May, 2003

Robert Weirich

In January in this space, I asked several questions of the readership (Who are you? Why do you belong to CMS?), and quite a few of you answered. Those letters were at the center of some lively discussion during the Board's meeting during the last weekend of February. We think we know who we are (CMS) and why we exist. The Society's mission statement says it all:

The College Music Society is a consortium of college, conservatory university, and independent musici ans and scholars interested in all disciplines of music. Its mission is to promote music teaching and learning, musical creativity and expression, research and dialogue, and diversity and interdisciplinary interaction.

The first sentence focuses on who we are, and none of your letters disagreed. The second states why we exist as an organization. lt's a rather broad statement, and its hard to disagree with any of those goals. What it doesn't state is how. How does CMS promote all those things?

In my judgment, the most effective means at our disposal is through the meetings of the membership. We can publish research in Symposium, write calls to action in the Newsletter, carry on dialogue in the website chat rooms-but that's all frustratingly isolated. If you put a few hundred CMS members in the same city for a weekend, though, that verb "promote" begins to take on real meaning.

One of my goals as president is to promote CMS as the forum for action and ideas in our profession. Because of the breadth of our membership, we are the logical point from which discussion and action could emanate. One needs, however, a critical mass of people—and that's why getting together is so important. lt's the surest way to develop ideas and catalyze a force for good.

CMS meetings have always been musical cornucopia, and the Board spent a good deal of time in February talking about how to make the national meetings even more exciting and attractive to the membership. Your letters suggested that you'd like to see more performances and more presentations of a practical nature. This fall, you will see the first evidence of change in the national meeting in Miami.

While the program has not yet been announced, I want to invite you to plan now to attend the Annual Meeting, October 2-5, 2003, in Miami. It's the best way to get the most of your membership in CMS.

The CMS Professional Development Commiftee, chaired by Anthony Rauche of the University of Hartford, has almost finalized a first-ever pre-conference workshop on Integrating Jazz and lmprovisation into Music Degree Programs. Details will follow with subsequent newsletters and with the brochure announcing the 2003 Annual Meeting. I am very excited about this event. The Professional Development Committee is re-inventing itself as it works on providing pre-conference half- or full-day sessions at regional meetings and in developing a speakers' bureau, thus responding to your desire for more practical assistance in CMS's offerings.

Among the highlights of the national meeting itself, held in partnership with the Society for Ethnomusicology, will be performances of musics of the Caribbean, China, Cuba, Japan, and South America, in addition to lecture-recitals on "American Art Song" among many others. CMS composers will be represented in two full-length concefts. The range of papers and panels will be extraordinary. To name only a few, attendees can choose among "Copyright in Contemporary World Music," "Effective Teaching," "Music Theory around the Globe" (a fascinating panel of international music theorists discussing how theory is taught in other countries), "Musical Imagery in Civil War Writings," "Performer-Centered New Music," "Popular Music," and "Post-Graduate Professions Outside the Academy."

In addition, there will be joint sessions with the Society for Ethnomusicology on topics such as "Miami's Cultural Crossroads: The Latin American/Caribbean City", "Teaching Music Theory from a Cross-Cultural Perspective," "The Relationship of Research and Teaching," and "Music, Memory and Nostalgia."

This year's Robert Trotter Lecture will be given by one of the most extraordinary musicians of the twentieth century: Gunther Schuller. Well-known as a composer, performer, conductor, educator, record company founder and executive, and former conservatory president he is clearly a one-man College Music Society. I am very much looking forward to his presence at the 2003 Annual Meeting.

Take note that the next two national meetings are to be held in fabulous cities: Miami and San Francisco, both eminently worthy of exploration. In Miami, we will stay at the Hotel Inter-Continental, located appropriately enough at 100 Chopin Plaza. The marble lobby is filled with post-modern furniture, and there is a fifth-story pool deck overlooking Biscayne Bay that should prove seductive to the most well-intentioned scholar. A short walk away, an open-air collection of shops and restaurants—the Bayside Market—nestles up to the marina. The Metromover, an elevated train with a fare of only $.25, runs a block away. The Art Deco section of South Beach is a 15-minute cab ride away across MacArthur Causeway. Culinary treats abound, since the Miami restaurant scene is as cross-cultural as the music.

Consider this, then, an early invitation to attend the CMS annual meeting in Miami in October. You can be part of that critical mass, and have a wonderful time as well.