AOA: Spring Renewal

Spring Renewal

 What a fantastic AMEA Conference! From sessions to performances, there was certainly enough to keep everyone busy. The AOA once again made a point to sponsor sessions that aimed to reach a broad audience within the AMEA membership. Our headline clinician, Richard Meyer, was inspirational with his sessions on beginning strings, and tips for highly effective and efficient rehearsals. However, his session on giving BCAH to the community was probably the highlight of the conference for me as we learned about ways in which we can provide opportunities for our students to share their love of music with those less fortunate. We were also excited to have Dr. Jason Sulliman (Troy University) return with a session on the pedagogy of timing, and Dr. Anne Witt (University of Alabama) discussed the ins and outs of working with administrators. Daniel Kirk (Reinhardt University) joined us this year with tips on how to maximize your ensemble’s performance by playing more than just what’s on the page and James Rogers focused his attention on our pre-service teachers with tips and advice on finding and preparing for that first job interview.

A big shout out also has to the go to the Baldwin Middle School Chamber Orchestra (Montgomery) for their lobby performance. Directed by Laura Walters the ensemble played an eclectic program that was very well received by those that attended. The AOA would like to encourage more of our state string/orchestra programs to consider applying to perform in 2020!

By the time this edition of Ala Breve arrives in your mailbox or inbox the AOA will have concluded its annual All-State Orchestra Festival. We would like to once again thank the University of Alabama for hosting the festival! This year’s winner of the AOA Composition Contest was Samford University’s Dr. Mark Lackey with his piece Reef, which will have its North American premiere performed by the Festival Orchestra on February 9. In case you missed it in a previous issue, our clinicians this year are Dr. Thomas Heuser, Music Director of the Idaho Falls Symphony in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and the San Juan Symphony, based in Durango, Colorado, Mr. Creston Herron, Director of Orchestras at Klein ISD (Houston, TX), and Dr. Rebecca MacLeod (University of North Carolina – Greensboro), Associate Professor of Music Education and Director of the UNCG Sinfonia. We are excited to have such a talented line up of conductors to work with our students! I also need to take this opportunity to thank the members of the AOA Board for all their hard work in bringing our All-State festival to fruition. Without such a great team effort we would not be able to put forth this opportunity for the students in our state. I would also like to thank all of our District Chairs for their work in recruiting students and running the auditions for this year’s festival.

Last, but not least, the AOA will be hosting our 5th Music Performance Assessment event on April 3 at Gadsden City High School. I would like to thank Keith LaBenne and the Gadsden City High School administration for their willingness to host us this year. More information about the event can be found on our website –

I hope that your year is filled with great music making, student success, and professional satisfaction. Please reach out and let us know how the AOA can better serve you and your students. I look forward to seeing you at one of our remaining spring events.


Guy Harrison, President Alabama Orchestra Association

Important Spring Dates:
Registration Deadline for MPA – Orchestra: March 6
MPA – Orchestra Event: Friday April 3 @ Gadsden City High School