From the President

AOA: Report

It is at this time every year that trees turn magnificent shades of color, days grow shorter, cooler weather begins to set in, and education

switches from hybrid to face-to-face, to virtual, to in-person, and back to hybrid instruction again. Thankfully, the last example does not happen annually, but neither does a pandemic that has challenged

the core of every music educator in Alabama. I am awed that each of you wake up each day to inspire the students in front of you (with a smile on your face), regardless of the method of delivery. These trials have caused us to face ‘change’ head on – yuck – I shudder at the thought of a ‘change’ to lesson Plan F, the rescheduled upcoming performance, creative instrument tuning through Zoom, or the inevitable principal musician placed in quarantine.

These ‘changes’ have tested our patience and helped us simplify to what is deemed the most notable joy we can discover from an appreciation for music. Instead of fighting the ‘change,’ it is best to embrace what is not in our control, and find new ways to inspire, connect, and communicate. The Alabama Orchestra Association has been in the midst of plenty of ‘change’ lately. While challenging to implement, we are pleased to share a few highlights of ‘change’

VIRTUAL AUDITIONS: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 All-State Orchestra Auditions are being held virtually this Fall.

AOA WELCOMES 9 NEW DISTRICT CHAIRS: We are excited that our leadership team is growing and evolving!

ASSISTANT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Barbara Harrington begins an integral supporting role to Executive Director Julie Hornstein

ADDITION of an ALL-STATE CHAIR: Leroy Hughes graciously steps into a new defining role

In addition to the exciting announcements above, I want to personally invite you to visit the AOA website at www.alabamaorchestra to preview all of the sweeping changes taking place, and to engage with an incredible leadership team here to serve you. Let us help you find resources for your ensembles, classrooms, and virtual educational space.

Please take a moment to reach out to our AOA District Chairs, as they continue to encourage your woodwind, brass, percussion, and string students to submit a virtual 2021 All-State Audition.

The Alabama Orchestra Association is excited to bring world-renowned educators to Alabama:

AMEA CONFERENCE – January 2021

Dr. Christopher Selby, Featured AOA Clinician – author of Habits of a Successful Orchestra Director, Music The- ory for the Successful String Musician, and co-author of the Habits of a Successful String Musician series, published by GIA. He is an active clinician and has presented sessions at two Midwest Clinics, the 2016 NAfME National Con- ference, five American String Teacher Association (ASTA) National Conferences, and he currently directs the high school orchestras at the School of the Arts in Charleston, SC.


Dr. Christopher Schmitz – Congratulations to Christopher Alan Schmitz for being named Alabama Orchestra Asso- ciation’s Composition Contest 2021 winner. His piece will be premiered by the All-State Festival Orchestra on Febru- ary 14, 2021 at Moody Music Building in Tuscaloosa. He currently serves as Professor of Music Theory and Composition at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in composition from the University of Texas at Austin.

Important AOA Dates for 2020-2021

All-State String Audition Submission Deadline: October 18, 2020

All-State Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion Audition Deadline: November 15, 2020

AMEA Conference: January 21-23, 2021

All-State Orchestra Festival: February 11-14, 2021

Orchestra Music Performance Assessment: April 16-17, 2021

Thank you for inspiring the next generation of professional musicians, educators, and arts philanthropists. Help your students embrace ‘change,’ remind them that our future is bright, and provide hope that our ensembles will soon be filling auditoriums with beautiful music once again.


Daniel Stevens