ABA: Take Something Back Home

As the school year has begun with 14 hour days, beginners with their new instruments, Friday night football games and preparing for all the events of the year, don’t forget to register for the AMEA Conference in Montgomery, January 16-18, 2020. The conference is a great way to network with other professionals, attend some outstanding clinics and concerts and re-energize yourself as you begin the second semester of school. We have planned clinics that cover a wide range of topics that we hope will inspire you to “take something back home” to your program.

There were twenty-six applications submitted to be considered to perform for the conference. The selection committee had some outstanding groups from which to choose, from all around the state and all different sizes and types of band programs. It is exciting to see the quality of the programs in our state continuing to improve. The groups that were selected to perform include: Troy Wind Symphony, Wicksburg High School Band, Albertville Middle School Advanced Band, Pizitiz Middle School Band, Mortimer Jordan High School Band, James Clemens High School Percussion Ensemble, Tuscaloosa County High School Wind Ensemble, and the Grissom High School Symphonic Band 1. Make your plans now to be in attendance for these concerts!!

We are currently working with Carl Hancock to develop a new version of ABAfest. After talking with him, we feel that the new site will be an improvement over the old one and will be able to offer more to the membership. The current ABA directory and cumulative list are both available on the myamea.org site. Please take a moment and check the information on the directory and make sure that it is correct. If any corrections are needed, please send those to your district chairman so that we can get as complete a directory as possible.

We are currently working on a plan to be able to register for All State and MPA if we aren’t ready to launch the new ABAfest site before those deadlines hit. Any information about how we will register will come from either me or Doug Farris and will be sent to you through email. Again, its imperative that we have your most up to date information and email to make this happen.

The legislation that was published in the last Ala Breve will be voted on at the AMEA conference. Please make sure that you have read the proposals and are ready to discuss them. Do not hesitate to contact me or any board member if you have any questions about these. We will get a link to these put on the myamea.org site soon also so that you will have access to those there.

Finally, I encourage you this Fall to be passionate in your teaching, to be purposeful in your relationships with those around you and to take pride in your profession. We have the awesome task and privilege of being able come to work every day and to teach music to a generation of kids who will be the leaders of tomorrow, so let’s make sure they see our passion for what we do and let’s help them to find their passion along the way.

Terry Ownby
ABA President

ABA: As the New Year Begins… Become Involved!

As we start this new school year, the ABA board is at the beginning stages of a 4-year evaluation cycle/review where we will be looking at the data from the past four years of MPA/All-State tryouts and see what the data reveals to us about what we are doing around the state. The committee will use the data to bring back recommendations to the board. As we continue to evaluate what we do, please help us by participating in surveys, evaluations at events and using the app for the AMEA conference in order to rate the conference and clinics you attend. Your input is very valuable. Please remember the Alabama Bandmasters is an organization that serves its members, and we can only do this with your input.

ABA Summer Conference 2019 was great and very well attended. Thank you to our clinicians Doug Farris, Jeff Fondren, Mike Guzman, Missy Lindley, David Caddell, Josh Lynch, Nathan Haskew and our Old Fogey series by Harry McAfee. This conference was filled with something for everyone. I know everyone who was able to attend came away motivated and recharged for the new year ahead. We would also like to thank the following sponsors for providing a wonderful shrimp boil that allowed our band family to come together and fellowship:

  • Southern Performances, David and Dayna Brannan
  • Group Travel Network, Justin Shuler
  • Demoulin, Jeff Thurber and Frank Godfrey
  • AWB Apparel, Wayne Broom
  • Sound Choice Recordings, Chester Bean
  • Art’s Music Shop, Paul Freehling
  • Simply Bedding, Charlie Colwell

We ended the event by presenting our outgoing Executive Secretary, Harry McAfee, a wooden, hand-made music stand in appreciation for his 9 years of service to ABA.

During the conference, the ABA Executive committee presented two names to the board for consideration for the Executive Secretary position. The board voted in Doug Farris as the new ABA Executive Secretary effective July 1, 2019. With this move, Doug relinquished his position on the board as Past President. The ABA Board of Directors reached out to Mr. John Cooper, a past ABA president, to fill this 2-year term on the ABA board. He agreed and we appointed him to this position during our conference. Also, there are several pieces of legislation that came before the board which the membership will have the opportunity to vote on at AMEA. We will publish these for you to have access to on the myamea site, the ABAfest site and in the pages of the August/September issue of Ala Breve. This will give you time to read and familiarize yourself with them before we discuss and vote at AMEA in January. The board also approved a new MPA Adjudication Sheet that we will be used beginning this year. Your district chairman will have more information at your Fall meeting in regard to this change.

Joel Henson met with the Music Selection Committee and they were able to look at the High School All- State Etudes. We will be moving back to method books for these this Fall. The list of books has been sent out. Please make sure that your student has the book with them when they register at the All-State tryout. The board also approved a new high school scale sheet format for this year.

As the new year begins, I encourage you to become involved. The AMEA and ABA provide great clinics, resources, and concerts that are meant to aid you in being the most effective educator you can be for your students. These events allow opportunities to collaborate, network, encourage and most importantly, learn from each other. Why do we have to reinvent the wheel when our neighbor band director already has the plan? Renew your NAfME membership TODAY and register for the AMEA Conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery

This summer I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my time as a husband, parent, friend and teacher. It’s healthy to look back and take stock of what has happened in our past, to learn from it, grow from it, and use it to guide us as we move towards the future. As we begin another school year, take a moment and look back at the successes and failures in your classroom. Evaluate and try to ascertain what made it a success and build upon those foundations. I believe that ABA has spent the past 6-8 years looking back at past successes and failures and we are doing our best to learn from these and allowing these experiences to help guide us forward. I believe this must happen for our association to continue to better serve our students and the bands in Alabama. I look forward to this journey with you for the next two years.

Remember the ABA board is here for you. Do not hesitate to contact your chairman or vice-chairman or anyone on the ABA Board. I hope we all have a great start to school and the best year of our careers.

Terry Ownby
ABA President