In Conversation with President Keith Ward

Keith Ward

This month I complete my term as President of this great organization. It has been quite a ride -- at times tumultuous and harrowing, mostly uplifting and inspiring, and always well worth the effort.

I have been a participant in the continuum, someone who stepped into this position briefly, following Betty Anne Younker and preceding Eileen Hayes. In this respect, I have been part of our ongoing evolution, grateful to have received guidance from Betty Anne and others, and hopeful that I can assist Eileen pursue her compelling vision for CMS when her presidency begins January 1.

After these past two years CMS moves forward in many ways. It has an improved financial underpinning. We continue as an umbrella organization exploring perennial questions while pursuing demands for change. With leadership from the Board, we have made important changes to our infrastructure, both in governance and operations, and have pursued efforts to become more transparent in our election processes. I have cherished working with the professional staff in Missoula, and I’m proud to have been on the Board when we hired our superb new executive director, Bill Pelto.

Yes, it has been a great ride, and I hope one for you as well. What, then, would you, as a member of CMS, write about these past two years (or less, if you are a new member)? How have you changed, and has CMS played a role in that change? How were you challenged, and how did you challenge yourself? Where are you now in your unfolding career as compared to two years ago? What conferences did you attend or serve as a participant? Did you watch webinars? Apply for a job or assistantship listed in the MVL? Use the new online directory of music faculty, perhaps subscribing through the Plus membership? Write or read an article in Symposium? Take advantage of mentor services? Serve in CMS governance? Has your voice been part of the process? Pardon the presumption, but I hope this moment of change in presidents offers you a moment to reflect on your own narrative as well as your involvement in CMS.

I ask these questions because we, all of us, are CMS. Our collective activities and contributions to this organization support our mission as “a consortium of college, conservatory, university, and independent musicians and scholars interested in all disciplines of music,” of being an organization that “serves as an agent of change.” The Society thrives by what you bring to the table, how you participate in the dialogue, and how you serve our profession. I, like others, have accepted a visible role in CMS, but your contributions as members write the bigger story. I thank you for them. There will always be work to be done and new challenges to face. I hope you will be part of them in whatever form they may take.

It has been my honor to serve all of you these past two years, and I look forward to supporting Eileen Hayes, our incoming president, as she continues our Society’s process of ever-becoming, of being a consortium of colleagues thoroughly engaged with the shared purpose of moving the dialogue forward, of working toward a greater good only achievable through our purposeful, passionate, sometimes messy, collaborative efforts.

Best wishes,
Keith Ward