November, 2018

Keith Ward

The theme for my penultimate monthly message as President is “celebrate.” Considering the pace of our work, the demands to stay current, and our incessant productivity, it is worth stopping momentarily, or even longer, to celebrate where we are and what we have done, even when we know we have so far to go. And always will. I’m going to pursue my theme through three examples: an event, an investment, and a person.

The event: The national conference in Vancouver was one for the ages. The combination of papers, concerts, panels, pre-conference workshops, conversations, posters, and keynotes produced a palpable buzz. The quality was excellent and the attendance high. Jennifer Snow, the program chair, and her committee (Brian Cobb, Melissa Hoag, Roger Mantie, Matthew Shevitz, and Jennifer Snodgrass) deserve our thanks for developing an event we will celebrate for some time for its quality and breadth. I look forward to Louisville in 2019!

The investment: To sustain itself, any organization requires an investment in its future; current work alone will not suffice. For us, part of that investment includes supporting those members who are at the start of their careers who will contribute to our field’s unfolding narrative and to the vibrancy of our organization. Student members are the heart of our future. Through the generosity of members who have contributed to the CMS Fund, we are able to offer support to a small number of students through competitively-selected student travel fund grants so that they may be able to participate in national conferences like Vancouver. I congratulate Justinie Pomerleau-Turcotte (Université Laval) and Kristi Hardman (The Graduate Center, City University of New York) as this year’s recipients, and I celebrate our investment in these and other individuals who are part of our future. Thank you to all members who have contributed to the student travel fund. If you have not, I hope you will consider doing so as the calendar year draws to a close.

A person: As my presidency approaches its close (Eileen Hayes succeeds me on January 1; more on Eileen next month), I am humbled and grateful thinking of all the individuals I have worked with who have invested so much these past two years in CMS. In addition to the content of our work, CMS has moved forward thanks to individuals who have done more than what is required; they have served a greater purpose. Then there are those who have given well beyond anyone would ask of them. They toil year in and year out, unobtrusively. Yet, without them, we would be a far lesser organization. One of those persons I note here, a person who deserves our thanks and who should be celebrated: Michael Budds. Michael served as the editor for two of our book series, The CMS Bibliographies & Monographs in American Music and The CMS Sourcebooks in American Music, from the early-1970s until stepping down in December 2017. He brought twenty-five volumes to print over his four-decade career serving for CMS. (Full disclosure: Michael was the editor of my book on eighteenth and nineteenth-century American piano music, volume 21 in the Bibliographies and Monographs series.) While not well known to many, his influence is indelible, his punctiliousness both maddening and welcome, and his advocacy for our field unfailing. His service as editor concluded, let us thank and celebrate his accomplishments and his generous spirit.

I close with a fourth celebration, posed as questions to you. How do you celebrate CMS? What has your participation in CMS given you that has contributed to your career? How has this organization supported our ongoing work in academe, whether it is to deepen our understanding of a perennial issue, explore repertoire new and old, present new compositional voices, delve into current and transformative movements in pedagogy, or pursue advocacy for change? How have connections you have made through CMS made a difference in your career? Please take a moment to celebrate both your own experiences and all we do under this broad umbrella we call The College Music Society.