In Conversation with President Betty Anne Younker

Betty Anne Younker

As I reflect on the last two years of serving as President, I am reminded of the statement that summarizes CMS: "The College Music Society is a unique consortium of college, conservatory, and university faculty, and of independent musicians and scholars interested in all disciplines of music. It also is an organization that serves as an agent of change specific to concerns facing music in higher education."


The tradition of who we are is reflected in this statement, as is the opportunity to transition, evolve, and transform. We have experienced transition in the last year as the search committee selected a new Executive Director, Dr. Bill Pelto, who officially begins August 1, 2017, and we will continue to experience transition until Bill Pelto's official start date. Robby Gunstream, who served CMS as ED for 33 years officially retires December 31, 2016 but will remain in an advisory capacity until July 31, 2017. I step down as President December 31, 2016 and Keith Ward takes on the role January 1, 2017.

Transition provides opportunities to evolve, and over the last two years we have formed one new committee and one new council, both of which have been reported in previous president's reports: Committee on Musicians' Health (Gail Berenson) and Council on Improvisation (Ed Sarath).

The Society continues to evolve and transform through the work of the two summits: (1) Shaping Institutional Expectations for National Benchmarking of Faculty and Music Unit Accomplishments led by Jim Scott, and (2) 21st Century Music School Design led by David Cutler and hosted by Tayloe Harding at USC-Columbia. The continuing work will be experienced at international, national, and regional conferences as well as with the program Creating Music Curricula of the Future (CMCF). The Society will sponsor a workshop in cooperation with NAMM foundation during the Summer NAMM Show: MUSICCHANGE 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. The goal is to help identify communities of invocation, past and present, and cultivate new communities of innovation to drive the creation of the music curricula of the future.

We continue to connect through webinars, hosted by Tom Cook, and meetings of the various committees in virtual spaces. We still need, however, the time to connect face to face as experienced at the conferences, summits, and workshops. These experiences have shaped and informed me at so many levels throughout my professional career and I thank each and every one of you for your guidance, insights, and support.

At this time, I want to thank Robby (Executive Director), and the entire CMS staff who are an amazing and committed group of people. Their work allows spaces for the President, board members, and all committee members to do what we are tasked to do, and the support is phenomenal. It has been an honor to serve as your President-a daunting honor but nonetheless an honor.

And now I pass the CMS President's baton to Keith Ward. I look forward to his leadership and energy, and to working with him over the next year in the role as Past President.

Betty Anne Younker
President, College Music Society