Event Dates: January 19-21, 2023

DeVos Place
303 Monroe St
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503-2233

It’s not too late to register to attend the 2023 Michigan Music Conference!

Register Today!

If you can only attend ONE DAY of the conference - $80 Early Rate; $105 after December 16

Registration is now open for the 2023 Michigan Music - January 19 - 21.

The conference is in Grand Rapids with sessions and performances being held at DeVos Place, Amway Grand Hotel and the J.W. Marriott. 

MSVMA will be featuring Dr. Derrick Fox as our 2023 MMC Headliner. Dr. Fox is not a stranger to Michigan as during his time attending Michigan State University he served as a highly sought clinician and festival adjudicator. 

Dr. Fox will be presenting three different sessions with the focus on Diversity and Inclusion in Action as well as participate in the “Meeting of the Minds” panel discussion.

Friday, January 20, 10:00 AM - Diversity and Inclusion in Action

Friday, January 20, 2:00 PM - Diversity and Inclusion in Action: Exploring Repertoire

Saturday, January 21,  - The P.A.S.S.I.O.N.A.T.E. Choral Director's Guide to Longevity in the Classroom

Saturday, January 21 - “Meeting of the Minds” Panel Discussion



                                                                                                     Derrick Fox, 2023 MMC Headliner

Dr. Derrick Fox is the Director of Choral Activities and Distinguished Associate Professor of Music at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He earned a BME from Arkansas State University, a MM in Choral Conducting from the University of Missouri – Columbia and a DMA in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University, where he was awarded the prestigious University Enrichment Graduate Fellowship. Dr. Fox has taught at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels. His conducting experiences have included singers from upper elementary choirs through collegiate and community choirs. Recently, he was awarded the 2021 Bryan R. Johnson Service Award by the Nebraska Music Educators Association and the 2022 University of Nebraska Omaha Award for Distinguished Research/Creative Activity.

Dr. Fox has conducted all state choirs, led international, national and regional choral concerts/residencies and presented professional development workshops across the United States and internationally. His professional workshops focus on assessment in the choral classroom, building classroom community, rehearsal strategies, choral conducting techniques and shape note singing in the African American community. Dr. Fox has held teaching residencies and workshops at the Latvian Academy of Music, Syracuse University, Michigan State University and the University of Missouri - Columbia. He has also led performance tours through Lithuania and Estonia. In 2019, he conducted National ACDA Middle School/Junior High Mixed Honor Choir and traveled to South Africa as a 2019 ACDA International Conductor Exchange Fellow where he led choral workshops and rehearsals in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Potchefstroom. His recent engagements include presentations at Choral Canada's Podium Conference, the National Federation of Ghanian Choirs Inaugural Choral Conference and the Public Administration Theory International Conference in Mexico ; as well as conducting all state choirs in Oregon, Wyoming, Georgia, Kansas, South Carolina and Virginia.

As a baritone soloist, Dr. Fox has collaborated with various organizations; among them are the Arkansas Symphony, Lansing Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Columbia Chorale, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha Symphonic Chorus, University of Missouri, Michigan State University, Webster University and the Espaço Cultural (Brasilia, Brazil). He can be heard singing selections from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess on the compact disc In This Hid Clearing, available on the Naxos Classical Music label.

As an author, Dr. Fox has written articles for many organizations and was a contributing author in the Hal Leonard/McGraw Hill choral textbook Voices in Concert. His compositions and arrangements are published by Hal Leonard and Brilee Music. His book, Yes You Can: A Band Director’s Guide to Teaching Choirs is published by Carl Fischer. He launched The Derrick Fox Choral Series with Music Spoke to publish works by and about marginalized and minoritized people. He created the Professional Choral Collective (PCC) to collect and create learning activities and teaching strategies for choral music educators around the world to use during the 2020 Coronavirus virus pandemic and beyond. He also partnered with the Country Music Association Foundation to create the Unified Voices for Music Education Initiative which provides learning activities for instrumental and elementary music educators.

Dr. Fox serves on the advisory board for the Sound Spirit, a research lab and publishing initiative promoting collaborative engagement with the songbooks that sound America’s musical landscape. He is also a member of the advisory board for the Choral Singing in America documentary series. https://www.drderrickfox.com/

Pre Conference Opportunities - Thursday, January 19

MSVMA Choral Conducting Symposium

Dr. Erin Colwitz, Headliner

Director of Choral Activities at Northern Michigan University

9:00 am – 11:00 am

Additional fee for this session; fee does not include lunch

$40 - Conducting Member; $20 - Observer Member

20-minute sessions with six participant conductors, focusing on conducting and rehearsal technique. This pre-conference event will allow participants to conduct traditional choral repertoire with Northern Michigan University Chorale, and receive live feedback and instruction from a guest clinician Dr. Erin Colwitz. Teachers have the opportunity to apply as either a Conductor or as an Observer. College students may apply as an Observer. Both new and experienced choral conductors can benefit from observing or conducting.

Repertoire for the Conducting Symposium will include “Earth Song”, Frank Ticheli; “Ukrainian Alleluia”, Craig Courtney and “Day of Fire and Sun”, Dom DiOrio. Registration for this can be found in the conference registration. Communication will be sent to those who have signed up to participate at conductors with details regarding music selection.

MSVMA Collegiate Networking Sessions

The MSVMA Student Advisory Board is planning to offer three interest sessions on Thursday from 4:00  - 7:00 PM. These sessions will provide an opportunity to connect with collegiate MSVMA members as well as learn about life as a music educator. Strategies on how to interview for that first job and thrive as a music educator will also be shared . There are no additional fees for these sessions. 

General Conference Sessions & Performances

In addition to educational sessions we will also have musical performances from our 6-7-8-9, high school traditional and jazz Honors Choirs, Choral Hour is back on Friday and time to gather as we celebrate the members of MSVMA with election results, 2023 MSVMA Teacher of the Year and social time to get together with friends and colleagues at the Friday evening Annual Meeting and Reception.

Making Connections at MMC 2023

Attending the Michigan Music Conference is an inspiring experience because of all the wonderful interest sessions and performances. The MMC program app will be available in the near future. Use it to find interest sessions and concerts you wish to attend. Registrants will receive notification when the app is available to use.

MMC is also an amazing opportunity to  network and connect with colleagues from across the state. Here are other activities that will give MSVMA members an opportunity to connect with colleagues and old friends as well as make new friends through the world of choral music education.


Interest Sessions and Networking for MSVMA College and Practicing Members in Imperial Ballroom

There is no additional fee for this activity

4 PM - 4:45 PM - Student Teaching - Tips and Ideas for a Successful Experience

Student Teaching Panel: Claire Kaiser, Kara Treadway, Kelli Falls and Matthew Snell

This session will include a panel discussion regarding student teaching from both the “student” and “mentor” teacher perspectives.  Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions about how to prepare for and what to expect in their student teaching experience.

5 PM - 5:45 PM - Meet and Greet - Networking with current and future choral music educators

Round Robin Conversations with MSVMA Student Members and MSVMA Executive Board

This session will provide an opportunity for current choral music education students and practicing educators to have conversations about the world of choral music education and MSVMA.

6 PM- 6:45 PM - The Search for a Song Worth Singing

Presenters: Ginny Kerwin, MSVMA Emeritus; Wendee Wolf-Schlarf, Traverse City Area Public Schools

This interactive session will focus on choosing repertoire that reaches the body, mind, spirit and voice. Strategies on how to select repertoire for ensembles from different grade and ability levels as well as how to engage students beyond the notes and rhythms.

All Conference College Fair in Ambassador Ballroom

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

There is no additional fee for this activity

High school students participating in the MSVMA Honors Choirs and MSBOA All-State ensembles will have an opportunity to learn more about how to be involved in music at college 5:30 - 6:30 PM - Ambassador Ballroom. Parents/families are welcome to attend this as well. There will be a general information session at 5:30 pm presented by Colleen Conway with the opportunities to visit with various colleges/universities representatives following the presentation.

All Conference Exhibit Hall “Welcome Back” Celebration

Exhibit Hall

7 PM - 10 PM

There is no additional fee for this reception


Impromptu MSVMA Beer Choir

Atwater Brewing

201 Michigan St., NW

8:00 - 9:00 PM

Beer Choir Hymnal will be provided; attendees will be responsible for their own beverages and food

Don’t miss the first MSVMA Beer Choir.MSVMA members never pass up an opportunity to join together in song and our first MMC Beer Choir provides just that opportunity. Erin Colwitz will lead us in song. Plan to join colleagues from 8 PM - 10 PM at Atwater Brewing. 


MSVMA Celebration Reception

Pantlind Ballroom

5 PM 

The annual MSVMA Celebration Reception will be held on Friday, January 20 @ 5:00 PM in the Pantlind Ballroom. Along with an annual update from our Executive Director, Erik Jacobson, members come together to celebrate our new Emeriti members, nominees  and newly elected members to the Board of Directors, honors choir and choral hour conductors and the 2023 Teacher of the Year. 


Michigan School Vocal Music Association

P.O. Box 1131

Big Rapids, MI 49307-1131

(231) 592 - 9344

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