From the President

AOA: Moving Forward

Moving Forward

Well, this certainly wasn’t the finish of the year we were expecting! I know many of you are missing your students, are disappointed that spring concerts will not be taking place, that graduates will not be recognized for their contributions to your program in ways that have occurred in the past, and are probably feeling some uncertainty around what all of this might mean for the future of your program. However, I am confident we will bounce back, that our programs will thrive as students look for more expressive outlets, and we once again highlight the impact that the arts have on our society.

I hope you have all been able to take advantage of the resources made available through the website, and have participated in one of the live townhalls that began taking place in mid-April. I want to thank AMEA President Greg Gumina, AMEA President-elect David Raney, and the entire AMEA leadership for their efforts to continue supporting music teachers as we navigate these challenging times.

While the year did not finish the way we were all hoping, the Alabama Orchestra Association was fortunate enough to be able to hold its annual All-State Orchestra Festival at the University of Alabama’s Moody School of Music in early-February. Once again, the festival was a great success. The students were all thrilled with their conductors, as were their parents, and their teachers. One student even asked me if their clinician could come back year-after-year they enjoyed working with them so much! It is always amazing to see what these renowned conductors can accomplish in a short amount of time. Our Composition Contest winning work Reef by Samford Professor Dr. Mark Lackey was extremely well received by both the students and our audience, and his Meet the Composer session was one of the best I have seen – it could have lasted a few more hours and no one would have been anxious to leave!

We were certainly disappointed that our annual Music Performance Assessment event had to be canceled. However, we look forward to next year’s opportunity and hope that as many programs as possible join us for this relatively new, but important event.

Please be on the lookout for information regarding auditions for the 2021 All-State Orchestra Festival. We will be making some minor adjustments from this last round of auditions and should have more information available soon.

This is my last column as President of the Alabama Orchestra Association and as such, I want to take the time to acknowledge the tremendous support that I receive from the AOA Executive Board, our District Chairs, parent volunteers, and all of the teachers that continue to send students to our events, coach sectionals, lead rehearsals, run audition sites and jump in where needed. Our Executive Director, Julie Hornstein is hands down the single greatest gift any division president could ask for. Without her, we would not be able to continue to run any of the programs we offer. Her knowledge of the organization is second-to-none and I thank her for keeping me on track (amongst other things) when needed.

I am certainly looking forward to seeing the direction our organization takes under its new leadership. I have no doubts that incoming President Dr. Daniel Stevens and President-elect Joseph Lee will take the AOA to new and exciting heights. Please stay tuned for updates from them as we transition and prepare for 2020-2021.

Thank you all for allowing me to serve as AOA President these last two years. I have appreciated all of your support, guidance, suggestions, and encouragement during this time and I look forward to continuing to support our organization in the years to come. As always, if there is anything that the AOA can do to help you and your program please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Guy Harrison
Alabama Orchestra Association