ATU Choral Artists Earn ACDA Regional Accolades

ATU Choral Artists 2021-22

The Arkansas Tech University Choral Artists will be featured performers at an American Choral Directors Association regional conference in Little Rock on Monday, Feb. 28.

Their performance will be part of the Southwestern division of the ACDA (SW-ACDA) 2022 conference. The SW-ACDA President’s Concert will begin at 7 p.m. Monday at the Robinson Center, 426 W. Markham St. The ATU Choral Artists’ portion of the program is slated for 8 p.m.

Tickets are required. Members of the ATU community interested in attending are encouraged to send e-mail to with ticket requests by 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27.

“This conference provides choral musicians of all ages and ability levels opportunities for growth and development through interest sessions, workshops and concerts led by professionals of the highest skill level,” said Dr. Christopher Harris, director of choral activities and assistant professor of music at ATU.

ATU students Briya Alford of Conway and Zontray Kendall of DeWitt earned the right to participate in an undergraduate conducting master class as part of the 2022 SW-ACDA Conference. Among all the undergraduate applicants from universities in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, only six were selected based upon anonymous evaluation by a panel of adjudicators.

As a result, Alford and Kendall will conduct a live choir and receive feedback from veteran conductors.

“It is truly a life-changing experience for those undergraduate students selected,” said Harris.

In addition to the Monday night performance and the achievement by Alford and Kendall, 12 members of the ATU Choral Artists — Jaina Bauer of Alma, Brandon Birgs of Memphis, Tenn., Annabelle Clark of Russellville, Logan Dazer of Dallas, Texas, Alexandria Ellis of Bryant, Shawn Harris of Dallas, Texas, Arianna Hernandez-Donato of Fort Smith, Chandler Owen of Magnolia, Jacob Short of Fort Smith, Noah Sumler of Memphis, Tenn., Mason Walker of Alma and Carlie Westra of Alma — have been selected to perform in the SW-ACDA Collegiate Honor Choir.

Their performance, which will be conducted by Dr. Amanda Quist from the University of Miami, is scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at the Robinson Center.

In preparation for the SW-ACDA Conference, the ATU Choral Artists will offer the following preview concerts:

*Friday, Feb. 25, 6 p.m., Fort Smith First United Methodist Church (with guest choir Northside High School Mixed Choir)

*Sunday, Feb. 27, 7:30 p.m., ATU’s Witherspoon Auditorium (with guest choirs Russellville High School Chamber Choir and the Kansas State University Concert Choir)

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Briya Alford and Zontray Kendall Choir 2022
Arkansas Tech University students Briya Alford (left) and Zontray Kendall (right) will participate in an undergraduate conducting master class at a regional conference of the American Choral Directors Association in Little Rock.