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Dear WCDA Colleagues and Friends - 
 
I hope the end of your school year/season is wrapping up in the best way possible during these unique times.  If you're like me, I'm sure you are looking forward to having a chance to take a deep breath and reset your mind, body and spirit in the next few weeks.  In 21 years of teaching choir, this has been the most challenging experience of my career.  Having said that, it has been inspiring to watch, first-hand, the creativity, care and resilience I've seen in each colleague I've come into virtual contact with over these past few months.  If covid-19 has done anything positive, it has connected us as Wisconsin choral directors in a way I have not experienced in the 10+ years I've been in leadership roles in this organization.  The robust, honest, tough conversations that have been had give me great hope for the future of choral music in our schools, churches and communities in Wisconsin.
 
The conversations I speak of above were mostly had in a series of Virtual Round Tables that WCDA has supported over the past couple of months.  The leaders of these discussions have decided that there will be one more set over the next two weeks (including the new topics of Worship in Music/Community and Elementary) and then we will take the month of June to refresh, reflect and prepare to look forward to what lies ahead for all of us.  We plan to resume these important round table conversations shortly after the July 4th holiday.  We hope that by then, there will be more information regarding what next fall will look like and therefore, we will be able to continue the fruitful conversations and sharing of ideas that we have had this spring.  Here is a list of the upcoming meetings for the next 2 weeks - 
 
STUDENT TEACHER VIRTUAL ROUND TABLE #2 - Tuesday, May 26th at 4 pm.  (Hosted by Eva Stokes)
While all are welcome, this virtual round table will focus on the current student teachers and those student teaching in fall. Cooperating teachers are welcome to join us but we'd like to keep the focus on the students this time around. The meeting will be conducted through Zoom. Here is the link: 
 
MIDDLE LEVEL VIRTUAL ROUND TABLE #4 - Wednesday, May 27th at 1 pm.
(Hosted by Eric Leih and Sarah Milton) PLEASE NOTE TIME CHANGE
Meeting Link, Agenda and Information:
 
ELEMENTARY LEVEL DIRECTORS VIRTUAL ROUND TABLE #1 - Thursday, May, 28th, 11:00 am.  
(Hosted by Schuyler Pietz/Toni Kuo Weijola) 
To attend the meeting, you will go to https://meet.jit.si/
In the box where it says “Start New Meeting”, type in WCDARoundtable-Elementary 
(the password is teach2sing).  
 
MUSIC IN WORSHIP/COMMUNITY CHOIR VIRTUAL ROUND TABLE #1 - Saturday, May 30th at 10 am.
(Hosted by John Albrecht and Phillip Swan)
Join Zoom Meeting
https://lawrence.zoom.us/j/96902280325
Meeting ID: 969 0228 0325
Agenda items include - maintaining mental/emotional/spiritual health of singers/directors, live-streaming, back to worship/community choirs, and furloughs/lay-offs/advocacy
 
HIGH SCHOOL VIRTUAL ROUND TABLE #4 - Wednesday, June 3 at 11:30 am
(Hosted by John Popke and Joy Paffenroth)
Agenda to be determined
 
As we look ahead, please know that WCDA is taking an active role in helping and supporting whatever our membership needs as the 2020-2021 school year and seasons come into focus.  Steve Sieck, immediate past president, is leading an ad hoc committee that will focus on two important topics moving forward - advocacy and curriculum.  This committee will be looking to create frameworks that you can easily transfer and use in your personal situation as you see fit.  This group is also pleased to be part of #wimusicstrong as we partner with arts organizations from around the state with the common goal of continuing to keep music strong in the state of Wisconsin.  
 
The first, and most urgent topic we're addressing is advocacy.  We encourage you to take an active role in advocating for continued choral music programs in your schools, churches and communities.  One way to do that is to give your singers a voice RIGHT NOW.  As the school year is winding down, this is a perfect time to ask singers/students to reflect on their school choral music experiences. Allow students to share their story with you so that you can share it with others! Gather written or video testimonials that answer such questions as: 
  • "Why are you in choir?"
  • "Why have you stayed in choir?" 
  • "What has been the best part of being in choir this year?"
  • "What is your favorite choir memory?" 
  • "What song/performance had the most meaning for you? Why was it so meaningful?"
  • "How has choir positively impacted your life?"
We hope you have found ways to finish this year strong and move to a time of rest and reflection.  We look forward to continuing our work together as we move toward next fall.  Even though we won't be hosting conversations for a few weeks, we are all still here and ready/willing to help in any way you might need.  Please do not hesitate to reach out!
 
All Best, 
Joy Paffenroth - Kaukauna High School Choirs
WCDA Past President (2015-2017)