Dear Members and Friends of The College Music Society:
I offer greetings from Missoula on this first day of my full-time service in the position of executive director. As CMS President Keith Ward noted in his July message, this is a time of significant change—certainly for the organization and me. Undoubtedly, many of you are navigating changes of your own this summer, and I hope they are bringing you as much personal and professional invigoration as this time has brought me. It is now just one month since I moved out of my office on the Appalachian State University campus, in effect leaving my life as an academic, at least one with a direct singular tie to a university or college. For the first time since 1976, I no longer have a valid campus identification card.
I begin this professional chapter of my life with optimism about The College Music Society, its programs, and especially its people—including the accomplished staff here in Missoula, the devoted leaders on our Board and numerous committees, and our diverse and engaged membership. In these next years, I hope to help the organization build upon the tremendous accomplishments of Robby Gunstream, who served us in the executive director position for thirty-three years. We will always owe Robby thanks for his dedicated service and creativity throughout these past decades. Passing our sixtieth anniversary, I believe we can look both forward and back with pride and confidence.
As the 2017-18 fiscal year begins, a quick scan of The College Music Society reveals a scholarly profile that continues to advance and champion the discourse of music in nearly all its guises. We enjoy brilliant programming and leadership that is committed to our growth and sustained success. Also, our members regularly come forward with new ideas for scholarship, professional development, and creative activity that engages broadly and deeply. Just this past month, I had the opportunity to view outstanding CMS activities at the International Conference in Sydney and the CMS-NAMM GenNext program in Nashville. We can also see many of the Society’s upcoming successes already on the calendar, including publication of new books through our partnership with Routledge, new articles scheduled for publication in our online journal College Music Symposium, the Sixtieth National Conference in San Antonio during its local “Día de los Muertos” celebration, GenNext 2018 at the NAMM Show, and annual conferences of our regional chapters.
As I begin my time as executive director, I am most eager to listen to and learn from the Board, our chapters’ leadership, our committees, and our other members. I have no doubt that we can ensure that the next decades bring enhanced outreach, visibility, and impact in our work as an organization. I pledge to all of you my enthusiastic commitment to learn and serve, and I look forward to our conversations and service together.
Finally, on behalf of my colleagues on the CMS staff here in Missoula, I offer my very best regards and wishes for joyous times in the remaining weeks of summer and a productive beginning to the new academic year.
William L. Pelto, Ph.D.
The College Music Society