The Stace N. Stegman Award was established by the Central Region of the American Choral Directors Association in 2003 in memory of Stace N. Stegman (1946-2003), who gave tirelessly and selflessly in the service of choral music. To the many conductors, teachers and performers who knew him as a colleague and friend, Stace will always stand for what is best in our profession. He demonstrated passion, knowledge, and integrity in his work and in his relationship with the Central Region (now the Midwest Region). In this spirit, and in recognition of significant contributions to the choral art and to the Central Region of the American Choral Directors Association, the Stace N. Stegman Award is presented at each Midwest Region conference to a member who has demonstrated similar characteristics in service to the choral art.
2020 – Bill Niederer
William G. (Bill) Niederer has taught music in the public schools of Iowa and Indiana since 1986. He is in his twentieth year at Elkhart (IN) Central High School, where he directs three choirs and teaches AP Music Theory, music theory, and piano keyboarding. He served as ACDA Central Region editor from 2002 until 2017, soliciting ads, payments, and articles for the Resound publication, as well as producing five Central Region conference program books. During this time, he also served for twelve years on the Indiana CDA board, including terms as Secretary and President. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Indiana State University, with principal instruments of voice and organ, and remains a substitute organist in the Michiana area and an adjudicator in Iowa and Indiana.
2020 – Kathy Walker
Kathy Walker teaches general music, K-4, in Avon Lake, OH. She also directs a volunteer after-school choir for 3rd and 4th graders with about 60 singers, leads a community service group with about 75 students and teaches a summer camp for singers entering grades K-2. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting, both from Kent State University, where she was graduate assistant to Dr. CM Shearer. Over her career, she has taught private voice and piano and accompanied choral groups with Oberlin Choristers. In addition, she is currently treasurer for the North Coast Kodaly Association, the local chapter of the Organization of American Kodaly Educators. She served as ACDA Central Division Treasurer from 2008 until 2018. She resides in Avon Lake with her husband, Steve, and their two children.
2018 – Mary Hopper
Mary Hopper, Professor of Choral Music and Director of Performance Studies at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music conducts the Wheaton College Men’s Glee Club and the Women’s Chorale and is a frequent conductor for the Wheaton Opera production. Both of her choirs have appeared on ACDA conferences.
Dr. Hopper is currently National Past-President of the American Choral Directors Association and was conference chair for the ACDA 2015 National Conference in Salt Lake City. She has served ACDA on the state and division levels since 1983 when she was a member of the planning committee for the Central Division convention. Since then she has held positions as Central Division Women’s Choir R & S Chair, Illinois State Treasurer, Illinois Newsletter Editor, Illinois State President, and Central Division President.
She has been honored by Wheaton College with a Senior Teaching Achievement Award and the Distinguished Service to Alma Mater Award. In 2014 Illinois ACDA awarded Dr. Hopper the Harold A. Decker Award in recognition and appreciation of the significant contribution she has made to choral music.
2016 – John Jost
John Jost, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Actvities at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois since 1989, is co-founder and co-director of the nationally renowned Peoria Bach Festival, which presents vocal and instrumental works of Bach each year during the first week of June. A native of California, Jost received his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from Stanford University. Jost has taught at the Ecole Sainte Trinité for Haitian youth in Léogâne, Haiti, including teaching at their summer music camp, for 40 years. A past president of the Illinois ACDA chapter, Jost’s duties at Bradley include directing the Chorale, Chamber Singers, and Community Chorus, and teaching private voice and conducting. He also oversees Bradley’s efforts to serve the central Illinois choral community, including skills clinics for area choral directors, an honor choir for area high schools, a festival audition preparation workshop for district high schools, and rehearsal clinics for area school choirs. IL-ACDA recognized his contributions to ACDA with the Harold Decker Award in 2012.
2014 – Hilary Apfelstadt
Hilary is Professor and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Toronto. Raised in Nova Scotia, she earned her degrees from the University of Toronto, the University of Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also received an ARCT diploma in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Formerly Director of Choral Activities and Associate Director of the School of Music at The Ohio State University, she has conducted choirs at division and national ACDA conferences and all-state choirs in more than 30 states. She has published nearly 90 articles in professional journals and serves on the editorial boards of ACDA’s Choral Journal, NCCO’s Choral Scholar, and the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing. A life member of ACDA, Apfelstadt served as president of North Carolina ACDA, president of the Central Division, and ACDA national president 2007 – 2009.
2012 – Maurice Casey
Maurice’s record of service includes serving as Ohio CDA president 1975- 1977, Central Division president 1979-1981 and as ACDA national president 1983-1985. His advocacy of new music and his belief in giving voice to young and aspiring composers led to his commissioning of 39 choral works. Casey moved to Ohio in 1963 to assume the position of Director of Choirs at Baldwin-Wallace College. Four years later, he was appointed Director of Choral Studies at The Ohio State University and taught there until his retirement in 1994. In 2009, the Ohio Choral Directors Association presented Casey with the Distinguished Service Award. A native of Kansas, Maurice earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas, with graduate study at Columbia University.
2010 – Mary Alice Stollak
Mary Alice served as Director of Choral Activities for the Community Music School at Michigan State University, where she was the Founding Director of the Michigan State University Children’s Choir. Santa Barbara Music Publishing Company publishes the Mary Alice Stollak Choral Series, a set of treble choral publications that presents works by national and international composers in a variety of musical styles. Stollak served as ACDA Central Division President and also was the President of ACDA-Michigan and Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA). Stollak received a BME degree from Indiana University and an MA degree from Michigan State University in 1982. Stollak retired as the Founding Artistic Director of the Michigan State University Children’s Choir in 2009.
2008 – Dennis Blubaugh
Dennis, owner of Musical Resources of Toledo, Ltd., is originally from Berlin PA, Blubaugh and received a Bachelor of Music degree, specializing in church music, from Valparaiso University and a Master’s in Music and Liturgy from the University of Notre Dame. He has also attended Syracuse University, the University of Akron, and the University of Toledo. As a choral accompanist, he has worked with the Notre Dame Chapel Choir, Detroit Lutheran Singers, the Masterworks Chorale of Toledo, and Cantare (Northwest Ohio). As a conductor, he has directed children, youth, and adult choirs in church music positions in Syracuse NY, Detroit, and Toledo. Dennis is the founder and past director of the Northwest Ohio Women’s Choir.
2006 – Richard (Dick) Wesp
Dick, a veteran of the classroom, taught for over 52 years, always maintaining high standards for quality choral singing in one of the premier choral programs of the Midwest. Wesp’s choirs performed with the Cincinnati Pops and qualified annually for the Ohio Music Education Association state level adjudicated events. He served ACDA in countless capacities, ranging from OCDA state board to national and division exhibits chair. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by OMEA which is annually awarded to only one recipient from all musical disciplines.
2004 – Phil Dunn
Phil served the Central Division as treasurer for the ten years, was co- coordinator of the Indiana All-State Choirs, and served the Indiana CDA as IMEA liaison. He was named Indiana Music Educator of the Year in 2000. Starting his career in 1957, he retired in 1991 from teaching at Warren Central High School, Indianapolis, where he was chair of the music department for 20 years and taught choral music for nearly 30 years. He also was past director of the Indianapolis Männerchor and had been a church choir director for over 30 years. Phil received his AB in Music in 1954 and his MA in Music Education in 1964, both from Indiana University. He was in the US Air Force ROTC 1952-1954, active duty Air Force 1955-1957, and retired as a colonel from the US Air Force Reserve in 1991.