Creating opportunities for America’s youth

Fund for Tomorrow is all about creating equitable access to 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!

Opportunities for Youth Facing Barriers

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, 20 grants have been awarded, including the following:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 artist and undergraduate assistant from George Mason University for homework assistance, a healthy snack, Conversational Solfege lessons, and an hour choral rehearsal.
  • One Voice Arizona (Arizona ACDA; Elizabeth Schauer, Lead). This project got 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Empowering Song: Musical Expression at a Youth Detention Center (Boston University, Metropolitan College; Trey Pratt, Lead). Funding is helping a six-week pilot project with the Judge Connelly Youth Center transform into an established detention center program that is rooted in the Empowering Song approach. The primary creative activities – based on the overwhelming interest and capabilities of the youth in the pilot program – will be drumming and singing.

Additional Projects

The following programs were developed by ACDA members and chapters, and received funding to scale up to national efforts.

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 school and collegiate students who demonstrate leadership in the choral classroom.

Finally, ACDA was able to launch a national mentoring project in 2013.

ACDA Mentoring – As one program participant said, “Please, please encourage all ACDA members to participate in this program. As a first year teacher, this was invaluable. Knowing that I had a college professor with years of experience was incredibly comforting and confidence boosting when the job was difficult. My mentor offered perspective that I very much needed and I saw a clear difference in my instruction and practice because of this mentoring.”