2019 Teacher of the Year - James Cumings

Mr. James Cumings has been teaching choral music since 1999 at Jackson Northwest Kidder Middle School.  During that time He has taken great pleasure in working with middle school singers--watching them grow both as musicians and young people who care about each other and their art.  There are days when he tells his students, “Can you believe that people pay me to hear you sing? I’ve got the best job in the world!”

In service to MSVMA, James has worked as a clinician, adjudicator, JH/MS repertoire liaison, district manager, treasurer, fall clinic manager, and has hosted many Solo & Ensemble events. He was also the director of the Michigan State Honors Choir for JH/MS SA singers in 2009, and the director of the MMEA Elementary Honors Choir in 2015/16. James has led conference sessions at MMC and MSVMA summer workshops about developing middle school choral tone, guiding the heart of a middle school singer, tips and tricks for sight-reading, getting singers to work so you don’t have to, and has been a panelist for “Meeting of the Minds”.

James’ Honors Choir has performed at past Michigan Music Conferences in 2004, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2016, and the Michigan ACDA Fall Conference in 2005.  In the last three years, 13 of his NWMS choirs have received superior ratings at choir festival both in performance and sight reading; his choirs sight read at the intermediate and advanced level AND his 8th grade ladies read high school advanced.

Beyond MSVMA, James has been hired as a guest conductor for the Boy’s PowerSing in Naperville IL, and has been a guest clinician at combined choir events in Muskegon, Roscommon, Grand Ledge, Watervliet, Jenison, Jackson area schools and more.  In the spring of 2014, his 7th grade choir was also featured at a Music Education Convocation at Western Michigan University.   This year will also mark the sixth summer of serving as a faculty member at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp directing the SSA Choir for grades 7-9. 

Outside the walls of public education, James enjoys spending time with his family, playing basketball and tennis, going hunting, fishing, and canoeing, as well as directing the church choir and leading worship at Bethel Church. 

On a personal note, I am truly humbled to be nominated again as one of MSVMA’s “Teacher of the Year”.  So many of you have invested in me. Much of what I do as a teacher is a direct result of teachers in Michigan guiding and shaping me and directing my practice.  Thank you all so much!

2019 Emeritus 


Jerry Blackstone

Robert Cindric

Gregory Cleveland

Darla Jewell

Tracee Behnke-Lentz

Judith Pellerito

Jeff Robinson

Joel Van Houten

Faith Yassick

MSVMA Emeritus Status

The Emeritus Membership Program honors retired MSVMA members, whose lives have been devoted to the enhancement of choral music in secondary schools. Nominations are made at spring District meetings and submitted to the MSVMA past president by June 1 for Board of Directors review. A one-time selection fee of $100 per candidate is paid by their District.

  • Taught vocal music or been actively involved with a choral music program for twenty-five or more years.
  • May have spent part of his/her career as a supervisor, coordinator, chairman or director of a school music program which includes choral music.
  • Demonstrated significant service to MSVMA.
  • Spent part of their careers in Michigan and with credit given for choral teaching or supervising and active vocal music organization membership in other states.

Lifetime membership in MSVMA is granted to recipients of Member Emeritus status. Members Emeritus may not serve as officers.

Candidates for emeritus status have:

Exceptions regarding teaching and/or length of tenure may be considered by the Executive Board.

Reaching for the Stars Award


Margaret Payne

Teachers of the Year


2018 Monty Bishop

2017 Kelli Falls
2016 Rebecca Scofield
2015 Pamela Pierson 
2014 Steve Hinz and Russ Larimer
2013 Todd Schreiber
2012 Rodney Bushey
2011 James Borst
2010 Robert Cindric
2009 Norma Freeman
2008 Bruce Snyder
2007 Richard Ingram
2006 Cheryl Gapinski
2005 Catherine Brodie and Wendee Wolf-Schlarf
2004 Robert Oster
2003 Mark Webb
2002 Gregory Cleveland
2001 Nina Scott
2000 Leslie Rowsey
1999 Robert A. Martin
1998 Virginia Anderson-Kerwin
1997 Susan Catanese
1996 Frank DeWald and Robert Sabourin
1995 Shirley Lemon
1994 Thomas Stokes
1993 Wendy Lake and Nancy Lange
1992 Nancy Bray
1991 Larry Wolf
1990 Brazeal Dennard
1989 John Tyner
1988 David Jorlett
1987 Howard Rizner
1986 Marvin Ritsema
1985 Donald Scott
1984 Helmut "Fritz" Petrich
1983 Roger Dehn
1982 John Bright
1981 Lowell Everson and James Mahoney
1980 Dorotha Schuler
1979 Jerry Smith
1978 Guy "Skip" Frizzell
1977 James Leonard
1976 Andy Zerban
1975 John Tousley
1974 Robert Ballard
1973 Eugene Dyer
1972 Eleanor Balaam
1971 John Elwell
1970 Gerald Gilbert
1969 Alfred "Giff" Richards
1968 Kenneth Jewell


Emeritus


William Abbott
Karlene Bach
Marti Beilfuss
Lavonne Bomeli
Carol Brand-Twa
Nancy Bray
Catherine Brodie
Tony Bumbaca
Vallory Bunday
Harry Burgess
Dr. Judith Burns
Rick Bushey
Rod Bushey
Virginia Caro
Bette Jane Dunlap Carrothers
Susan Catanese
Ellen Clement-Bureau
Phillip Clissold
Fred Colgren
Kevin Cushman
Roger Dehn
Sarah Dergazarian
Dr John Dovaras
Barbara Edwards
David Erfourth
Lowell Everson
Patricia Flesher
Norma Freeman
Guy Frizzell
Carole Galli
Cheryl Gapinski
Edward German
Carol Gess
Catherine Gilson
Charles & Dottie Gleason
Rick Gossett
Linda Grahek
Larry Gray
Sharon Green
Helen Hansens
Robert Hay
Bill Henson
Richard Hintz
Susan Hiser
Verna Holley
Connie Hyatt
Bernard Hyland
Dr Gilbert Jackson
Juanita Joiner
David Jorlett
Paula Joyner-Clinard
Thomas Kasdorf
Leo Klein
Patricia LaJoye
Nancy Lange
Russell Larimer
Shirley Lemon
Tim Lentz
Harvey Lucas
Mark Lundgren
Betsy Marsh
Linda Martino
Anne Maters
Patricia McKinney
Denise Minter
Geneene Morrisson
Nancy Moyes
Merle Mustert
Dean Nederveld
Karen Nevins
Lynn Nichols-Garland
Thomas Norager
Andrew Nowak
Robert Oster
James Parker
Theodore Pasma
Margaret Payne
Linda Pratt
Judith Premin
Marcia Pustelnik
Mary Rashid
Jeanne Rasmussen
Douglas Robinson
Ronald Rogers
Ruth Rollefson
Les Rowsey
Robert Sabourin
Fred Sang
Denise Sauter
Karen Schadel
Rose Scheller
Evelyn Schuette
Rebecca Scofield
Donald Scott
Nina Scott
Wilbur (Webb) Scrivnor
Judie Sharpe
Ron Sine
Dr Jerry Smith
Bruce Snyder
Christopher Sprink
Thomas Stokes
Mary Alice Stollak
Wendy Treacher
Mary Trolla
John Tyner
Alice Van Wambeke
Catherine A. Walker
Candice Wallace
Melvin Wasserman
Alan Watterworth
Mark Webb
Colin Weber
Cherry Westerman
Kenneth Westerman
Arvin Wierda
David Wikman
Larry Wolf
Alexander Zerban

Cheryl Gallas
Bernard Hyland 
Richard Ingram 
Pam Pierson 
Carol Rau
Rose Scheller 

                                                                                                  

Michigan School Vocal Music Association

P.O. Box 1131

Big Rapids, MI 49307-1131

(231) 592 - 9344


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