Colleen Kirk Award

Dr. Colleen Jean Kirk (1918-2004) served as president of Southern Region from 1971-1985 and National president of the American Choral Directors Association from 1981-1983. Her leadership of ACDA may be best known for her pioneering role in shaping ACDA’s National Standing Committee on Repertoire & Standards. Dr. Kirk spent fifty years devoted to choral music and worked closely with Harold Decker in developing the choral conducting doctoral program at the University of Illinois. She was the author of numerous articles and co-authored Choral Conducting: Focus on Communication with Harold Decker. Dr. Kirk’s leadership in church music inspired generations of singers and conductors. She was the sixth recipient of the Robert Shaw Choral Award.

The Award

In recognition of the outstanding achievements and contributions to ACDA and choral music education made by Dr. Kirk throughout her long and distinguished career, the Colleen Kirk Award is established to promote the ideals and standards represented by her life and work. Contributions to the lasting impact of this fund may be made by contacting ACDA’s National Office.

The award is presented to new and aspiring choral conductors who are members of ACDA, in support of their attendance at regional or national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association. Choral music teachers in their first three years of full-time pre-collegiate teaching will be eligible. The award supports a goal articulated at the National Leadership Conference in August 2001 that ACDA provide support and mentoring for aspiring and new teachers in choral music education.

2024 Colleen Kirk Award Application

Choral music teachers in their first three years of full-time pre-collegiate teaching are eligible to apply for the Colleen Kirk Award, which provides complimentary registration to the regional conference and a stipend to assist with travel.

The application process consists of an application form, a one-page letter stating your goals in attending the conference, and a letter of recommendation from a teacher, colleague, or administrator (please include phone number and email address in recommendation for verification).

Recipients of the award will submit a report to the Region president within one year, following receipt of the award. Availability of funds will determine the number and amount of the awards presented annually.

Applications for the 2024 Colleen Kirk Award opened on October 6, 2023, and closed on November 6, 2023. The 2024 award recipient(s) have been notified.

2024 Award Recipient

Sarah Gould is the Choral Director at Forest Creek Middle School in Fort Mill, SC. She developed the program when the school opened in 2021 and her choirs have received superior ratings at state adjudications. She also created her passion project, the Special Settings Collaborative Music class for neurodivergent students. Gould graduated from Belmont University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Vocal Performance. She cites ACDA Members, Dr. Jeffery Ames, Dr. Lesley Mann, and Drew Bowers as some of her most influential choral teachers in her education. Outside of teaching, Gould sings with the Charlotte Master Chorale and Chamber Singers under the direction of Dr. Kenney Potter and is a staff singer at Dilworth United Methodist Church.