About SWACDA

The Southwestern Region 

of the American Choral Director’s Association is proud to serve the following states: Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The mission of ACDA is to inspire excellence and nurture lifelong involvement in choral music for everyone through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Every two years, we gather as a chapter to do just that. Learn more about one of our past conferences, by clicking on them below:

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Message

Welcome to our new Southwestern ACDA website! As an ACDA member, you are a part of a dynamic community of diverse choral musicians who are united in their passion for promoting and celebrating the art of choral music. Our mission is to advance the profession and support choral music education, activities, and performances at all levels.

 

SWACDA is committed to promoting and expanding choral music in our region and beyond. We strive to provide resources for our members to connect, collaborate, and learn from one another. As an organization, we remain actively engaged in advocacy efforts to ensure that choral music continues to have a place in schools, communities, and the broader cultural landscape. Moreover, we champion diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives as we strive to make the art of choral music accessible to everyone.

 

Having traversed our region over the past two years, I recognize that our choral music educators are exceptional. Getting to know our members has been one of the best parts of my job. You, our members, are the heart of everything we do. Your commitment to the core values of the American Choral Directors Association, including your membership, participation in conferences and events, and volunteer service, is the driving force behind our organization. I am profoundly grateful for your dedication to SWACDA and your contributions to our vibrant and dynamic community. Thank you for all that you do to support the art of choral music.

 

Finally, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for making the recent #Limitless conference in Denver a resounding success. Your enthusiastic participation and support made it possible to offer outstanding plenary speakers, interest sessions, immersion days, collaborative social times, ensemble performances, and honor choirs. As we continue to reflect on the conference’s success, my hope is that you will carry on this spirit of collaboration and support within your own communities.

 

Let us continue to work together to promote and celebrate choral music as a valuable and meaningful art form. Our mission is to advance our profession and make a positive impact in our communities. Thank you for all that you do for SWACDA, and I look forward to working alongside you as we continue to make progress towards our goals!

 

Musically yours,

Leadership Team

Vision

To create powerful artistic experiences and be advocates for cultural and educational change that we might transform people’s lives.

Mission

Our mission is to advance our profession and make a positive impact in our communities.

We are using our SWACDA YouTube Channel to share examples of exceptional rehearsal and teaching strategies with choir directors as a way of supporting our mission. 

The mission of ACDA is to inspire excellence and nurture lifelong involvement in choral music for everyone through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Jeffrey Allen Murdock

Jeffrey Allen Murdock is internationally known as a conductor and clinician. He currently serves as Director of Choral Activities Professor of Music, and founding director of the Arkansas Center for Black Music at the University of Arkansas. He is the 2016 Connor Endowed Faculty Fellow and J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Science, and 2019 Most Outstanding Faculty at the University of Arkansas. He is the 2021 GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year Dr. Murdock has conducted regional and state honor choirs and headlined conferences in 26 states and 8 countries. 

Choirs under Dr. Murdock’s direction have performed at the Arkansas All-State Conference and SWACDA. In addition to being an accomplished conductor of Western choral music, Dr. Murdock is also a skilled gospel musician and conductor.

Dr. Murdock holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting, both from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a  Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Music Education from the University of Memphis. 

Margie Camp

Margie Camp recently retired from her role as administrative director and training choir director for Young Voices of Colorado. With thirty years of public school experience, she served the Cheery Creek School District as Campus Middle School’s choir director and the district music coordinator. Camp has served SWACDA as a past president, treasurer, and program chair for many SWACDA conferences. She has earned degrees from Trinity University and The University of Texas at San Antonio. She also has a music specialist degree from the University of Colorado at Denver. Camp was inducted into the Colorado Music Educators Hall of Fame in 2011 and received ACDA’s Volunteer of the Year award in 2023. She was honored to receive the SWACDA Margie Camp Lifetime Achievement Award in 2024.

Jonathan Owen

Jonathan Owen retired as choral director in 2018 after thirty years as a Missouri public school music teacher. During his teaching tenure, his choirs performed eight times at the Missouri MEA Conference and for the 2002 Music Educators National Conference (NAfME). In his retirement, Owen serves as organist/accompanist at Trinity Lutheran Church in Chesterfield, MO. He has an MM in choral conducting from Missouri State University, a BME voice emphasis (Certificate Recital) from Evangel University, and an AA from Neosho County Community College (KS). 

Jeffery Wall

Jeff Wall serves as professor of music and director of choral activities at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He is the co-founder and artistic director of Vox Solaris, a chamber choir in Tulsa. He holds an MM in choral conducting from the University of Tennessee, and a DMA in choral conducting from the University of South Carolina. In addition, Wall is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt with over thirty years of martial arts experience. 

Ryan Sullivan

Ryan Sullivan is the Director of Choral Activities at Arkansas State University where he conducts the Concert Choir, Jonesboro Chorale, and Singing Statesmen, and teaches coursework in conducting and music education. Prior to his time at A-State, Sullivan served as Associate Conductor for the Dallas Symphony Chorus and the conductor of Collegium Singers and Baroque Orchestra at the University of North Texas. As a fellow for the 2023 ICEP in Germany, he was an instructor and lecturer at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart and the Hochschule für Kirchenmusik in Rottenburg. 

Eric Cooley

Eric Cooley is an experienced choral music educator with over 16 years of experience in secondary choral classrooms and currently serves as the head choir director at Walnut Grove High School in Prosper ISD. Before his appointment at Walnut Grove, Mr. Cooley served as the director of choirs for Centennial High School in Burleson ISD. Choirs under his direction at Centennial were consistent “Sweepstakes” recipients at UIL Concert & Sight-Reading Contest and were frequently named “Best-In-Class” at local and regional festivals. Most recently, the CHS Chamber Singers were honored with a top-five finish at the North Texas Madrigal Festival in Plano, TX (2022). Before he arrived at Centennial, Mr. Cooley served as the assistant director of choirs at LD Bell High School, the artistic director of the HEB ISD Elementary Honor Choir, and the director of choirs at Ferguson JH in Arlington ISD.

Professionally, Mr. Cooley maintains active membership in the Texas Music Educators Association, the American Choral Directors Association, and the Texas Choral Directors Association. He is currently in the middle of his second term as the Coordinator of the Graded Honor Choirs for the SWACDA Conference next year in Denver, Colorado. Mr. Cooley received his Bachelor of Music Education at Baylor University (BME ’07) and Master of Music Education from Florida State University (MME ’12). “Go ‘Noles!” 

Kathy Bhat

Kathleen Bhat has 35 years experience as a music educator, all in the state of Missouri. She currently teaches choir, general music, music appreciation, and music production at Orchard Farm Middle and High School. Her choirs have consistently received high praise, including 4 performances at the Missouri Music Educators Association Conference. She is also the director of their all-district musical, which incorporates students from Kindergarten through High School.  In addition to teaching, Kathy serves in leadership roles in several professional organizations: Membership/Secretary for the Missouri Choral Directors Association (30 years); Membership Chair for the Southwestern American Choral Directors Association (10 years); Program Book Editor for Missouri Music Educators Association (22 years); Mentoring Chair for St. Louis Suburban District #5 (5 years); and a recent appointment as co-editor for the Missouri School Music Magazine, the publication of the Missouri Music Educators Association.