Wow! What a Conference. If you missed it, and not many of you did, you definitely missed a life-changing experience. We once again achieved historically high attendance numbers which shows your dedication to our profession. One popular definition of Professional is “working and behaving in such a way that others think of you as competent, reliable, and respectful. Professionals are a credit not only to themselves but also to others.” We checked this box. Development is defined as, “a specified state of growth or advancement.” We checked this box as well. And Conference can be defined as, “a formal meeting that typically takes place over a number of days and involves people with a shared interest, especially one held regularly by an association or organization.” We definitely checked this box in Montgomery. Our 2020 Professional Development Conference was truly a group of dedicated Professionals gathered together with shared interests specifically for the purpose of growth and advancement. Thank you to all who performed, presented, presided, exhibited, volunteered, and/or attended. I think we all owe a collective standing ovation to Dr. Carl Hancock, Pat Stegall, and Mary Ann Stegall for the best registration process in the history of AMEA! And thanks to all of you who pre- registered, which made the process so efficient. Our conference is actually six simultaneous conferences, and the reason we are able to have such great experiences is that the Division leadership is so strong and devoted. Thanks and congratulations are indeed in order for the leadership teams from all our Divisions.
Dave Satterfield’s Keynote Address at our conference was so well prepared, delivered, important, and on point. Particularly of interest was his message regarding Advocacy. The idea that there is “no new money” and that “the competition for the money that does exist is fierce” were both points well taken. Dave suggested four fundamental principals for Advocacy and showed that they are the same whether speaking to local, state, or federal policymakers, district officials, potential donors, and supporters, or even the media. The first was documenting the accomplishments and achievements of our groups, students, and schools. This is often the thing we neglect because of our already taxed schedules and real-life obligations. But, we must do it. We must quantify what we accomplish. Dave went on to reminded us that Advocacy begins at the local level and that no matter who we talk to, they all have a vested interest in our successes. His third point on Advocacy was to make it personal. Invite the Superintendent, School Board Members, Local Elected Officials, and State Elected Officials to visit you in your classroom quarterly. If they don’t immediately respond, keep trying because at some point they will, and then the relationship can become personal and twice as effective. Mr. Satterfield finished his thoughts on Advocacy by making the point that we need to begin the process with the end result in mind. Our end result is that policymakers, decision-makers, and funding sources already know us and are in a position to help when we ask because they are familiar with our programs and their benefits. Let’s all make a commitment to spend some time building relationships with decision-makers and taking action on Advocacy for our profession, our art form, our programs, and most importantly our students.
Arts Alliance Summit
On April 2, AMEA President-Elect David Raney, ABA President-Elect Joel Henson, Elementary/General Division President Betty Wilson, and I will attend the Alabama Arts Alliance Pre-Conference Summit. The event will gather leaders from all areas of Arts Education in our state for a day of learning, brainstorming, and cooperation. The sessions will be facilitated by the Alabama State Department of Education Arts Education Specialist Andy Meadows and promise to be another opportunity to coordinate and fellowship with our fellow Arts Educators.
This is a voting year for us, both at the state (AMEA) and national (NAfME) levels. Please read through the bios of our in-state candidates for President-Elect and Recording Secretary which are included in this issue of the Ala Breve. Voting will be conducted online by email link. Please make sure you are receiving emails from AMEA so that you will be able to vote. Voting will open on March 1st and close on April 1st. In the last issue of the Ala Breve, I challenged you as an organization to achieve the highest voter turnout in AMEA history. I hereby repeat that challenge. Voting at the national level is now open as well. You should have received at least two emails concerning the elections from NAfME already. We are electing our National President-Elect and Southern Division President-Elect, plus we are voting on two proposed By- Law Amendments. I urge you to make your voice heard in all these voting opportunities.
News from NAfME
Applications for the 2020 All-National Honors Ensembles opened on Friday, January 31. The event will take place on November 5-8, at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Ensembles include Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra, Mixed Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble, and Modern Band. Please see the NAfME website for more information. March is Music in Our Schools Month. What do you have planned? It would be a great opportunity to start working on some initial Advocacy efforts in your community. The NAfME website has a lot of resources and information to help us celebrate Music in Our Schools Month, including lesson plans.
Wrapping it up
The AMEA Governing Board met following our convention and one of the recurring themes of the conversation was how much we all enjoy having our event in Montgomery. As you know, we will be returning to Montgomery for our 2021 Convention, which will also be our 75th Anniversary Celebration. The convention will then return to Birmingham for the following two years. So we all need to make the most out of our stay in Montgomery next year while thinking of ways to make our Birmingham experience more similar to Montgomery. I would respectfully ask that each of you think of ways we can make Birmingham more like Montgomery, and then
send those ideas to your Division Presidents. The Board has agreed to talk about this at our meeting in June. I would like to both congratulate and thank Susan Smith for her six years of faithful service on the AMEA Governing Board. She is a true professional and always keeps the needs of the students as her top priority. I wish all of you a great 2020 filled with awesome lesson plans, beautiful concerts, collegial professionalism, and many student success stories shared with others.
Music education AWESOME in Alabama!
Greg Gumina, AMEA President