• Home
  • Articles
  • 2021 Performing Arts Conference is Biggest Yet

2021 Performing Arts Conference is Biggest Yet

By Kyle Mills on October 08, 2021 speech debate & theatre directors & judges article Print



*Links to Conference Presentations Below*

The 22nd annual NFHS Performing Arts Conference (PAC) was conducted in an in-person format in Denver, Colorado from September 20th – 22nd after a one-year virtual hiatus. Over the course of the three-day event, the conference was attended by 82 representatives from 30 states and 15 national organizations.

The 82 representatives and 15 national organizations mark the largest amount of attendees at the PAC.

“It has been an invigorating experience watching the PAC nearly double in size,” said Dr. James Weaver, NFHS Director of Performing Arts and Sports. “This shows that the commitment to Performing Arts on behalf of the NFHS and the professional development provided is of great value to our member state associations.”

The NFHS Performing Arts Department was able to secure an amazing keynote speaker, Ron Minatrea, to deliver a powerful message to fine arts state administrators. His presentation focused on equipping leaders and their teams to become more effective, the importance of understanding the last 18 months, and the value of not running on empty.

“Ron understood the impact that the pandemic has had on all of us as leaders in our states. He knew the last eighteen months have been more than challenging and he urged us to examine what was left in our “cup”. Many of us had to admit there was not much,” shared NFHS Speech, Debate, Theatre Committee Chairperson and Texas UIL Speech & Debate Director, Jana Riggins. “He shared ways to refill our cups through aligning who we are and our goals, examining our identity in order to develop an identity-based vision, and working to develop an exponential mindset. Each time we engage others we multiply our impact and that adds to the refilling of our cup. And he reminded us that we must invest in resting and reflection, intentionally doing the things that bring life to us (pouring into our cup) because investments in ourselves affect our effectiveness and who we want to be. His message rejuvenated and empowered us all.”

In addition to Ron, attendees experienced 20 workshop sessions along with 3 roundtable discussion forums for a record breaking total of 24 sessions. Speech, Debate and Theatre workshops were held on September 20th and on the morning of the 21st and were followed by a transition into the combined sessions before focusing on Music in the afternoon of the 21st and morning of the 22nd.

“I have attended the NFHS PAC for seven years and this year was the best,” remarked NFHS Music Committee Chairperson and KSHSAA Assistant Executive Director, Craig Manteuffel. “I administer speech, debate and music in Kansas, so I attend all three days of sessions. This year’s presentations were outstanding. As educators we benefit significantly by learning from performing arts experts from across the United States. Personally, I enjoy the roundtable discussion forums. Attendees range from state high school association administrators, MEA administrators, SDT administrators, along with performing arts business professionals, which provide a wealth of networking opportunities. The diverse topics we discuss are relevant and in many cases we gain excellent suggestions from other state leaders so we can provide better opportunities for our own students, directors and coaches.”

Weaver said this year’s workshops especially were among some of the most timely and impressionable sessions the conference has ever offered, addressing topics such as Digital Publications and Performance, Aerosol Research and Working With State Government Agencies while focusing on the recruitment, retention of students along with the personal health and safety of students, educators, and administrators.

While the 2020 PAC was able to take place in an online format, Weaver was thrilled about the return to an in-person conference this year, where he and other attendees got a chance to partake in a time of long overdue fellowship.

“Hosting the Performing Arts Conference in person brought us back together as a performing arts community and although we wore masks, we could tell people were smiling and excited to be together again,” concluded Weaver.

To read CHSAA's article recap of the event, click here


Links to Conference Presentations

Theatre Safety, Where Safety is No Accident

Kristi Ross-Clausen - Theatre Expert

Adam Jacobi - NFHS Speech/Debate/Theatre Committee Member and Wisconsin High School Forensic Association

Protecting Students and Judges in a Virtual Environment

Jamelle Brown - NFHS Speech/Debate/Theatre Committee Member

Recruiting Students and Rebuilding Programs

Amy Doherty - Minnesota State High School League

Lauren McCool - NSDA Online Springboard Series

Coping with Politically Charged Topics in Forensics Competition

Kevin Minch - NFHS College Advisor

Work-Life Balance

Speech/Debate/Theatre Discussion Forum

Compiled Notes

Virtual Speech and Debate, What it Provided and Where It is Going

Greg Cunningham - Massachusetts Speech and Debate League

Getting Coaches Back on Board

Steve Meadows - Kentucky High School Speech League

Keynote Speaker - Ron Minatrea


Ron's Contact Info

Partner Discussion - Gator Cases

Contact Gina Clement (gina.clement@gatorcases.com)

Digital Publications and Performance

Aerosol Research and What it Means for the Future of Performing Arts

Working with State Government Agencies

Bob Morrison - Arts Ed New Jersey and Quadrant Research

BMI and Public Performance Licensing

Ed Sumosky & Team, BMI

Thank You from BMI Songwriters (Video)

Combined Roundtable Discussion

Compiled Notes

Technology in Music Education

Increasing Engagement from Rural/Inner City Communities

David Brown - NYSSMA President

Gina Costanza - MEANYC President

Returning to In-Person Events

Mick Bridgewater - NFHS Music Committee/Indiana State School Music Association

Breakfast Conversation - Event Management System

Shaun Gallant & Rick Valenzuela - BD Performing Arts

Music Roundtable Discussion

Compiled Notes

Recruitment of Adjudicators

Tim Leighton - NFHS Music Committee/MSHSL

Bethany Brookens - NFHS Music Committee/CHSAA

Rashaan Davis - CHSAA

Reinvigorating Music Programs

Mark Wood - Mark Wood Music / Electrify Your Symphony

Video #1

Video #2

Engaging Your State's Music Advisory Committee

Brooks Bowman - South Dakota HS Activities Association

Future of Large Group Contests and Festivals, What Changes will Stay?

Mike Plunkett - OSSAA

Alan Greiner - IHSMA