IL-ACDA Outstanding Young Choral Director Award

Congratulations to Jessica Heinrich of Geneva High School, Young Choral Director Award Recipient for 2023!

Jessica Heinrich graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she received a BME with a concentration in Choral Music. She received her MME from VanderCook College of Music and is currently the Choir Director at Geneva Community High School where she teaches four curricular ensembles and is the Vocal Music Director for the GHS Spring Musical. Prior to her position at GHS, Jessica was the Assistant Choir Director at Plainfield East High School. She has held multiple leadership roles in IL-ACDA, including the Membership Chair as well as the Student Representative. Currently, she serves as the ILMEA District 9 Senior Vocal Jazz Co-Representative and performs as a soprano with the St. Charles Singers.

The IL-ACDA Outstanding Young Choral Director Award was unanimously approved by the IL-ACDA Board of Directors in 2018. This new award is intended to encourage young choral directors in Illinois to stay involved with our organization and to recognize those who are accomplishing great things with their singers. It will be presented annually at the Summer ReTreat.

Nominations or questions should be sent to the IL-ACDA President, Paul Laprade, at Thank you for supporting our talented young choral directors with your nominations!

January 1st is the due date for letters of nomination and support.

Illinois Outstanding Young Choral Director Award Information


  • Ten or fewer years of choral directing experience in any community setting (the majority in Illinois)
  • Demonstrable promotion of choral music in the community served
  • Characteristics of a master choral director (including singer rapport, musicianship, enthusiasm for the profession, professional growth)
  • Membership in IL ACDA
  • Support and involvement of IL ACDA functions

Selection Procedure:

  • A total of three nomination letters must be submitted (two of which must be members of ACDA) no later than January 1st.  The third letter can either be an ACDA member or an administrator, parent/guardian or former singer (Please use the following form)
  • Biographical information of the nominee will be sought by the Award Chair of IL ACDA.  (A form will be provided to be completed by the nominee.)
  • One audio or video recording of at least 10 minutes of a choral rehearsal/performance will be requested of the nominee by the Award Chair/Past President.
  • A committee of three IL ACDA board members will be appointed by  and convened by the Award Chair/Past President.  The committee will consider submitted nominees, determine which nominees satisfy the requirements and submit zero, one or more nominees to the IL ACDA Board at the January board meeting. The committee may rank nominees, attach comment or just submit names.  Committee recommendations will be sent to IL-ACDA Board members in advance of the January meeting. 
  • The successful nominee will be presented with the award at the Summer ReTreat.

Past Recipients of the Illinois Outstanding Young Choral Director Award

  • 2022 – Monica Bertrand, St. Charles East HS
  • 2019 – Brandon Catt, Glenbard East HS