Fifty-Fifth National Conference

hudson terryTerry Lynn Hudson, Baylor University
2012 National Conference Program Chair

The 55th National Conference of The College Music Society was held November 15-18, 2012, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in beautiful San Diego. Over 450 members gathered to examine, experience, and share music in an abundance of ways, and collaborations with the Association for Technology in Music Instruction, the National Association of Schools of Music, the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors, and Pi Kappa Lambda further enriched the event.

Innovative presentation formats and a diversity of topics are hallmarks of any CMS conference, and this certainly held true in San Diego! As CMS welcomes members from all fields within music and constantly strives to minimize the boundaries between musical disciplines, conference attendees were able to engage in a remarkably wide array of informative and stimulating subjects. These included familiar branches of study, topics that moved us well out of our comfort zones, and overarching themes that are essential to all in our profession. Most notably, the national topic, ADVOCATE!, was a common thread throughout the conference, with forums and presentations planned that explored the topic from numerous perspectives. The Program Committee was particularly selective in putting together this program, and this was reflected in the high quality of scholarship demonstrated. Open forums, fishbowl discussions, lightning talks, interactions at poster sessions, and comment portions of presentations allowed all attendees to contribute to the discourse; the conversations were vibrant and often continued long after sessions had concluded.

Live performances were integral to the program, and individual performance and lecture-recital presentations highlighted common practice, contemporary, jazz, and world idioms and featured a variety of vocal and instrumental soloists and combinations. Concerts of works by CMS composers were conference high points, showcasing the excellence of the composers as well as the competitively screened ensembles performing their works. Another special event was the Friday evening International Perspectives concert, held at the Founders Chapel on the lovely University of San Diego campus. This concert provided a musical reflection of past CMS International Conferences, with invited performers Dalibor Cikojevic (Croatia), the Gyeongju City Choir (South Korea), and our fine host choir from the University of San Diego presenting delightful and varied music from across the globe.

Robert Trotter Lecturers are known for sharing thought-provoking and inspiring observations on issues important to the broad community of musicians, and this year’s guest lecturer was no exception. Joe Lamond, President and CEO of the National Association of Music Merchants, presented a timely and often humorous address entitled, “Creative Convergence–Music and Commerce: Celebrating a Shared Mission, Exploring Collaboration.” Lamond’s participation spotlights this year’s exciting new relationship between CMS and NAMM, an association which builds our first formal bridge to the music industry.

In addition to the scholarly and musical benefits of taking part, the San Diego conference provided numerous opportunities to connect with colleagues from the United States and beyond. We increased the amount of structured social time in San Diego, including several receptions and a number of coffee/networking breaks at key points in the schedule. A Sunday tour of San Diego’s Harbor and Old Town allowed additional time for friendly interactions and networking while exploring our spectacular conference city. It is hoped that participants enjoyed these opportunities to reconnect with colleagues and to establish new and dynamic relationships.

Many thanks to the Program and Composition Review Committees for their diligence in planning the conference, and I would like to express my particular appreciation for the exceptional work of Peter Park and the CMS Executive Office Staff. This year’s program was a strong success by all accounts, and I trust that attendees left San Diego with a renewed passion for our art and our profession.

Of Note:

  • 364 proposals were submitted (regular call, board call, committee call, lightning talks). 107 were accepted for presentation.
  • 142 score proposals were submitted. 25 were accepted.
  • 459 persons registered for the conference.
  • 328 persons downloaded the conference app, the CMS Guidebook Mobile Guide.