On a high note

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[autop] Thanks to the generosity of two Iowa State University alumni, student members of the Iowa State Singers will be able to perform at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Conference without having to make personal financial contributions for the trip.

Sandra Davis (BS 1968, Modern Language and Psychology) and her husband, Lynn (BS 1968, Electrical Engineering), of Edina, Minn., made a donation to the Iowa State Singers, a mixed choral ensemble comprised of 68 students from numerous areas of study at Iowa State. Sandra was an alto in Iowa State Singers from 1964-68, as well as two other ISU singing groups: Cardinal Keynotes and Chamber Singers.

The Davis’ donation will be put toward the Iowa State Singers’ travel to the conference and hotel stay. The students will perform in front of approximately 3,000 choral directors from all over the world at the conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 25 – 28, 2015.

Sandra Davis said occasions such as the ACDA National Conference are special times for students. She remembers going on a Midwest tour with the Iowa State Singers when she was a student.

“There’s something magical to have the honor to attend a conference like this,” she said. “My husband and I know it’s difficult for students to find the extra money. Our mission is to make it possible for students to have experiences we believe are powerful.”

Sandra Davis co-founded MDA Leadership Consulting Inc. in 1981. The management consulting firm provides services in talent management, leadership development and CEO succession. She is author of the book “Pearls of Leadership Wisdom” and also sang in the Minnesota Chorale, the principal chorus of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

The ACDA conference “represents the pinnacle achievement for an American choir,” said Iowa State Singers director Jim Rodde, Louise Moen Chair in Music and director of choral activities in the Department of Music and Theatre. Of the approximately 250 choirs that applied for the national conference, 28 groups were chosen, which includes only four collegiate mixed choirs.

“The gift is twofold,” Rodde said. “First, it relieved the students of their financial obligation, which for many was substantial. And second, they’ll sing differently. Their feelings will run a little deeper knowing that an alum cared that much.”

The Iowa State Singers will perform twice at the conference, singing two premiere pieces that the Department of Music and Theatre commissioned. One piece is by Hungarian composer Levente Gyöngyösi, and another by Stacey Gibbs of Detroit, Mich.

Choirs can apply every four years for a performance slot at the national conference. The Iowa State Singers were also invited in 2005 and 2009. The track record for the last 10 years “makes me very proud of the effort made by our students,” said Rodde. [/autop]

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