From the President

AOA: Passing the Baton

Sam Nordlund

Greetings, Music Educators!  As we all look forward to summer, we will also hopefully be able to look on the progress we have made this year, with pride.  Since the 2018 AMEA Professional Development Conference, the AOA has presented the 2018 All-State Orchestra Festival, and the 2018 statewide OMPA.  With record numbers of auditions and accepted students, All-State Orchestra was again a splendid success.  We welcomed three esteemed conductors to Tuscaloosa, including Oregon Symphony Orchestra Associate Conductor and UA Music Ed alumni, Norman Huynh.  Incoming AMEA President, Gregory Gumina, even made a cameo as guest conductor with the Festival Orchestra, leading his arrangement of “Alabama” in honor of the Bicentennial celebrations.  Our biggest concern for the festival was the flu epidemic that was so prevalent this year, but thankfully, the large majority of our students and clinicians were able to stay happy and healthy.

This past April 6th, school and youth orchestras from across the state converged on Samford University in Birmingham for our third annual OMPA.  The Auburn University Youth Orchestra Sinfonia and the Orchestra at Ramsay High School both earned “straight ones,” and several other ensembles earned overall Superiors.  Congratulations to all the outstanding performers and directors!  The AOA is already in the process of planning the 2019 OMPA, and we anticipate continued growth in numbers and quality of programs around our state.

During the All-State Festival in February, AOA held elections for Executive Board positions coming open on June 1.  On that date, Dr. Guy Harrison will officially take over as President.  The AOA Board is excited to announce that Dr. Daniel Stevens will move from Secretary to Vice-President/Pres.-elect, Jacob Frank will remain on as Treasurer, and Rachel Christmas, orchestra director at Carver High School in Birmingham, will assume duties as AOA Treasurer.  I am extremely proud to pass AOA leadership on to such capable individuals, whether new to AOA, or just in a new position!  Julie Hornstein, our constant steadying force, continues to serve as AOA Executive Director.

As I sign off on my final article as AOA President, I want to thank you for your support of Music Education in Alabama, and for reading my articles.  I hope I have been able to share my passion for growing orchestra and string programs in Alabama.  All that has been accomplished in my two-year tenure would not have been possible without the expertise and teamwork from the entire AOA family.  I am looking forward to a bright future for orchestra students, teachers, and programs across Alabama, as our new leadership continues moving forward!


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