Anne Dhu Shapiro
When we join organizations, we hope for many things - association with and stimulation from like-minded people, the establishment of contacts and possibilities for career advancement, interesting journals and newsletters, the opportunity to go to meetings and institutes, to present our ideas and hear those of others, and somewhere in the back of our minds, perhaps, the thought that by joining with others we may build something of value that will enhance the world we live in.
We in The College Music Society are all lucky to be dealing with a subject so enticing, multifaceted, and beautiful as music; yet the field brings with it problems of communication, both within the discipline and to the outside world. The College Music Society has taken on the challenge of representing the whole of the music profession as taught in colleges and universities and enhancing cooperation and communication among the several separate disciplines represented within music departments and schools, as well as with the world at large. But as I see it, its special mission, which separates it from the other professional societies of music in higher education, is to develop the value of teaching as a profession worthy of its own emphasis alongside the research, fieldwork, performance, analysis, and composition which must feed it. As college teachers of music we lead dual (and often triple and quadruple) lives as researchers, performers, composers, and teachers, but our common bonds are music and teaching, and CMS represents these common bonds.
As your new President, I hope to clarify and provide new focus to our mission, a task my predecessors have made immeasurably easier by seeing to it that so much of what we are now doing - College Music Symposium, the steadily expanding roster of summer institutes, the active regional chapters, the special reports and study groups, and much else - is so effective in supporting the communication of ideas.
One can now pick up an issue of Symposium and read it from cover to cover, coming out with new ideas and readable articles to share with students and colleagues. The summer institutes have been populated with teachers eager to explore areas such as music technology, theory, and how to communicate with the new generation of students. The annual meetings have been revitalized by their exploration and presentation of local and regional musics, as well as increasingly fine concerts of original compositions, interesting papers, and interdisciplinary panels. The regional chapters have shown inventiveness in programming and meeting locations, and special initiatives by the Committees on the Status of Women, and on the Status of Minorities (now renamed the Committee on Cultural Diversity) have brought new ideas into the curriculum.
After a decade of growth and reorganization, The College Music Society is ready to enter a new phase of focused attention to its primary mission. Members who once joined CMS only to get the Vacancy List need to consider not just getting a job, but what they will be doing once they are teaching. The College Music Society in all its activities speaks to this experience - the creative classroom experience of teaching music, of passing on to the next generation a heritage of wonderful music and the curiosity and tools to explore, perform, and create more music.
I look forward to leading CMS in this period of renewed purpose, and I hope for direct communication of members who are interested in joining me in this enterprise with ideas and suggestions. Please forward comments and responses to me at The Music Department, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA 02167.