Episode 131: Going Beyond Good Intentions with Robyn Hilger

In part two of my conversation with ACDA Executive Director Robyn Hilger, we pick up right where we left off last week in Episode 130. I begin by asking Robyn about the ACDA national conventions session line up. We discuss what is there, and what is missing. We move from there into a deep discussion of ACDA’s Diversity Initiatives and how we would measure success or progress. At what point does the intersectionality of our diverse membership simply become “unique individuals” with unique wants and needs? How does a large membership organization respond to this challenge? For example, a recent region conference had all male conductors on the slate. What no one knows is whether or not we had a diverse pool to choose from. This matters because you have to understand the problems in order to solve them.

We discuss this, and the idea that I call “Trickle Down Social Justice.” Are we focused on composers on the program or who conducts at conventions? Or are we focused on the lack of equity in music training of fourth graders? Could this be bias toward what is visible?

https://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/choralosophy.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Ep-131.mp3

There have been times in our history where the opinion of the Executive has really set the trajectory. My job as the executive is to activate the membership. ACDA is not Robyn Hilger. That would be a mistake.

From approx. 30 minutes in.
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Robyn Hilger is beginning her second year as executive director of the American Choral Directors Association. A native Oklahoman, Hilger is a classically trained clarinetist. She graduated with high honors in 1999 from Oklahoma City University with a bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education. She earned her master’s degree in school administration from the University of Central Oklahoma and is currently pursuing her doctorate of education in administration and leadership at Southern Nazarene University. She is a National Board-Certified Teacher in early adolescence/young adult music with specialization in band.

The overarching theme of her work is meeting the identified needs of historically marginalized and under-resourced communities. Robyn began her career as the band and strings teacher at Belle Isle Enterprise Middle School, in Oklahoma’s largest urban school district, where she created the fine arts department. In 2006, she was recognized as Oklahoma’s State Teacher of the Year and she served as Oklahoma’s Ambassador of Teaching, traveling more than 20,000 miles delivering some 200 workshops and speeches focused on teaching, advocacy, and education policy.

In 2007, she joined the staff of the Foundation for Oklahoma City Public Schools as the chief programs officer. In 2013, she supported the launch of El Sistema Oklahoma as a volunteer. In 2014, she was asked to join the organization as the executive director. El Sistema Oklahoma facilitates the development of empowered youth who use music to make strong positive change in their lives, their communities, and the world. El Sistema Oklahoma operates every day after-school and is completely free for participating families.

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In 2017, she was named New Fundraiser of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Oklahoma City Chapter. Robyn also serves on the advisory board for the Oklahoma Youth Orchestras and is a board member for Oklahoma Youth Sing! (formerly known as the Norman Children’s Chorus).

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Robyn is a connector of people, organizations, and opportunities. She lives in Oklahoma City with her husband Stephen and their three cats.

To get in touch with Robyn, you can add her on Facebook (@robynhilger or @robynhilgeracda) or email her at executivedirector@acda.org.

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