President’s Welcome

Apply now to perform at the 2017 ACDA Michigan Fall Conference.
The submission window closes on April 14 at 11:59 pm.

Click here for details and to apply.

The election is currently being held for ACDA-Michigan President, a 6-year term beginning in 2017. ACDA Michigan members should have received a personalized email about this election; if not, you can click here to login to and vote.

The slate includes two outstanding Michigan choral conductors, Erin Colwitz and Clayton Parr. You may read more below before voting.

Photo of Erin Colwitz

Erin Colwitz

Erin Colwitz received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 1998.  She later completed the Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California in choral music.  Dr. Colwitz studied conducting with William Dehning, David Wilson, Magen Solomon, and Claire McCoy.  At USC, she was awarded a full teaching assistantship as conductor of the Thornton Oriana Choir, the University’s only women’s chorus, a post she held for three years.  At USC, she also sang with William Dehning and the award-winning Thornton Chamber Choir touring France and Belgium in 2003 and East Asia in 2006.

In Minnesota, Dr. Colwitz was a full-time vocal and general music teacher at Centennial Middle School.  There she conducted four choirs, the school’s honor choir and swing choir, in addition to teaching classroom music.  As a professional singer, Dr. Colwitz was contracted to sing with the Dale Warland Singers in 1999.  As part of this extraordinary ensemble, she performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra under the direction of Robert Shaw, Edo de Waart, and Hugh Wolff.  The DWS were nominated for a Grammy for their recording of Dominick Argento pieces, Walden Pond (2003); Dr. Colwitz’s doctoral treatise is a critical analysis of Argento’s, A Toccata of Galuppi’s, a twelve-tone work found on that recording.

In Los Angeles, Dr. Colwitz was a member of the choral music faculty at California State University, Fullerton where she conducted the women’s choir and taught music education courses.  She served as the Director of Music at St. Victor Catholic Church in West Hollywood from 2003-2008 where she conducted the church choir and guest orchestra in weekly services, feast day services, and concerts such as the Duruflé Requiem and Handel’s Messiah.  While in southern California, Dr. Colwitz sang with John Alexander and the Pacific Chorale in Santa Ana, Califoria.  Additionally, she was privileged to sing with the Pacific Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic under the batons of Carl St. Clair, Giancarlo Guerrero, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Gustavo Dudamel.  

Dr. Colwitz is currently the Director of Choral Activities at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan.  She conducts the Madrigal Singers and University Choir. Dr. Colwitz is also the conductor of the Marquette Choral Society, a community chorus formed, in affiliation with NMU, by her husband, conductor, William Dehning in 1971.  She is an active member of ACDA, NAfME, the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM), the College Music Society (CMS), Delta Kappa Gamma (DKG) and the Pi Kappa Lambda Honor Society.  Dr. Colwitz was most recently Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  While there, her choirs toured domestically and twice internationally and were selected to sing at AMEA in 2012, the Alabama state music education conference.

Dr. Colwitz is frequently a guest conductor, lecturer, contest adjudicator and choral clinician throughout the southeast and midwest. Dr. Colwitz has served ACDA as the AL-ACDA Repertoire & Standards Chair for Community Choirs and Youth and Student Activities.  She currently serves as the Recruitment Chair for the Michigan ACDA state chapter. As a clinician and lecturer, Dr. Colwitz has presented at state and regional ACDA conferences, as well as at international symposiums such as the Athens Institute of Research.  In 2014, Dr. Colwitz served as guest conductor and clinician at a collegiate choral festival in Bangkok and Chiangmai, Thailand with her husband, Dr. William Dehning, under the auspices of the US Embassy.  In Chiangmai, Dr. Colwitz worked with a number of high school and elementary school choirs as well as presenting a lecture on conducting to a group of college students. 

Dr. Colwitz has received numerous grants to fund her research of choral music.  She received two grants from the UAH Humanities Center to bring British composer, Tarik O’Regan in for a residency at UAH as an Eminent Scholar.  Both choirs have performed his music, including the U.S. premiere of O’Regan’s, Martyr, and the premiere of a new arrangement for wind band and chorus of Triptych.  Additionally, she received a faculty research grant and traveled to South Africa in May of 2012 to begin research on the African church music tradition in rural areas.  

Dr. Colwitz lives in Marquette with her husband, Dr. William Dehning, an accomplished conductor, Emeritus Professor, and published author, along with their golden retriever, Sam and two tabby cats, Chloe and Charlie.


Photo of Clayton Parr

Clayton Parr

Clayton Parr is is Director of Choral Activities at Albion College, Albion, Michigan. A native of Detroit, Dr. Parr graduated from Albion with degrees in music and physics. He taught music and mathematics in the public schools in Michigan and New York and received his Master’s and DMA from Michigan State University. Before coming to Albion, he taught for over 20 years, leading choral ensembles at DePaul University and Miami University in Ohio.

His choirs have performed at conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, Illinois Music Education Association, Ohio Music Educators Association, Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses and College Music Society. His choirs have completed several international tours and have won prizes at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales on two occasions.

His activity as guest conductor, lecturer, adjudicator and performer has taken him to 23 states and 18 foreign countries, including the Republic of Georgia, where he was a Fulbright scholar and guest lecturer at the Sarajishvili State Conservatoire.  His guest conducting appearances include the Ohio All-State Choir, and the Men’s High School Honor Choir for the Michigan School Vocal Music Association in 2016. He is music director of MEME (Michigan Educators Male Ensemble), a men’s singing group made up of teachers from around the state.

As a performer, Parr has sung with the Cincinnati Opera, Music of the Baroque, the Grant Park Music Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Battle Creek Symphony and the Billings Symphony.  His articles have been published in the Choral Journal, Music Educators Journal, and International Choral Bulletin, and he is editor for the series “Music of the Republic of Georgia” for earthsongs publishing. His solo appearances have included Carmina Burana with the National Music Center Symphony Orchestra in Tbilisi, Georgia. He has served in various leadership positions with the American Choral Directors Association, and is currently Executive Secretary of Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses. He is music director of the Battle Creek Community Chorus and  Ensemble Alioni, a Chicago-based group dedicated to the performance of Georgian folk song.  He is co-author of Supra! A Feast of Georgian Song, a collection of 18 3-part Georgian folk songs, just published by Hal Leonard.

As a Michigan native, Parr’s experience with ACDA began with a workshop led by Maynard Klein.  He has held leadership positions in ACDA, including six years as National Repertoire and Standards chair for male choruses, and has served on planning committees for division and national conventions, including local arrangements chair for the 2011 National Convention in Chicago.