Creating opportunities for America’s youth


Fund for Tomorrow is all about creating opportunities for great experiences for America’s youth. Choral music empowers youth with education about music, giving them an outlet to express their creativity, and watching the seeds of confidence multiply! We hope these experiences fuel the fire of passion in choral directors and the young people who benefit from all your much-appreciated efforts!

“For a number of years, we in Illinois ACDA have been discussing our painful awareness that access to high quality choral events and workshops is just not available to most urban choral teachers and students. Individuals have been trying to make contributions to our communal choral culture, but Join Voices Chicago is the first time where we seem to have created an event which has the potential to have a real impact on a significant number of singers and teachers. I know this festival was only one day in the life of everyone, but I found myself getting teary numerous times when I realized how profound the effects could be.
“It is encouraging to think that we in ACDA have a positive effect on singers in our communities, regardless of where they live and what their own communities can provide.”
— Lee Kesselman, Illinois ACDA President-elect

Opportunities for Underserved Youth

Some of the funds raised go to help jump-start innovative initiatives that attract children into choral singing, especially those who may not otherwise have access to the artistry and community of choral music. Since the first grant in 2014, 11 grants have been awarded:

  1. Rise Up! Singers Transforming Community (ACDA of Minnesota; Thomas Hassig, Lead). Vocal activist Melanie DeMore worked with three high school choirs with student populations living in significant poverty, culminating in a concert at ACDA-MN’s state conference. Parents and family were invited to attend free of charge.
  2. Choral Village (The Bel Canto Children’s Chorus, Bethlehem, PA; Joy Hirokawa, Lead). The program brought together young people of diverse backgrounds to learn about others not like themselves through a wide range of arts activities.
  3. Singing for Urban Children (Delaware ACDA; David Lockart, Lead). Building on an after-school program run by Cathedral Choir School of Wilmington for inner-city children, highlighted by the premier of a choral composition composed by Rollo Dilworth on the theme of urban challenges and hope.
  4. Sing a NEW Song (Brittany Woods Middle School, University City, MO; Patrick Mattia, Lead). After a decade of neglect, the students, parents, and teachers of this middle school agreed that the choral program was something to be valued and perfected, and for that needed new energy and resources. This project was the first step.
  5. Join Voices Chicago: An Urban Initiative (Illinois ACDA; Karyl Carlson, Lead). Arising from a meeting of public and private school music teachers, children’s choir conductors, churches, and ACDA leaders, this initiative brought together choir students from throughout the city to participate in a free, day-long choral festival – with ensembles able to take home their music. The Illinois Music Educators Association collaborated to oversee professional development hours for the teachers.
  6. Na Leo Hou (Hawai’i ACDA; Alec Schumacker, Lead). More than 200 high school students from across the islands will come together for a choral experience with a world-renowned clinician (Dr. Karen Kennedy), culminating in a free public concert (one piece in the Hawaiian language). The event includes rehearsals, sightreading adjudications, hula lessons, and bonding activities.
  7. Bridges Choral Expansion (BRIDGES: Harmony Through Music; Bonny Tynch, Lead). This project expands a successful after-school music program for fifth and sixth graders to two additional elementary schools with significant poverty indicators. Throughout the school year, students meet once a week with a teaching artiest and undergraduate assistant from George Mason University for homework assistance, a healthy snack, Conversational Solfege lessons, and an hour choral rehearsal.
  8. One Voice Arizona (Arizona ACDA; Elizabeth Schauer, Lead). This project is to get Arizonans singing again, and singing together. They are teaching as many Arizonans, in as many venues as possible, two pieces of sung music each year for the purpose of creating a common body of music that people can sing together in either an organized or spontaneous fashion in public venues.
  9. Meet in the Middle (Rhode Island ACDA; Regina McAdam, Lead). This project gives students from various backgrounds the chance to work together collaboratively on music in preparation for a group performance. It seeks to have high school students “meet in the middle” philosophically, geographically, and musically.
  10. Chelsea High School and Detroit Renaissance High School Music Cultural Exchange (Chelsea High School; Steve Hinz, Lead). These two choirs are creating a music cultural exchange program to encourage peer groups to explore their lives and those of their peers through music study and performance in two diverse school and community settings.
  11. Join Voices, Chicago! (Stage 2) (Karyl Carlson, Lead). A continuation and expansion of the first Join Voices, Chicago!

Additional Projects

ChorTransform – an ACDA initiative that employs the hallmarks of service learning in a partnership between ACDA student chapters, colleges and universities, and local choral programs in need.
NextDirection Choral Leadership Conference – a collegiate symposium and high school conference that is aimed at opening up the world of choral education to high schoolers who demonstrate leadership in the choral classroom.

Photo courtesy Join Voices Project, Illinois ACDA

Air Force Academy Choir, Andrew Jones-Holley, conductor.