From the President
Admit it, teachers are just as excited about summer as students. The end of Spring is a time to reflect on the year, and plan some much deserved rest and relaxation for the summer. Reflecting back on the 2016-2017 academic year, the AOA has much to be proud of. Terrific sessions at the state convention in January were followed by a tremendous All-State Orchestra Festival. I may be biased, but it seems to me that the level of all three orchestra improves every year. And all the students had a blast, whether they were orchestra regulars or first-timers. Finally, thirteen string and orchestra groups from across the state performed at MPAs at Auburn University and UNA. For our second annual MPA, we were very pleased with turnout and performances. Congratulations to the Auburn Youth Orchestra Sinfonia for straight superiors, and all the other performing groups for their hard work and terrific improvement!
Besides the rest that we all deserve, the AOA is actively planning for the future. The 2017-18 academic year will be another exciting time for orchestras in Alabama. We hope to expand our presence at the AMEA Convention in Birmingham, specifically by adding chamber music sessions and masterclasses, and recruiting string vendors to offer products and services that are more suited to string and orchestra teachers and performers.
The 2018 All-State Orchestra Festival, February 8-11 at UA, will be another highlight of the year. I think the most inspiring storyline will be the return of Norman Huynh to lead the festival orchestra. Norman received his BM in euphonium at the University of Alabama, studying with Demondrae Thurman in the early and mid-2000s. Since then, he has received his MM in conducting at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, and has been conducting and guest conducting around the world ever since, to great acclaim.
His most recent appointment has been Music Director of the Portland (OR) Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra with an annual budget of $15 million. Although I have never met Norman, I am beyond excited for his “homecoming,” and the energy that this young but experienced musician will bring to our orchestra students. I also hope it especially motivates many of our wind and brass students to not only audition for All-State Orchestra, but to realize the performing, conducting, and teaching opportunities that are possible through orchestra.
If you do not know of a school or youth orchestra in your community, please contact the AOA to let us help you find one, or plant the seeds for creating one. Band teachers, encourage your students to attend summer festivals such as FSU, Sewanee, Brevard, Eastern, Interlochen and more, to experience high level orchestra, band, and chamber music. You will help open doors for their future success in any musical field. Happy summer!