Sometimes it’s beneficial to take a step away from the daily realities of being in the classroom in order to recharge and reset our appreciation of music, and possibly our daily teaching practices. Conferences, committee work, and other professional development opportunities are the perfect vehicles for us to accomplish that recharging and resetting process. Ryan Lilly, an expert in the field of business development, advises to “Be a Professional at what you do. No one shows up to meetings of the Unsuccessful Skydivers Club.” And Amit Kalantri, an engineer and author, addresses the subject by stating that, “Professionalism is not a tactic, but a moral value.” The entire community that comprises the AMEA certainly lived up to these goals and morals with your participation in our 2019 Professional Development Conference.
Wow! What a great conference we had in Birmingham. I am so proud of our entire organization for putting together such a wonderful professional development opportunity and thank you so much for your attendance. The numbers are in, and it was by far the second largest AMEA Conference in our history. One thousand and three members were registered, and exactly one thousand attended, plus a good amount of guests as well. That is clear evidence of your commitment to our profession and our students. There are so many people to thank and so many people to congratulate that I could fill this entire issue of the Ala Breve if that was possible.
The first people I would like to thank are two gentlemen without which, we would have no conference. Thank you, Ron Bearden and James Champion for everything you do for the AMEA. You are very much appreciated and your tireless efforts have not gone unnoticed. Thanks also to President-Elect David Raney and Immediate Past-President Susan Smith for all of their help, guidance, and leadership. Susan also did a wonderful job with our FAME students and their sessions. Next is the staff of the AMEA, and there are not adequate words or space in this article to accurately express their importance to us. Garry Taylor, Rusty Logan, Carl Hancock, and Pat Stegall are all amazing professionals and truly dedicated to our organization. They work all year long to guarantee the success of our conference. Thanks also to our vendors and exhibitors for supporting the AMEA, and I would also like to thank the membership for visiting them. Revenue from the exhibition hall was once again up this year, which helps pay for the conference. Traffic through the exhibits was also up this year, and our exhibitors appreciated seeing all of you at their booths. A healthy relationship between us educators and our industry partners is both beneficial and necessary. Thanks to Becky Lightfoot for serving as our Industry Representative, and for representing our partners with such dignity and sincerity.
The Governing Board assembled a fabulous experience, full of diverse and useful learning opportunities. We had wonderful concerts, informative interest sessions, and many occasions for collaboration with colleagues. Thank you so much to: Doug Farris (ABA), Guy Harrison (AOA), Meg Jones (AVA), Phil Wilson (Elementary/General), Mildred Lanier (Higher Ed), Ted Hoffman (Collegiate Advisor), and Jordan Hare Banks (Collegiate) for everything you did to make our conference such a wonderful experience. Also thanks to Kim Bain and the Jazz Division for doing such an awesome job with our All-State Jazz Bands and Randall Coleman along with those that helped facilitate the outstanding Intercollegiate Band. I would also like to thank Carla Gallahan for always making sure we have accurate documentation for our activities, and for ensuring the correct operation of our various endeavors. I am so honored to have the opportunity to work with the consummate professionals who comprise the AMEA Governing Board.
They represent you well, work diligently for our organization, and should be commended for their dedication to music education in Alabama.
To apply for, prepare, and present a performance for one’s colleagues is a very rewarding experience, and is not without challenges to overcome. So a sincere ‘Thanks’ and ‘Congratulations’ goes out to all of our colleagues who presented concerts for us to be inspired by and enjoy. Thanks also to those who presented interest sessions full of information which both enriched us personally, and nourished our profession.
Our special guests were amazing, intuitive, informative, and entertaining. Dian Eddleman, our NAfME Southern Division President was fantastic in all the sessions we asked her to do. She brought a wealth of knowledge and information to us and worked purposefully to present targeted data, findings, and communication to various groups throughout her stay with us. Andy Meadows, our ALSDE Arts Education Specialist, also brought information, concern, and communication while visiting several meetings and sessions during his time with us. It is indeed profitable and beneficial to have an open line of communication and mutual understanding with our state officials in Montgomery. Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser was the one and only, as only he can be. He is always uplifting, rejuvenating, inspiring, encouraging, and motivating. He is without equal as the preeminent music education speaker and advocate in our country. And to everybody else who contributed in any way to the success of our conference, thank you very much.
The AMEA Governing Board is already working on next year’s conference and I am confident that we will again have a wonderful experience. But this time, we’re going back in Montgomery! Now is the time to decide to participate in next year’s conference. Make a commitment to apply for a performance opportunity. Create chamber groups at your school and apply for a lobby performance. We have so many talented professionals in this state with so much knowledge to share with each other. Decide now to apply to present a session on the topic you have intimate knowledge of and are passionate about. Or, if there is something you are studying and gaining understanding about, decide now to finish your research and present it at our conference next year. Together, we all make the AMEA a powerful force for the betterment of our profession and to the benefit our students. Let’s have a great 2019, and best wishes to all.
Music Education is Awesome in Alabama!