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:

Sign Up For the SWACDA Newsletter


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Message

Dear Choral Directors,

On behalf of the Southwestern Region of the American Choral Directors Association, I am delighted to welcome you to our community! Our region is one of six American Choral Directors Association regions, spanning seven states. As a member of ACDA, you are not just connected to colleagues in your state and region, but you are also part of a more extensive network of choral professionals from all over the U.S. We are excited to have you join us and contribute to our collective passion for choral music. 

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or embarking on your journey as a choral director, we are thrilled to have you join our vibrant community dedicated to the artistry, education, and joy of choral music. We hope our website can be a destination for information and resources tailored specifically to our region choral colleagues. Explore our website to discover upcoming events, resources, and membership benefits, which include articles, a blog, and a link to our YouTube channel. You can also connect with us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter, the SWACDA Connection. These sources share repertoire recommendations, rehearsal techniques and tips, professional development opportunities, and so much more.

I recognize and celebrate the profound impact of choral music on individuals, communities, and society. I have seen how lives are changed as singers work together to share their hearts and voices. We share a common passion for fostering excellence in choral performance, education, and leadership, and we want to support and empower choral directors like you in your pursuit of artistic and professional growth. Every voice matters, and we are committed to amplifying your voice and contributions within our community and beyond. Your insights, experiences, and perspectives enrich our collective understanding and inspire us to strive for excellence and inclusivity in all we do.

Thank you for choosing to be a part of the American Choral Directors Association and for visiting our website. Your membership is not just a number to us but a valuable contribution to our community. We look forward to supporting you on your musical journey and helping you inspire your singers to reach new heights of artistry and expression.

Warm regards,

Jonathan D. Owen

SWACDA President

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.

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.

Joshua Oppenheim

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). 

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. 

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. 

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.