March, 2018

Keith Ward

CMS is an organization sustained by a seasoned, experienced professional staff and the generous work of volunteers. Every year colleagues from across the organization unselfishly contribute their time and expertise to the greater purpose of our collective mission. The regional conferences, now in full swing, offer immediate evidence: they came about through the work of program committees and regional officers from an earlier time this academic year. For all who helped make these conferences happen, they deserve our thanks.  

This and similar work, most of which happens under the radar, takes place months and sometimes years in advance. In the spirit of acknowledging our colleagues who volunteer their time, I share with you this month a glimpse from February of our Society at work. Detailed as I may be, it is only a glimpse!

The CMS Board held one of its four planned meetings online; it will meet again online later this Spring, a third time during the summer, and then for a full day following the national conference in Vancouver.  (Speaking of Vancouver, is your passport up to date?) The Board addresses matters of policy, governance, operations, budget, and programing. This February it received an update on budget and operations from Executive Director Bill Pelto, accepted a proposal from ATMI regarding its keynote speaker for Vancouver (to be announced soon), approved program committee members for the 2019 national conference in Louisville, Kentucky, approved reorganization of the Symposium, and discussed but tabled proposals related to selecting the annual common topic and membership in governance committees. Its most significant action concerned a bylaws change, expanding the Board to include a member from music industry studies. It also welcomed new members (Sabrina Clarke for Composition, Eileen Hayes as President Elect, Aida Huseynova for General Studies, and Michelle Kiec as Secretary).

The program committee for our upcoming national conference in Vancouver met in that host city over a long, intense weekend and took important strides toward building the conference schedule, which will include multiple pre-conference workshops. I also am delighted to announce that Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, Professor and Chair of the African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University, will be the Trotter lecturer in Vancouver. A compelling speaker, her work on “intersections between empathy and conflict, and pedagogy and civic engagement” speaks directly to our common topic for 2018: diversity and inclusion. Have I already asked you if your passport is up to date?  

Nick Phillips, the program chair for the 2019 international conference in Belgium, and Peter Park, who oversees conference planning in the CMS national office, travelled to Belgium to make progress on local and hotel arrangements. Site visits like this lay the crucial groundwork for success of our international conferences.

In January 2019 we will hold, in collaboration with the University of South Carolina, Summit 2.0, “21st Century Music School Design.”  David Cutler, its organizer, spent February working feverishly on building the program, assembling presenters, and addressing logistics for this workshop, which follows its immensely successful predecessor from June 2016. 

And that’s just February!

When reviewing the content of our meetings and publications, it is clear that CMS continues to grow, as it must. There are perennial and new questions to ask in understanding our work and our art. New ideas challenge us with greater insight to things known or developing. We have new repertoire to explore and create as well as standard works to reconsider anew. As our pedagogy responds to a changing world, we introduce ourselves to new modalities while simultaneously bring a critical eye to both those new ideas and our pedagogical habits.

Each of us responds to this work in our own way, be it with feeling inspired, affirmed, or challenged. The forums in which they happen -- our conferences and publications -- are indebted to the concerted, selfless work of volunteers and professional staff. Let us thank our colleagues for that work. 

I also invite you to consider serving CMS and our profession in a similar capacity. It is gratifying work, contributing to the greater good of both our Society and our field. Do consider a role you might have in CMS!