American Choral Directors Association National Conference Sexism, color coded!
Amelia Nagoski, DMA


Thank you for your article — you got me thinking! I am wondering if you had access to the application data, to determine whether higher numbers of male conductors apply to conduct at the conference (this year and historically…obviously the charter members of ACDA were all men (from the ACDA website: 1959 ACDA Steering Committee members J. Clark Rhodes, Elwood Keister, Curt Hansen, Harry Robert Wilson, R. Wayne Hugoboom, and Archie Jones), but it has since evolved to 4,000+ members). While I agree with your arguments here, I was left wondering whether there is a consistent level of submissions from equal numbers of women and men. Are women taking themselves out of the running? To pursue this topic further/to strengthen the validity of your arguments here, I think we need to understand the application data. Even as there are disproportionate numbers of men conducting mixed and “upper level” choirs, is representation on the conference program reflecting a preference of their applications? Or, are there equal numbers of men and women applying, but is the competition for those high level children’s/treble/women’s choirs that are usually OUTSTANDING greater than the competition at other levels thus limiting the number of excellent female (or male conductors) that work with that level? Or are men more interested in being featured in this type of setting than women? Or something else? I can say that anecdotally, I see a lot of female conductors of all types of choirs at the Division Level, so I am wondering if they don’t apply to the national because the division gives them better local recruitment visibility? (I have no idea, just wondering as I type.)

Finally, I am not negating or ignoring the overwhelming amount of sexism that is present in every day life, in other professions as well as ours — I am just suggesting that looking into what is behind the conference selection process is a missing piece of this puzzle as I read it.

I wanted to reach out and say you got me thinking and I would love to hear about it if you look into this in more depth. Thanks for writing and best wishes!

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