The director of Waukee High School’s A Cappella choir, Amy Voorhees-Hall, has an oversized poster in her office that says “Dream the impossible, Seek the unknown, Achieve greatness.” It seems she has done all three, considering that her choir will be performing at the 2015 National Conference of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). It’s no small feat; out of 300 total submissions, only 25 choirs are selected. Out of 80 high school choir submissions, A Cappella is one of only three high school choirs selected to perform.
A singer herself, Hall went to Simpson College for a degree in vocal performance. Destiny led her on a path into education. After earning her degree, she wasn’t ready for graduate school. “I enjoyed my student teaching experiences, so I thought I could do that for a while until I was ready,” she explains. Though she has since gone on to earn a master’s degree in administration, it’s teaching music that truly inspires her. “Fulfillment comes from not just doing it myself, but from sharing everything I know so that someone else can do it well.”
The thought of taking her choir to an ACDA conference had always appealed to Hall, but she never thought she would audition until a few of her mentors encouraged it. “When you have an ensemble that sings at that level, they should have the opportunity to share at that level,” she said.
In April of this year, Hall submitted three years’ worth of recordings of A Cappella performances. “They want to see consistency. They want to see that you didn’t have an awesome choir for just one year.” She waited on pins and needles until June, when she happened to check her junk email folder and realized the choir had been accepted. She laughs about that moment now. “The email said, ‘ACDA Congratulations.’ And then I think I just about passed out.”