AWARDS - 2021
One of ORACDA's most satisfying events is the presentation of four awards for outstanding service and choral work in the state. The 2021 awards went to the following. Photos to the right. (On iPhones the photos may be at the bottom of your screen.)
Emerging Conductor Award
Christopher Benjamin has taught at Henley Middle School and High School (Klamath Falls) since 2016. President Karen Bohart has this to say: "Christopher Benjamin was my student at Reynolds High School. From the day I met him, I knew he was born to be a choral educator." He is a graduate of George Fox University where is directed the Gospel Choir, was a member of the Concert Choir, the Men's Chorale and also served as the Minister of Music for the "Consumed by the Harvest Ministries" organization.
Service to the Profession Award
The Service to the Profession Award for 2021 went to Debbie Glaze. A leading figure in Oregon Music Education for over twenty years, Debbie Glaze serves as the Coordination of the Music Education Program and is a tireless advocate for the new Bachelor of Music with emphasis in Music Education degree.
President Karen Bohart says, "Debbie Glaze has been a mentor, colleague, and friend to me since I started my career as a choral music educator. She has been truly inspiring in the profession."
Debbie's training includes degrees in Choral Conducting and Music Education, with emphasis in voice and clarinet performance. She has been a high school choral director for 17 years and the Assistant and Interim Director of the Portland Symphonic Choir.
At Portland State, she teaches courses in Choral Methods, Elementary General Music, Introduction to Music Education, and supervises student teachers. She also serves as the Music Dept. liaison to the Graduate School of Education.
The 2021 Podium Award went to Kimberly McConnell. "Kimberly had a very successful career in Oregon. The West Salem High School Choirs under her direction were award winning and superior! Kimberly is now teaching At Colleyville Heritage High School in Colleyville, Texas." (Karen Bohart)
Earlier in her career, Kimberly taught at South Eugene High School where she led three choirs: Concert Choir, Treble Choir, and Dorians (Vocal Jazz). The South Eugene Choirs were also award winning, always striving for excellence.
Hall of Fame Award
This year's Hall of Fame Award went to two superb conductors of choral music, a husband wife team who have contributed mightily to choral music in Oregon and the northwest! They are Lynn and Doris Sjolund.
Lynn Sjolund’s career highlights demonstrate his dedication to music and community. From 1956 to 1986, Sjolund was choral music director and fine arts chair at Medford High School, where he established a reputation as one of the most outstanding choral conductors in the Northwest. Sjolund's ensembles appeared frequently at gatherings of music educators, and he was often asked to conduct honors choirs.
Upon Sjolund's retirement from public school teaching in 1986, Medford High School named its auditorium in his honor. When the city of Medford wanted to transform a movie theatre into a long-needed performing arts center, Sjolund was asked to serve as acting executive director.
Sjolund was founding director and conductor (1973-2013) of the Rogue Valley Chorale, a tenure spanning 40 years, and interrupted only by a position (1987-1990) as director of choral studies at Loyola University in New Orleans. Sjolund has conducted the Britt Festival Orchestra and the Rogue Valley Symphony in concerts with the Chorale.
Doris and Lynn met when he was in Ludwigsburg, Germany, where Sjolund studied as the graduate assistant for the German Center for Music Education in 1969-70. Doris, now founder and Director Emerita of the Rogue Valley Children's Chorus.
Doris Sjolund has degrees from the University of Northern Iowa and University of Oregon. She has taught in Iowa, Louisiana and Oregon, K-college, and served as elementary music chair in the Medford School District. Doris has presented workshops for OMEA and NWMENC (whatever is is called now) and served on OMEA and ORACDA boards. Forty years ago she founded the Rogue Valley Children’s Chorus, which has expanded and now includes three youth choruses. For many years she coordinated a concert at the Craterian Theater for state solo winners from Jackson County. Other music related activities: singing and serving as assistant accompanist in the Rogue Valley Chorale, substitute organist, member of the Southern Oregon Concert Band, written articles for the ORACDA Journal, where she served one year as interim editor, co-hosted a TV show for OMEA , “Singing, our Next Goal,” Community concert board member, and initiated a pre-K music program for Britt. She currently resides at the Rogue Valley Manor, where she accompanies the chorus which her husband directs.