Elise Cismesia chosen for American Choral Music Association

Jasmine Abdallah, In-Depth Editor

After over five years of private voice lessons, Elise Cismesia has been chosen as a member of the American Choral Music Association (ACDA).


For a student in a choral program, being chosen as a member of the ACDA is the highest honor and achievement one can receive. To become a member, thousands of students across the country send in audio of themselves singing an excerpt of a song. From there, judges of the ACDA invite students to become members, attend conventions, and perform in a combined choir.


Choral directors Frank Piekarz and Beth O’riordan, both members of the ACDA, have helped to guide Cismesia through her journey to become part of the organization. “It’s a professional organization, and they hold conferences and workshops to foster professional development and offer students opportunities to grow as musician,” O’riordan said. “You’re competing with peers to get into one of the ensembles.”


Cismesia was chosen out of over 3,000 other students that auditioned, and will move on to perform at a five-day convention in Minneapolis starting on March 7.


In addition to performing with other selected students, Cismesia will get the opportunity to work with Eric Whitacre, who is one of the most popular modern-day music composers.


“I originally heard about ACDA from my friends at camp over the summer, and they recommended that I audition. My private [voice] teacher helped me prepare a repertoire for the audition, and she’s helping me prepare the music for the concert in March,” Cismesia said. “I’m very excited. I feel very honored to have the opportunity to represent, not only DGN and District 99, but the state of Illinois.”


The choir that Cismesia will perform in will have about 300 members, all of whom were chosen through the same audition process. “It’s a larger pool and therefore, the honor, the distinction is higher.” Piekarz said. “It’s phenomenal. It’s rough odds and we’re really proud of her for putting the audition together and being selected, of course.”


The ACDA choir is similar to ILMEA all-state choirs, except on a national scale, opposed to a state scale. “As opposed to going to all-state, you show up and they assume you know your part. With this particular group, it is more intense, so when she shows up, she has to show that she has prepared all of the music in order to actually sing with the group,” O’Riordan said. “This is something she has taken a lot on her own. She’s also working on preparing music for colleges. Her goal is to be a voice major, so she has to take on a lot of work, but she’s very independent and very strong.”


“We expect it to go well. She’s a part of the choir. Elise will be prepared, there’s no concern. The honor has been bestowed upon her and she gets to perform.” Piekarz said.