Harold Decker was the Chair of the Choral Division of the School of Music at the University of Illinois from 1957 to 1981. He was a charter member and past president of ACDA. In 1979, the Illinois Chapter of ACDA chose to institute the Harold Decker Award, with Dr. Decker being the first recipient. The award is given “in recognition of the significant contribution made to the lives of innumerable choral singers, conductors, and audiences who have been privileged to experience the finest in choral music as presented under his or her direction.”

Harold A. Decker (1914-2003) has made an impact on choral music not only in Illinois, but across the United States that is still felt today. He was one of the founders of the American Choral Directors Association in 1959. Decker’s tenure at the University of Illinois was from 1957 until 1981. He established the first DMA program in Choral Conducting in the country in 1960, touching the lives of countless choral directors and their students. Among many committee assignments, Harold was the President of ACDA from 1966-68, chairing our 1966 national convention held in Kansas City. In 1979, the IL ACDA established the Decker Award in his honor, presenting him with the first award. In 1997, Harold Decker was presented with the Robert Shaw Award by our national ACDA for his significant contributions to the choral art in America.

Requirements of the Harold Decker Award

1. Quality leadership and service to the art of choral music.
2. Minimum of 20 years of leadership in choral music.
3. Minimum of 15 years of choral service in Illinois.
4. A record of active service in IL-ACDA.

Nominations for the Illinois-ACDA Harold Decker Award

Any IL-ACDA member may nominate someone for the Decker Award by submitting, by January 1, a letter of nomination, at least two letters of support, and biographical information or a current resume of the candidate. At the January meeting, the IL-ACDA Board will vote on the recipient of the Decker Award, to be awarded at the summer ReTreat.

For complete details, see the IL-ACDA Bylaws (Article XVI. Awards.)

Please use this form to submit your nomination.

Harold Decker Award Recipients