April, 2020

The New World Before Us
Eileen M. Hayes

As we enter a new way of working and relating with students, colleagues, and friends, CMS members are busy adapting, reaching out, becoming familiar with new technologies, and reassuring students that they are going to be okay.  Let us reserve a large dose of empathy for ourselves, as professionals working both inside and beyond the academy – with the understanding or hope - that we too, will be able to draw upon stores of resilience, grace, and grit over the coming months.  As you might have foreseen, the College Music Society’s finances have been negatively affected by the decreased revenues brought in over the past two months, a consequence of fewer advertisements and professional notices.  In the coming week, you will receive a letter from me, appealing to members to contribute funds now so that the CMS national office can remain afloat.   I do not take such an appeal lightly; this is a significant call to action, one that I would not put forward, if it were not truly necessary.  I hope that you will respond as you are able, when you receive the mailing. 

Most of the regional chapters cancelled their F2F conferences, with our hearing most recently from the Rocky Mountain chapter that its regional conference was also cancelled.  I wish to thank all of the chapter presidents, regional chapter executive boards, and program committees for their hard work in planning the conferences, and then, in some cases, cancelling them.  Whether regional chapter conferences were held in person or cancelled, my appreciation goes to all involved in the decision-making process.  In the coming months, the national office will refund registration fees; this will take a while due to the lower staffing levels which will be addressed in my letter forthcoming.  Members of the national office staff are working remotely, in light of the state of Montana’s order to shelter in place.  We welcome, however, the Society’s new bookkeeper, Candi Davis, who hails from California and, more recently, Hamilton, Montana.  

Toward the end of March, the CMS Board of Directors sponsored a webinar on teaching in the age of disruption.  The program was deftly hosted by President-Elect Mark Rabideau; the panel included Soo Goh, Appalachian State University; Michelle Kiec, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania; Alisha Nypaver, Temple University; and Steve Wilson, University of Texas at El Paso.  Titled, “COVID-19: Coping with Alternative Teaching Strategies,” the webinar can be found on the CMS website, in the CMS Library.  The hour long program was well received with nearly 200 registered and well over 100 actually attending.  The Board is currently in the process of identifying additional topics that will appeal to our membership.  Thanks to all participants and presenters.  Please stay tuned for word of future webinars in this series.

Let us keep identifying ways to stay connected with our students, our families, friends, and communities as well as our colleagues in CMS.  We find ourselves in uncharted times.

Our new world deserves a symphony.