Moe, Assistant Director of Choral Activities and Music Education, NDSU
Jocelyn Hagen, Composer, Adjunct composition faculty, NDSU
Allan Petker, Pavane Publishing
There is a $25 submission fee for each work submitted.
Include name, address, phone number(s), and email address when making payment via NDSU Marketplace or if paying by check, in a sealed envelope accompanying the score.
Send by PDF file to
Submitted scores must be in Finale or Sibelius.
An audio file is strongly recommended.
All scores selected for performance will be reproduced by NDSU.
Submissions must be submitted via email by 11:59 PM on August 1, 2020 or postmarked by August 1, 2020.
If not submitting a PDF, mail submissions to:
Dr. Jo Ann Miller, NDSU Challey School of Music, Dept 2334, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Email compositions to:
Jo Ann Miller, Director of Choral Activities,
Meet Jason Max Ferdinand TONIGHT (Thurs) at 8 PM on Facebook.com/artistrytoday
Dr. Ferdinand is the director of choral activities, professor, and chair of the music department at Oakwood University. He directs the Aeolians of Oakwood University and, as evidenced by noteworthy awards, has distinguished himself on the national and international choral stages.
The Aeolians made their first appearance at the national conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in 2019 and the term “they broke ACDA” was used to describe their outstanding presentation.
Artistry Today is an online educational platform for artists and those who appreciate artistry. Though live art has been halted in the time of Covid-19, there remains great value in learning about art, just as there is in hearing and seeing it.
The research will be carried out at the Powerhouse Energy Campus at Colorado State University.
Project Objective: The goal of this project is to reduce the risk of human exposure and co-infection to SARS-COV-2 aerosol during performing arts activities. Our research aims to:
1. Establish the magnitude and variability of aerosol release rates, as a function of particle size,
from: regular breathing during percussion and string instrumentation, heavy breathing under exertion (dance), and vocalizing across a range of volume and pitch during singing and speaking. These data will be collected for n = 100 performers of varying age and gender to represent a more valid statistical sample of the performing arts population.
2. Establish the magnitude and variability of aerosol release rates, as a function of particle size,
from wind instruments, including flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, saxophone, recorder, trumpet, trombone, tuba, euphonium, horn. These data will be collected for n = 100 performers of varying age and gender to represent a more valid statistical sample of the performing arts population.
3. Determine the efficacy of active control techniques to prevent human aerosol release (in
relation to Objectives 1 and 2) to include: wearing surgical/homemade masks, wearing N95- certified respirators, wearing face shields, utilizing low-resistance filtering mouthpieces. 4. Model the efficacy of passive control techniques to prevent exposure to infectious aerosol, to include social distancing and isolation, room ventilation and filtration, and use of personal protective equipment.
Impact: The project will develop two primary outputs. The first output is a robust and scientifically rigorous dataset on endogenous particle release rates (stratified by gender, age, and activity type). This dataset will be published in the open science literature and in a manner that is accessible and understandable by stakeholders in the performing arts community. The second output will be a guidelines document that outlines the efficacy of various strategies to control emissions and reduce exposures to infectious bioaerosols. This guidelines document is envisioned to provide the scientific basis for a “safe to perform” position statement to be developed in collaboration with national/international governance bodies in the performing arts.