Jill Wilson of Luther College is President of the Iowa Choral Directors Association.
I am thrilled to help welcome you to the Choral Iowa topic page! My gratitude goes to Barney Sherman and the rest of the team for creating a way to share the work of amazing choirs all over the state.
In Western culture, it is often simply accepted that musical “talent” is some sort of innate ability present in only a minority of the population. Making music is often seen as something that you either can or cannot do. The minority are performers and the majority is the audience. It is sad to think some people simply feel as though they are not musical. That feeling may be part of why, nationally, only about one student in five participates in any large ensemble.
But in many Iowa communities, a majority of the students in the building sings in the choir. Our collegiate programs are among the finest in the nation and are regularly selected to perform at national conferences. I am fortunate to live in a community of 8,000 people that supports three very fine community choirs.
Iowans “get it.” We know that singing together connects us to other people, including those in other times and places. We value choral singing as a means of self-expression and a way to nurture sensitive, caring individuals who can see and appreciate the beauty in others. We realize the positive physical outcomes and mental-health benefits of lifelong participation. We understand that choral singing allows us to express that which cannot be said - and has throughout the ages.
The Iowa Choral Directors Association (ICDA) is one of the strongest and largest state organizations in the nation because of the vision and hard work of its leaders and members. The mission of the organization is to serve choral musicians in the state of Iowa by providing leadership, guidance, and support; providing continuing education opportunities; promoting excellence in the choral art through high quality offerings and events; supporting growth beyond college graduation; and enriching and renewing the musical souls of its membership. On behalf of ICDA, thank you to IPR for supporting us in our mission.
Singing in a choir brings joy, be it in a school, community center, nursing home, prison, or church. Simply stated, choral singing is a rewarding experience that enriches one's life. I hope you will enjoy listening to the array of wonderful choirs featured on IPR’s Choral Iowa, but, if you haven’t already, I hope you will also seek out the opportunity to sing in a choir today! - Jill Wilson