In Conversation with President Eileen M. Hayes

Eileen Hayes

Comings and Goings

As the new year comes more fully into view, allow me to take a moment to express our collective gratitude to our outgoing CMS Board members and to welcome our new officers.  It is a truism of professional societies, that the responsibility to uphold and perpetuate the organization’s mission resides in each of us; this is certainly true in regard to CMS.  Incoming board members who have already hit the ground running include: Teri Dobbs (Music Education), Emery Stephens (Performance), Gene Trantham (At Large Member), Kim Wangler (Music Industry) and Charles Young (Treasurer).  We extend a hearty thanks to outgoing Board members: Amanda Soto (Music Education), Richard Dammers (At Large Member), Ann Sears (Treasurer), and Nicole Molumby (Performance) for their just in time ideas, intellectual labor, collegiality, and good cheer.  Lastly, my sincere thanks to Past-President Keith Ward, whose ability to imagine the possible will continue to influence the direction of the Society for years to come.

I would like to draw your attention to our Regional Chapter meetings and the opportunity they pose for CMS members to engage in exchange, introspection, and conviviality with colleagues old and new.  Our nine Regional Chapter Presidents are some of the unsung heroes of CMS and we acknowledge this highly esteemed and hard-working cohort. The regional conference schedules reflect our membership’s engagement of our Common Topic of Equity and Opportunity in significant ways. Just one highlight is the observance of the Southern Conference’s 40th anniversary year with Keryl McCord, President and CEO of EQ, The Equity Quotient, providing the keynote address. The EQ is described as a national training and organizational development firm that regards equity, diversity, and inclusion as outcomes of its work. As I have heard from CMS members from across the country, there seems to be widespread support for our Common Topic, realized in myriad ways, as we expose our students to futures in music through our teaching.

To my knowledge, there are currently five CMS student chapters.  Given the challenges students face in sustaining involvement in professional societies over the course of their degree programs, the rather low number is understandable, yet we seek to help develop this most important cohort going forward.  Many thanks to Gene Trantham and Jennifer Snodgrass, Faculty Advisors, to the Student Advisory Council.

The frigid nights of the winter season have provided me with time to catch up on my reading of the current issue of the College Music Symposium, Lisa A. Urkevich, General Editor.  The November 2018 issue titled “Music, Business, and Peace,” was the first in the history of the Symposium to be designated as a “Special Issue.” Edited by the pre-eminent ethnomusicologist Ruth M. Stone, the current issue problematizes topics discussed at a conference held at Indiana University in summer 2017.  The event brought together music scholars and educators from across campus and beyond. In addition to articles on Leonard Bernstein, including an interview with his eldest son, the issue includes an article by the 2018 Trotter Lecturer, Carolyn Calloway Thomas, on the role of empathy in the quest for peace, and another, by Timothy L. Fort, on the possible instrumentality of music for more ethical business behaviors.  Fort’s explication works out from Olivier Urbain’s five assumptions about music’s potential for contributing to world peace.

The work of the Society is ongoing and far-reaching. In our music departments, colleges, and schools of music, we prepare for faculty and student recitals, guest lectures, recruitment ventures, and tours of our premiere ensembles. Students to whom faculty and staff have dedicated time and energy will graduate in a few short months, visible evidence of the poet’s observation that the seeds we planted in the dead of winter, will blossom in spring.  Spring is coming.