AMEA: Giving Our Best Effort


Hello AMEA!

I hope that this issue of the Ala Breve finds you experiencing well-planned, effective, sequential, and standards-based lessons in which your students are learning a life-long love and appreciation of music and music making. We are all very much aware of the positive effects that the study of music provides our students and the empowerment experienced by students who have professional, caring teachers. I want to encourage all of you to find new ways of engaging your students and providing them with the best possible experiences in your classrooms. Our world is changing rapidly due to the continual expansion and use of technology, and we are going to have to develop methodologies which match the learning styles of our students as we move further into the future. Our noble profession and art form deserve nothing short of our best efforts, as do our students. When our students get our best, they give us their best!

Southern Division Meeting

The Southern Division of NAfME Board held our meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, September 8-9. Representing you there besides myself were Executive Director/Editor Garry Taylor, Past -President Susan Smith, and President-Elect David Raney. Some of the topics we discussed were Collegiate Voting, Technology, the new NAfME Membership Management System, Societies and Councils, Budget Review, the use of Lobbyists at the State Level, Partnerships with Arts Coalitions, Policies concerning Conference Presenters, Organizational Development at the State Level, and several other topics. The conversations were lively, informative, and thought provoking.

2020 Election

We have an election coming up in 2020 to determine our next AMEA President-Elect. Currently we are voting online through an email methodology. We have experienced somewhat low voter turnout, and are looking into possible solutions. One idea discussed at the August AMEA Governing Board meeting was to switch the voting event back to voting on site at our Conference. For this election cycle, we will continue the online process. That having been said, may I please challenge all of you to participate in the process and vote? Let us together as an organization achieve the highest voter turnout in AMEA history this spring when we get to choose our next leader. How awesome would that be? It has indeed been my pleasure to serve you as President, and I would like for the next President-Elect to feel as though they have the support and attention of the entire organization.

Making use of NAfME Resources

There is a huge amount of very useful information on the NAfME website. Some of the most valuable information addresses Advocacy, Lesson Planning, and of course the 2014 National Standards. The site also keeps very close watch on Legislative happenings in Washington, DC. I encourage you to search through the website and find out what our National Organization is doing and providing for your use. Your dues are paying for access to the resources, so why not make full use of them? You just might find some answers you are looking for, or a great solution to an issue which is preventing you from providing your students the well rounded education that they are guaranteed by Federal Law. So put aside an hour and check out all the information on the NAfME website. You’ll be glad you did.

2020 Conference Introduction

I am so excited about our upcoming Professional Development Conference, January 16-18, 2020. Congratulations to all who were selected to perform and present at the Conference. And Thank You to all our exhibitors as well. We could not have such a great event without their support. Each Division has planned some fantastic learning activities and performance opportunities. I hope that you have already registered, but if you have not yet done so, make it a priority to get it done soon. Dr. Carl Hancock has done a huge amount of work building our own website and interface with the new NAfME Membership Management System, and I’m looking forward to the registration process being the smoothest it has ever been. As you peruse the schedule you will see that we have moved the Keynote Address to Thursday morning at 10:30, so please make your travel plans accordingly. You will not want to miss this Keynote Session. It will include a combined schools Special Needs Drumming Group, The University of North Alabama Low Brass Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Thomas Lukowicz, and our Keynote Speaker, Mr. David Satterfield. Dave is absolutely one of the most dynamic human beings alive on the planet. He is currently the Director of Asset Development for the Office of Research and Economic Development at West Virginia University and a tenured Associate Professor in the School of Music. Mr. Satterfield also serves as the Assistant to the Director of the WVU Manufacturing Extension Partnership, as well as the Facility Security Officer for WVU and the WVU Innovation Corporation. Dave has also been a Staff Member and Board of Directors Member for The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. As you can already see, Dave will bring a very diverse background of experience, a huge amount of knowledge, and a fresh perspective to the Keynote Address. He is also one of the most endearing, genuine, and entertaining speakers you will ever hear. Dave will also speak at the Leadership Breakfast and spend some time with our FAME students. I would also like to highlight a couple more opportunities for you at the Conference. The first is Thursday, January 16th, 4:30-5:30 when the Jacksonville State University Steel Band, under the direction of Dr. Thomas McCutchen, will perform at the Exhibit Reception. Please also attend the President’s Reception on Friday, January 17th, 9:30-11:00 where the Gadsden State Show Band will be performing under the direction of Dr. Matt Leder.


I have been blessed to meet a great many leaders in our profession throughout the country over the past four years, and I look forward to learning from them and sharing information with them for the next two years after I have “passed the gavel” to President-Elect David Raney. The one similarity that I have seen in all the truly great leaders is the mentality that Leadership is not about at title, but rather it is about responsibility and actions. Search out ways to be a leader in your community, your state, your Division, and in the AMEA itself. When you see an opportunity to serve our profession, go for it. When you see something that needs done or changed, do it. When you have discovered some information that would be useful to our profession, share it. Be a leader in our profession and enjoy enriching Music Education in the process!

I look forward to seeing all of you at our Conference!

Music Education is AWESOME in Alabama!

Respectfully Submitted,

Gregory L. Gumina

AMEA: From the President’s Desk


Hello AMEA!

My sincere hope is that you all had a great summer and that you are prepared to return to the business of educating our young people. It has been very rewarding to follow all of the professional development activities so many of you sought out during these summer months. We have an awesome profession, and I am constantly humbled by, and appreciative of professionals sharing knowledge with each other. It’s definitely one of the things which make our profession so special. Once again, I would like to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent and work for you as your President. I will continue to do my best in that capacity, and it has indeed been my pleasure to serve our organization.

Summer Board Meeting

The Governing Board had a very productive meeting in June with a very full agenda. All the represented divisions gave excellent reports concerning the depth and breadth of their respective activities and programs. There are truly some exciting things happening throughout our state. All the divisions are healthy and vibrant, and rest assured that each division is very well represented. You have done an excellent job of electing great representatives in each of our divisions. I am happy to report that our organization is moving forward toward our 75th Anniversary next year in a very strong financial position, and membership numbers are solid. Please talk to your fellow music education colleagues and encourage them to renew their membership in AMEA, or join us if they are not already a member.

Advocacy in Our Nation’s Capitol

The NAfME National Leadership Conference, Collegiate Advocacy Summit, and 2019 Hill Day were June 17th-21st. The AMEA was very well represented by two great teams of music education advocates from our state leadership. While in Washington, DC we were able to meet with representatives from the offices of Senator Doug Jones, Senator Richard Shelby, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Congresswoman Martha Roby, Congressman Mo Brooks, Congressman Gary Palmer, Congressman Mike Rogers, and Congressman Bradley Byrne for Hill Day. We were even fortunate enough to meet with Congresswoman Martha Roby and Congressman Gary Palmer in person. Thanks to these two Representatives for taking the time to meet with us personally. Our message was well received in all offices as we shared the importance of music education as part of a well-rounded education. We made several requests as part of the goals for the day, both legislative and fiscal. The House and Senate have done a very good job of funding the “Every Student Succeeds Act” through the appropriations process, and all parts of the law are currently being funded for 2020 at significantly higher levels than during the Fiscal Year 2019. We also asked for Legislative support for the “GAAME” Act (Guaranteed Access to Arts and Music Education) while on the Hill this year, which more specifically enumerates how federal funding should be used in support of music education. For specifics on federal appropriations, authorized spending, and all things “ESSA” and “GAAME,” please see the NAfME website. During our meetings, we presented each Senator and Congressperson with a framed copy of our state song and a note from the AMEA as part of our State’s Bicentennial Celebration. During the National Assembly many valuable sessions were presented and information was shared amongst state leaders concerning subjects such as: Country Music

Association Grants, ESSA Title IV (Part A), Strategies for Cultivating New and Emerging Leaders, Governance and Fiduciary Responsibilities, Mentoring: State and National, Connecting with the Fundraising Community, Vision 2020: The Future is Now for NAfME, Shortening the Distance: State, Division, and National Collaboration, Working with Affiliate Organizations, and National Standards Initiatives, amongst other informative and valuable sessions. We were also able to meet with Matt Barusch, NAfME State Advocacy and Engagement Manager, to discuss ideas concerning our own advocacy efforts here in Alabama. Dr. Rob Lyda has been doing a great job heading up these efforts for us and we will all need to be engaged in the process of advocacy.
2020 Professional Development Conference

As you know, we are returning to Montgomery for our 2020 conference this year. Please make plans to attend the conference now, and please plan to stay on site. Congratulations to all the performing groups and presenters who were chosen for our conference this year. We look forward to enjoying your performances and learning from your willingness to share knowledge. I’m super excited to announce that the Low Brass Studio @ UNA under the direction of Dr. Thomas Lukowicz will perform as part of our Keynote Address and General Session on Thursday morning, January 16th at 10:30. Please arrange your travel plans so you are able to attend. We will also have the opportunity to feature the Jacksonville State University Steel Band under the direction of Dr. Thomas McCutchen during the Exhibit Reception on Thursday afternoon, January 16 at 4:30. And finally, the Gadsden State Show Band directed by Dr. Matt Leder will entertain us at the President’s Reception on Friday evening, January 17th at 9:30. Thanks to all these groups for participating in our conference. You definitely won’t want to miss any of these outstanding ensembles from our own state. The Governing Board will be meeting in August to finalize plans for the conference, and I’m looking forward to seeing all of you there. It’s going to be fabulous!

Agenda, Goals, and Celebration

The agenda during my tenure has been driven by the goals of advocacy, action, technology, collegiality, standards, knowledge, and pride. I would like everybody to feel included, important, and crucial to the success of the AMEA. There is no stronger advocacy group than one which is united. We all play a part in the musical education and social development of our young people in Alabama, and I wish for us all to identify as one unified association. One of the main ways we are accomplishing this is through advocacy efforts. I want us to become more visual in our communities, in our State Capitol, and be more culturally relevant to our populous. Let’s all continue to be both visible and vigilant at the local, state, and national levels. All politics is indeed local, so make sure you are in contact with our elected officials on all levels. Invite them to your concerts and other events to let them see that music education is healthy and vibrant in Alabama. Additionally, we will be helping our state celebrate its bicentennial. There are now downloadable PDF arrangements of our state song on the AMEA website which I hope you will program on your various concerts and events this fall. We will also continue with our performances in the State Capitol Rotunda during the spring legislative session. And finally, I can now officially announce that we will be a very vital component of the Bicentennial Celebration and parade on December 14th of this year. Funding has been acquired from the

ALSDE, Bicentennial Commission, and the Travel and Tourism Commission, so look for announcements and information about this event which will be released very soon.

As we move forward into the 2019-20 school year, let’s all commit to finding that first-year teacher, that new person to our state, and our fellow music educators not currently involved in AMEA and invite them to participate. I hope that you all have a great school year with wonderful lessons based on best practices, standards and assessments, and high-quality sequential methodologies. Our students deserve the best that we can do for them. Now let’s get busy educating the young people throughout our beloved state.

Music Education is AWESOME in Alabama!

Respectfully Submitted,

Gregory L. Gumina

AMEA President: Finish Strong!

Hello AMEA!

I hope you have had a very productive school year full of high quality, sequential, standards- based units of instruction, and wonderful performances. We are the protectors and advocates of our beautiful art form, and we also possess a noble profession. Closing down a school year can be both enjoyable and sorrowful at the same time. So let’s make the best out of the time we have left in this academic year. I have chosen to share some information with you in this article from both the state and federal levels. My hope is that you will read through, get motivated, and take action where necessary.

Arts Alliance Meeting

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Alabama Arts Education Alliance Pre-Summit Conference. Representatives from Theater, Visual Arts, Dance, and of course Music were present and we discussed many topics throughout the day. Our organization was the largest and most organized of the Professional Organizations represented at the Summit, but the other areas were well represented by distinguished professionals and contributed great ideas to the discussions. The meeting was administrated by Andy Meadows, Arts Specialist with the Alabama State Department of Education. Some of the topics of the day were organizations’ strengths and weaknesses, Artistic Literacy Consortium, advocacy, Arts in Alabama Schools Month, Arts Signing Day, certification pathways, On-line arts courses, Arts Mega Conference, and next steps for each area of discussion.

NAfME Monthly Update Highlights

A grassroots action alert has been activated for members to write to Congress in support of fully funding Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act following the release of the President’s budget for FY20, where he zeroed out appropriations for this section of the education law. Title IV, Part A is known as Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) and is a block formula grant with a wide range of allowable uses. It allows States, LEA’s, schools, and local communities to provide students with access to a well-rounded education, improve school conditions for student learning, and improve the use of technology in order to improve academic achievement and digital literacy. I encourage you to contact your Federal Representatives in Washington and encourage them to fully fund Title IV, Part A. In other news, NAfME membership numbers are strong and growing. Active Members, Retired Members, Collegiate Members, TRI-M Chapters, and TRI-M Members all showed growth from 2018 to 2019.

Teacher Shortage and Teacher Raises

There is a nationwide teacher shortage coming, and depending on which data you look at, it could be disastrous for schools and students. Alabama is no exception. Many, including our state Superintendent Eric Mackey, are calling it a crisis. This situation is not expected to drastically impact our profession, but we must always be vigilant. According to the Director of Human Resources with the Jefferson County School System, prior to 2013, there were approximately 12% of high school graduates who pursued education as a career. Since 2013 that number has dropped to 4%. Teachers who entered service after 2013 are only staying in the teaching profession for an average of 5 years. 2013 is the year that the Tier II Retirement plan was put into place. The teachers in Alabama who were hired after 2013 have no option for early retirement at 25 years of service, cannot retire until 62 years of age, have a lower percentage donated to their retirement accounts, and cannot accumulate sick leave time towards retirement credit. Recently a plan was introduced to allow Tier II employees to opt into a new Tier III plan which allows employees to serve for 30 years, and they would have the same percentage donated toward their retirement as Tier I employees. While Tier III would be an improvement over Tier II, it is still not equivalent to Tier I. Let’s hope that our Tier II generation teachers are afforded the opportunity at a better future. In other news from Montgomery, Governor Kay Ivey has proposed a 4% pay raise for school employees next year. PEEHIP is also fully funded in the Governor’s plan, so there would be no insurance increase for teachers.


Last Summer Congresswoman Velazquez and Senator Testor introduced the Guarantee Access to Arts and Music Education (GAAME) into discussions on Capitol Hill. The National Association for Music Education applauds the introduction of and wholeheartedly endorses the GAAME Act (H.R. 1676 and S. 885). If passed, this legislation would provide language articulating the ability for school districts to use their Title I, Part A funds to improve access to sequential music and arts education for disadvantaged and low-income students, including programs taught by certified music educators. The GAAME Act’s reinforcement that Title I’s school-wide and targeted assistance funds can be used to support music and arts education aligns with NAfME’s mission, which is to advance music education by promoting the understanding and making of music by all. Studies have shown that in-school music programs are highly valuable in engaging students by improving their overall participation and attendance, especially for students deemed at-risk. Furthermore, the benefits of music programs transcend typical quantifiable markers of academic achievement. Music Education at all grade levels has also been shown to support the development of essential 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, and creative problem-solving. When students are denied a quality music education, they are denied the ability to hone skills valuable for success in life. I have a feeling your Alabama Advocacy Team will be advocating for the GAAME Act on Capitol Hill when we visit Washington, D.C. in June.

Summer PD Opportunities

Almost every day I receive an email (or ten) about a summer professional development opportunity, some of them in very desirable locales. Music Educators might be the best education professionals at seeking continuing education and professional development. We are also a group who is typically very willing to share what we have learned with others in our beloved field. So whether you plan to travel or stay more local, I would encourage you to seek a great professional development opportunity this summer to both increase your effectiveness in the classroom and benefit your students. Our students deserve the best “us” that we can be.

Finish Strong

As we close down this school year, I would encourage you to get plenty of rest, take care of your own health, and finish strong. Teach as hard as you can all the way through your last opportunity to see your students. We are all tired and weary at this time of year, as are our students. We all see the finish line together, but we can’t win the race if we stop short of the finish line. So let’s be great examples to our students, and finish strong.

Music Education is AWESOME in Alabama!

Respectfully Submitted,

Greg Gumina, President

Alabama Music Educators Association

AMEA: From the President’s Desk

Hello AMEA!

Sometimes it’s beneficial to take a step away from the daily realities of being in the classroom in order to recharge and reset our appreciation of music, and possibly our daily teaching practices. Conferences, committee work, and other professional development opportunities are the perfect vehicles for us to accomplish that recharging and resetting process. Ryan Lilly, an expert in the field of business development, advises to “Be a Professional at what you do. No one shows up to meetings of the Unsuccessful Skydivers Club.” And Amit Kalantri, an engineer and author, addresses the subject by stating that, “Professionalism is not a tactic, but a moral value.” The entire community that comprises the AMEA certainly lived up to these goals and morals with your participation in our 2019 Professional Development Conference.

Wow! What a great conference we had in Birmingham. I am so proud of our entire organization for putting together such a wonderful professional development opportunity and thank you so much for your attendance. The numbers are in, and it was by far the second largest AMEA Conference in our history. One thousand and three members were registered, and exactly one thousand attended, plus a good amount of guests as well. That is clear evidence of your commitment to our profession and our students. There are so many people to thank and so many people to congratulate that I could fill this entire issue of the Ala Breve if that was possible.

The first people I would like to thank are two gentlemen without which, we would have no conference. Thank you, Ron Bearden and James Champion for everything you do for the AMEA. You are very much appreciated and your tireless efforts have not gone unnoticed. Thanks also to President-Elect David Raney and Immediate Past-President Susan Smith for all of their help, guidance, and leadership. Susan also did a wonderful job with our FAME students and their sessions. Next is the staff of the AMEA, and there are not adequate words or space in this article to accurately express their importance to us. Garry Taylor, Rusty Logan, Carl Hancock, and Pat Stegall are all amazing professionals and truly dedicated to our organization. They work all year long to guarantee the success of our conference. Thanks also to our vendors and exhibitors for supporting the AMEA, and I would also like to thank the membership for visiting them. Revenue from the exhibition hall was once again up this year, which helps pay for the conference. Traffic through the exhibits was also up this year, and our exhibitors appreciated seeing all of you at their booths. A healthy relationship between us educators and our industry partners is both beneficial and necessary. Thanks to Becky Lightfoot for serving as our Industry Representative, and for representing our partners with such dignity and sincerity.

The Governing Board assembled a fabulous experience, full of diverse and useful learning opportunities. We had wonderful concerts, informative interest sessions, and many occasions for collaboration with colleagues. Thank you so much to: Doug Farris (ABA), Guy Harrison (AOA), Meg Jones (AVA), Phil Wilson (Elementary/General), Mildred Lanier (Higher Ed), Ted Hoffman (Collegiate Advisor), and Jordan Hare Banks (Collegiate) for everything you did to make our conference such a wonderful experience. Also thanks to Kim Bain and the Jazz Division for doing such an awesome job with our All-State Jazz Bands and Randall Coleman along with those that helped facilitate the outstanding Intercollegiate Band. I would also like to thank Carla Gallahan for always making sure we have accurate documentation for our activities, and for ensuring the correct operation of our various endeavors. I am so honored to have the opportunity to work with the consummate professionals who comprise the AMEA Governing Board.

They represent you well, work diligently for our organization, and should be commended for their dedication to music education in Alabama.

To apply for, prepare, and present a performance for one’s colleagues is a very rewarding experience, and is not without challenges to overcome. So a sincere ‘Thanks’ and ‘Congratulations’ goes out to all of our colleagues who presented concerts for us to be inspired by and enjoy. Thanks also to those who presented interest sessions full of information which both enriched us personally, and nourished our profession.

Our special guests were amazing, intuitive, informative, and entertaining. Dian Eddleman, our NAfME Southern Division President was fantastic in all the sessions we asked her to do. She brought a wealth of knowledge and information to us and worked purposefully to present targeted data, findings, and communication to various groups throughout her stay with us. Andy Meadows, our ALSDE Arts Education Specialist, also brought information, concern, and communication while visiting several meetings and sessions during his time with us. It is indeed profitable and beneficial to have an open line of communication and mutual understanding with our state officials in Montgomery. Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser was the one and only, as only he can be. He is always uplifting, rejuvenating, inspiring, encouraging, and motivating. He is without equal as the preeminent music education speaker and advocate in our country. And to everybody else who contributed in any way to the success of our conference, thank you very much.

The AMEA Governing Board is already working on next year’s conference and I am confident that we will again have a wonderful experience. But this time, we’re going back in Montgomery! Now is the time to decide to participate in next year’s conference. Make a commitment to apply for a performance opportunity. Create chamber groups at your school and apply for a lobby performance. We have so many talented professionals in this state with so much knowledge to share with each other. Decide now to apply to present a session on the topic you have intimate knowledge of and are passionate about. Or, if there is something you are studying and gaining understanding about, decide now to finish your research and present it at our conference next year. Together, we all make the AMEA a powerful force for the betterment of our profession and to the benefit our students. Let’s have a great 2019, and best wishes to all.

Music Education is Awesome in Alabama!

Respectfully Submitted,
Greg Gumina

AMEA President: Hello AMEA! Back to Work

I hope that this issue of the Ala Breve finds you experiencing well-planned, effective, sequential, and standards-based lessons in which your students are learning a life-long love and appreciation of music. Whatever Division you belong to and whoever makes up your classroom, my wish is that you feel empowered and excited to have a positive effect on our next generation of music lovers, music consumers, musicians, and citizens. And while we are at it, let’s all acknowledge what a fantastic job our Editor does with our publication. I can tell you from many conversations I have had over the past two and a half years with leaders from other states that the Ala Breve provides a model for many other state publications. Leaders from around the country constantly and consistently praise the work that Mr. Taylor does for us. Thank you so much Garry!

Southern Division Meeting

The Southern Division of NAfME held its Fall Board Meeting in Nashville, Tennessee on September 9-10. Representing you at the meeting besides myself were President-Elect David Raney and Executive Director/Editor Garry Taylor. Some of the topics discussed were state by-laws and policies, navigating the NAfME website, State Chair Positions, collegiate voting, budgeting, resources, technology, Societies and Councils, Tri-M, and the organizational split with the Give a Note foundation.

National Conference

The NAfME National Conference will take place November 11-14 in Dallas, Texas. You may feel free to consider this an advertisement, and I’m proud to do so. Our national leaders have conducted extensive research and I’m happy to report that they have listened to the respondents and associated generated data. The new model for the National Conference looks to be a very effective one and includes several tracks of learning for the Professional Music Educator. There will be three two-day forums including Emerging Leaders, Collegiate, and Music Program Leaders. There are also several topic areas or “Opuses,” which can be followed including Learning, Innovation, Involvement, Inspiration, and Technology. You can receive 20 hours of professional development for attending an Opus and/or 10 hours of professional development for attending one of the three two-day Forums. Learn more about the newly revised National Conference offerings at and I’ll see you there.

August Meeting and 2019 Conference

The AMEA Governing Board met in August with a full agenda of 21 business items to accomplish. I am proud to report that the Board worked diligently and completed all items on the agenda. Most importantly, the Board completed planning our January 2019 Conference. I won’t belabor the point by giving a substantive analysis of the conference here, but I will say this: Get there, and get your colleagues there as well! We have all heard the phrase to the effect that “There’s nothing there for me.” Just peruse the schedule and you will see that not only is there something for everyone, but there is a lot there for everybody. There are more clinic sessions, interest sessions, meetings, and of course more concerts. We will also have a general session, keynote address, and awards. You do not want to miss this, so get your pre-registration complete and join your 1,200 Alabama Professional Music Educator Colleagues for a fantastic conference!

Read the August meeting agenda

Conference Registration

As I mentioned in my last article and through no fault of anyone in the AMEA, we experienced major issues with registration at our 2018 Conference. I am super excited to announce that those problems have been dealt with and solved. We all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dr. Carl Hancock for engineering a new registration program and process, which is currently up and running perfectly. The best way to alleviate any delays in the registration process is still to pre-register and get right to the conference activities. You won’t want to miss a minute. Thank you, Dr. Hancock!

Register for the conference

Bicentennial Performances

Bicentennial Performance Applications for the 2019 Spring Legislative Session are due November 1. These performances will occur in the Rotunda of the State Capitol building and were very well received last year. There are some very specific rules and logistical concerns for these performances, so please read the performance application very carefully. You can find all the information you need on the website. I hope to see you and your group in Montgomery this coming spring!

See video from last year

Apply to perform in 2019


I mentioned in my previous article that I was going to make some appointments to the Presidential Cabinet, and I am pleased to report to you that some of these appointees and their associated committees are already doing great work. You will begin to see the fruits of their labors in this and coming issues of the Ala Breve, at our Conference, and through other special reports. The Presidential Cabinet will also meet during our conference in Birmingham to discuss, strategize, and plan for the future. Here are some highlights of recent appointments: Carlton Wright-Diversity in Music Education, Stephanie Ezell-Health and Wellness, Keith Anderson-Technology, Dr. Rob Lyda-Advocacy, David Raney- Mission and Vision, Deanna Bell-Sexual Harassment and Safety in the Workplace, Margaret Herron-AP Music Theory, David Allinder-Harmonizing Instruments, Susan Smith-AMEA Emerging Leaders, Craig Cagle-Grant Writing, and Franklin Bell-Copyright Compliance. Others are still being formed. Thanks to everybody involved and I look forward to seeing the results of your research. You will also notice that I have added Elementary/General, Jazz, and Orchestral Music Reviews to our publication to generate more useful information for all our members. Thanks also to our newest Music Reviewers!

Visible and Vigilant

In closing, may I ask each of you to be both Visible and Vigilant? Be visible in your towns, cities and counties. Be visible to your local residents and school populations. Be visible in our state. Be visible to your elected officials at all levels of government. Invite people to come see your performing groups and classrooms. Let our fellow citizens and elected officials see what you are doing, what you are accomplishing, and even what you might be struggling with. Let them see what a difference Music Education makes for our students, our communities, and our culture. Also, be vigilant. Keep a watchful eye on legislative happenings at the local, state, and national levels. Many decisions are made for us and about us, often without us even knowing there was a decision being made. Be vigilant and stay informed about music education policy in your local school, school system, city, county, state, and nation. Contact elected officials at all levels, communicate your thoughts, ask them to visit you and your students, and stay vigilant about their decisions and policy making. Our art form, our students, and our noble profession deserve both our visibility and vigilance.

Looking forward to seeing all of you at the Conference!


AMEA: From the President’s Desk

Hello AMEA!

I trust that you all had a great summer, and that you are ready to get back to the work of educating our young people. It has been exciting to follow all of the professional development activities that so many of you have been involved in through the summer months, and I consider myself very fortunate to be amongst such consummate professionals in our most excellent profession. I want to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent and work for you as your President for the next two years. I will endeavor to do my best in that capacity and I look forward to the work we will do together.

Summer Board Meeting
The Governing Board had a very productive meeting in June with a very full agenda. All the represented divisions gave excellent reports concerning the depth and breadth of their respective activities and programs. There are truly some exciting things happening throughout our state. All the divisions are both healthy and vibrant, and rest assured that each division is very well represented. I am happy to report that our organization is moving forward toward our 75th Anniversary in a strong financial position and membership numbers are solid. While active membership decreased a little last year, overall membership grew by 145 due to the growth of Tri-M. Way to go Tri-M! Membership numbers in fact remain in line with recent trends and history, but let’s do our best to grow the organization. Please talk to your fellow music education colleagues and encourage them to renew their membership in AMEA, or join us if they are not already a member.

Advocacy in Our Nation’s Capitol
The 68th NAfME National Leadership Conference, Collegiate Advocacy Summit, and 2018 Hill Day was June 26th-30th. Representing Alabama besides myself were AMEA Executive Director and Editor Garry Taylor, AMEA Immediate Past-President Susan Smith, AMEA President-Elect David Raney, NAfME Chair of the Council for General Music Education Dr. Rob Lyda, and AMEA Collegiate Division President-Elect DeLee Benton. While in Washington, DC we were able to meet with representatives from the offices of Senator Doug Jones, Senator Richard Shelby, Congresswoman Terri Sewell, and Congressman Bradley Byrne for Hill Day. Our message was well received in all offices as we shared the importance of music education in a well-rounded education. We made several requests as part of the goals for the day, both legislative and fiscal. This House and Senate have done a very good job of funding the “Every Student Succeeds Act” through the appropriations process, and all parts of the law are being funded for 2019 at significantly higher levels than during Fiscal Year 2018. For specifics on Federal appropriations, authorized spending, and all things “ESSA,” please see the NAfME website. During the National Assembly many valuable sessions were presented and information was shared amongst state leaders concerning subjects such as: Position and Mission Statements, Crisis Management, Finding and Nurturing Leaders, Coalitions at the National and State Level, Budgeting, Legal Issues, Technology, Diversity, Governance, Federal Funding, and Ethics.

2019 Professional Development Conference
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room and immediately get it out of the way. Registration was a major concern at our 2018 Conference. The root cause of this problem was an issue with the NAfME Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, and our Registrar Pat Stegall, along with our AMEA Governing Board is determined to solve this for our members. In fact, we will not be using that CRM this year in order to expedite the registration process. However, the best way to mitigate this risk is to pre-register for the conference online and avoid the issue completely.

I am excited to announce that our Keynote Speaker will be Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser, who will also be conducting a clinic session on beginning band. This year is also an Intercollegiate Band year, and we are excited to have Dr. Lowell Graham from UTEP as the conductor. We had a record number of performance applications this year and I am also proud to announce that we will be featuring more of our own students’ and teachers’ efforts at this year’s conference through some adjustments in the schedule and planning. As you know, we are returning to Birmingham for the conference this year. We will be using the BJCC Theater as our meeting space and large concert venue which will fit our events perfectly. Please make plans to attend the conference now, and plan on staying on site. The interstate highway system in Birmingham will still be significantly under construction at the time of our conference and you won’t want that impeding on your enjoyment of the conference. In addition to all the performances of our colleagues and their ensembles, there are going to be some fantastic clinics and sessions. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

Agenda and Goals
My agenda over the next two years will be driven by the goals of Advocacy, Action, Technology, Collegiality, Standards, Knowledge, and Pride. I would like everybody to feel included, important, and crucial to the success of the AMEA. There is no stronger advocacy group than one which is united. We all play a part in the musical education and social development of our young people in Alabama, and I wish for us all to identify as one unified association. One of the main ways we will accomplish this is through advocacy efforts. I want us to become more visual in our communities, in our State Capitol, and be more culturally relevant to our populous. We will accomplish this in many ways. In addition to the standing committees spelled out in the by-laws, I am forming ad hoc committees as part of the the President’s Cabinet. The committees will be tasked with studying issues and sharing their findings with the organization. Additionally, we will be helping our state celebrate its bicentennial. There will soon be downloadable PDF arrangements of our state song on the AMEA website which I hope you will program on your various concerts and events. We will also continue with our performances in the State Capitol Rotunda during the spring legislative session. And finally, we will be a very vital component of the celebration and parade on December 14th, 2019.

Thanks and Moving Forward
Please join me in thanking Susan Smith for her leadership as President of the AMEA over the past two years. Susan is a tireless advocate for our profession and our students. Thank you so much Susan for your dedicated service to our organization. As we move forward into the 2018-19 school year, let’s all commit to finding that first year teacher, that new person to our state, and our fellow music educators not currently involved in AMEA and invite them to participate. My sincere wish is that you all have a great school year. Now let’s get busy educating our young people throughout our beloved State.

Have a Great Year!

Gregory L. Gumina, President

AMEA: From the President’s Desk

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve” Martin Luther King Jr.

As I write my final article as President of the Alabama Music Educators, I am struck buy how quickly the time has raced by and how many things have changed in our profession and daily life in the last 2 years. It has been a true honor to serve the music educators of our state and I appreciate the opportunity given by the membership. My journey of teaching and leadership has been molded by teachers, colleagues, mentors and family who have often said just the small things to keep me centered.  An encouraging word or a moment of interest and support might be just thing we each need. What we do as music teachers is valid and important – I have never been more convinced of this. I have been guided by a few phrases that I hope will be helpful or interesting to you as you step into the classroom each day.

Keep moving forward– Some days this is all we need to get us through.

Get 1- 3 things done a day– We all get overwhelmed by having so much on our plate. If we can focus on completing just a few things, we will feel confident and successful. I love to check something off a list!

Teach for the long haul – My mom was a music teacher her entire life and this was a big piece of her teaching philosophy.  We sometimes make decisions or react in ways that might seem the easiest or most efficient route in the moment. However, in the long run, this might not be wisest course of action.  Be careful to not allow short term outcomes override long term goals.

Don’t always apologize– As teachers and servant leaders we sometimes take the blame for things that aren’t our fault or we apologize just to make someone else feel better. This is something I have learned through the strength and guidance of my daughters.

Celebrate successes but never be satisfied– Music teachers must be our own marketing team and tell all about the successes of our students and programs.  We are our own best advocates and should tell those in our communities.  As well,  standards of success should be something that changes and continues to move forward. Don’t ever be satisfied!

You deserve to be appreciated– Sometimes it is easy to be caught in the mindset that music is a service only to a community and not an academic venture with standards and rigor. We can feel under-appreciated as teachers and administrators.  Support other teachers and this will come back many times over.

Don’t burn bridges– We are faced daily with outside negativity or challenging circumstances as teachers. It is tempting to say or email something we might regret as reaction. Try to count to 10 or run it by someone you trust before hitting send!

Model who you want those around you to be – I see so many wonderful educators in all fields I want to emulate. Our students look up to us. If we don’t like their behavior or reactions, we should take a moment to evaluate our own.

Find a hobby – Our jobs can be so all encompassing that we forget to care for ourselves. One of my mentors, Linda Gammon, taught me that having a hobby or interest outside of music was important to keep a fresh outlook as a teacher.

Every child deserves a champion – You might be the only person who sees value in a child.  Take that responsibility seriously. When they try your patience, wipe the slate clean and start over tomorrow.  My husband Robert often says  “Be on the lookout for Mozart.” We might have a Mozart in our class and we need to nature and foster that talent.

As teachers, we choose a career of servant leadership by the nature of the job.  We try to leave things better than we found it. Along the way we make a lasting impact on our students, communities and  families. It isn’t always easy and sometimes it doesn’t seem worth it. However, all it takes is that one lightbulb or “thank you” to make it all worthwhile.  AMEA is a strong organization because of the leadership of those who have come before and will continue to thrive if YOU become involved and help guide the future path.  I hear people say “I don’t know how to get involved” or “there is no place for me.” Here are some ways to get started making a connection to the state music organization:

Attend an AMEA Professional Development Conference– While we always have good attendance at conference, we want a larger percentage of the music teachers in the state to benefit from the information and performances shared. Encourage a colleague in your area or a younger teacher to attend as well.

Apply to present at conference– Our application process is live and available on the www.myamea.orgwebsite.  We are accepting applications for educational sessions and ensemble performances until June 1.  We will also be gathering applications through October 1st for our Lightning Round session which includes 6-10 minute sessions. We are also accepting applications for small ensemble chamber performances. If you have a great idea to share, this is the place!

Start a Tri-M Music Honor Society Chapter – This is great way to grow support for your music program at your school and to encourage collaboration within the arts programs. It can also bring recognition for your students at the level of the other academic honor societies in your school.  High School and Junior High School chapters alike can bring schools together with very little effort and highlight what you are doing in your music program.

Support a collegiate CNAFME chapter – If you have a college CNAFME chapter near you, invite them into your classroom for hands-on experience.

You might also offer to speak to the group about what you do in the classroom each day.

Division clinics  and serviceEach of our AMEA Divisions offer multiple sessions and clinics throughout the year.  From the Elementary Orff and Kodaly workshops to the All State Choir or Orchestra Festivals and Summer ABA Conference, there are many chances to make connections and get involved. We are always looking for those to serve as district officers and state officers and that level of service usually starts with moving a riser or music stand and pitching in at any event.

Congratulations to our new President Elect, David Raney and Recording Secretary, Carla Gallahan.  Your willingness to serve is much appreciated. Special thank you to the most recent Past Presidents, Dr. Carl Hancock and Dr. Sara Womack for their guidance and patience.  Thank you to Greg Gumina for your help and support and your never-ending optimism. The calming daily leadership of Garry Taylor has guided each president during his tenure and the strength of the organization is a direct result of his steadfast commitment to the betterment of music education in Alabama.

Finally, thank you to my family for your support and ability to focus my daily walk.  I appreciate the time you have given up in the interest of AMEA and for your constant love and encouragement.

Remember to get involved and teach for the long haul!


“Some people give time, some money, some their skills and connections, some literally give their life’s blood. But everyone has something to give.”  Barbra Bush

AMEA: From the President’s Desk

“Any great art work … revives and readapts time and space, and the measure of its success is the extent to which it makes you an inhabitant of that world – the extent to which it invites you in and lets you breathe its strange, special air.”

Leonard Bernstein

 There are times in life that the stars seem to align, and we experience music making at a level that affects us. As educators, we are trained to spend much of our days looking for mistakes to correct… making it difficult to enjoy music. But sometimes we experience musical performances that allow us to transcend that role of mistake fixers to actually enjoy listening to music. We had several moments like that at the 2018 AMEA Professional Development Conference.

 AMEA 2018

When reaching out to artists for the 2018 conference I had a goal to highlight parts of our organization that might not always have the focused attention of our membership and be a draw for all to enjoy.  I believe we can all have an appreciation for our differences and will be better musicians and teachers if we are more empathetic to our colleagues as we all TEACH MUSIC!

The Alabama Symphony performance was fantastic and to experience a concert in their home hall was even more enjoyable.  The programming, facility and musicianship displayed were all excellent. The management team from the orchestra was very hands on and even had a booth in the exhibits.  They are dedicated to supporting music education in our state and have education concerts scheduled for rural and urban students who might not have the chance to hear a live orchestra.

When I made the connection with Voctave about performing at AMEA, I knew it would be a difficult sell for those who had not heard of them or experienced the original ensemble all of them have performed with – the Voices of Liberty at Epcot. As I sat in the concert with tears streaming down my face and the 3rd spontaneous standing ovation was happening, I knew that we had experienced something very special and had breathed rare air. Representatives from all divisions told me how much they enjoyed both concerts.  As President of AMEA it is not always clear the path to take – but I have never been more sure after these concerts and moments of cohesion between the divisions of AMEA. This coupled with the Peter Boonshaft Keynote and the Honor Choir and All State Jazz Band concerts, I was thrilled with what we were able to bring to the membership this year.

I was amazed at the resilience and fortitude of our organization, presenters and vendors in the wake of frigid temperatures and icy conditions.  As the AMEA board met via multiple conference calls before the conference to discuss how to handle the weather issues – our concern for members and students were always at the forefront of our minds.  If at all possible, we wanted the performing groups to be able to perform after all their preparations and for our membership to benefit from the clinicians and sessions offered. Though some members were not able to attend, the show did go on and with a few schedule modifications – all student groups were able to perform. It is my hope that every educator came away from the conference with a new idea or technique that will guide their teaching in the future or make them feel refreshed and rejuvenated for the second half of the year.

Thank you!

Before my time on the AMEA Board I had had no idea how integral each board member is to the conference.  Each division president is the point person for their portion of the conference and basically run a conference within a conference. I want to take a moment to thank them and highlight the portions of the conference they oversee.

Garry Taylor and Rusty Logan are our Executive Director and Assistant Director.  They oversaw communication with each ensemble, clinician, vendor and the venue. From awards given to the food at luncheons to the projectors in each presentation room – they are working to make the conference happen for the entire previous year.

Carl Hancock, our Immediate Past President, oversaw the FAME program and the Past Presidents luncheon.

Greg Gumina, our President-elect, helped facilitate registration and assisted with the conference as needed

Pat Stegall, our Registrar and Treasurer, worked with NAFME to move our registration process forward.

Doug Farris, ABA President, facilitated the division meetings and sessions.

Kim Bain, Jazz Chair, facilitated the four All-State Jazz Bands rehearsals and performances.

Sam Norlund, AOA President, facilitated the division meetings and sessions.

Ginny Coleman , AVA President, facilitated the division meetings and sessions, the Honor Choir, and the moving of risers.

Phil Wilson, Elem/General President, facilitated the division meetings and sessions, and the moving of many classroom instruments.

Ted Hoffman, Collegiate Advisor, facilitated all collegiate sessions and the collegiate luncheon and reception.

Madison Baldwin, Collegiate President, facilitated the division meeting and the collegiate luncheon and reception.

Becky Halliday, Higher Education President, facilitated the division meeting, sessions, reception and HED recital.

Carla Gallahan, Recording Secretary, recorded all meeting minutes and reported to the membership.

Becky Lightfoot, Industry Representative, made many suggestions that are current policy and continues to guide our path

The AMEA Board knew moving to a new venue would have some challenges and opportunities. The BJCC and the Sheraton complex offer the AMEA Professional Development Conference more space and room to grow.  Many of you have made suggestions and these were discussed at our post conference meeting. While there were some rough edges we encountered, we have already started adjusting the schedule, flow and placements of portions of the conference for next year.

AMEA is only as strong as its members and leadership and your experience with the organization is what you make of it.  I encourage each of you to get involved in your divisions and volunteer to help with the AMEA as you can. It is certainly fulfilling to be an advocate for music education in Alabama and the conference is the embodiment of the organization’s impact on the arts.

Thank you again for all you do each day in the classroom. Music is our subject, but teaching is our passion and calling. Don’t let the ups and down of the school day rob you of remembering that YOU make an impact on the future of children and while they might not remember every detail taught – they will remember how they felt about music in your class.


AMEA: Sharpening the Axe!

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. Abraham Lincoln

Often quoted and well respected, Abraham Lincoln was a proponent of broadening one’s perspective through continued learning and experiences.  The Alabama Music Educators Association Professional Development Conference is a perfect opportunity for you to learn new approaches or techniques to employ in your rehearsals and classrooms. Your divisions have invited notable clinicians and ensembles for what will prove to be an experience you won’t forget.

A few highlights include our Honor Choir of high school musicians from around the state.  The NAFME Southern Division President, Sara Womack, will be the speaker at the AMEA Leadership Breakfast and will update us on the Alabama Course of Study and its implementation. Be sure to join us for the General Session, where the Keynote Speaker will be Peter Boonshaft, who always has encouraging insightful words. Acapella Super Group Voctave will also perform! This will be a conference you will not want to miss!

AMEA Board Happenings

The AMEA Board met in August and  completed much of the conference planning.  We are fortunate to have Executive Director Garry Taylor, who has such a talent for conference logistics and planning.  Moving to a new venue is a daunting task but Garry and Assistant Executive Director Rusty Logan have met the challenge with enthusiasm and I’m sure it will prove to be a great fit for our organization. We also reviewed organizational documents, the outcome of the outside financial review, and voted to house the AMEA awards in the Troy University John M. Long School of Music.

ESSA Update

Most of you are aware of the recent resignation of the State School Superintendent.  This is a critical time for education as each state’s plan for the Every Child Succeeds Act is due to the Federal Department of Education.  In light of recent events, and because the Alabama document was seen as lacking in detail, Governor Ivey has asked Secretary DeVos for and was granted an extension to the deadline.  The Governor has indicated that she will not sign if items she has identified are not addressed and will ask for an additional extension. The Alabama Arts Organizations have all sent letters in the last several weeks to encourage strengthening the role of the arts in the Alabama ESSA Plan. We will be sure to keep you updated.  We encourage you to send letters and call your state representative.  We know music is part of a well-rounded education and we want it articulated in the state document.

Organizational Goals

In my first article as President, I outlined some priorities for the organization during my tenure.  Below are updates to these objectives.

Build Bridges

Appointed Legislative Liaison – I have appointed Rob Lyda as our Legislative Liaison to keep AMEA updated on the happenings in state government that effect teachers and students and be a voice for the organization.

Retired Member Chair – I have appointed Jim Knight as the State Chairperson for the Retired Music Educators to encourage distribution of information and foster greater involvement of our retired members.

ESSA – We have worked with other State Arts groups and Arts Education Specialist Andy Meadows in support of ESSA and the Alabama Course of Study.

Conference Presidents Board Meeting -The Presidents Board will meet again in  January at the Professional Development Conference to help guide the organization.

Music Industry Connections – We have made revisions to our vendor registration as well as added a reception during the day in the exhibit area to foster connections.

Encourage and Support Teachers

Post-Conference Session for Young Teachers – we will host the first post-conference session specifically for young music teachers of 1- 5 years of experience.  The session will be held from 1:00-3:00 PM Saturday of the conference.  This will be a time of support and encouragement for this vital portion of our membership. We encourage any interested members to attend.

Sponsored Work Sessions – AMEA sponsored work sessions for the unpacking of the new Course of Study for music.

Conference Orientation for Collegiates – For the first time we will host an orientation session for our collegiates to foster connections and present suggestions to maximize the conference experience.

Lightning Round – This year we accepted applications for lightening rounds to foster interest and experience in presenting for our younger members.

Recognize and Encourage Success

Awards – We continue to give awards for outstanding music educators, administrators, and young teachers.  We will recognize our NAfME Collegiate Chapter of Excellence, the University of Montevallo and William Yates of the University of Montevallo, recipient of the NAfME Professional Achievement Award.

National Recognition – We have three ensembles who will perform at national events in the next few months and we plan to recognize them at the conference and in publications.  These include:

  • The Alabama Winds, conducted by Mr. Randall Coleman, will perform at the Midwest Clinic.
  • The Troy University Symphony Band, Dr. Mark Walker Conductor and the Pizitz Middle School Band, Ms. Kim Bain and Mrs. Leah Seng Conductors, will represent our state at the CBDNA Southern Division Conference in February.
  • Alabama had three students selected for the All National Honor Ensembles. Jon Featheringill and Bethany Simon were selected for the symphony orchestra and Caroline Habig for the concert band.

While there always seems to be more to do, I am elated about the direction of our organization and continued growth of our membership.

Over my years of teaching, I have found state and national music conferences to be a vital part of the profession. Staying current and motivated as a teacher is the secret to success and longevity.  We have a great AMEA Professional Development Conference planned for you this year and hope you will join us January 18-20, 2018 in Birmingham at the Birmingham–Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) in Birmingham, Alabama.

See you in Birmingham!

Susan L. Smith

AMEA: Rejuvenated and Ready!

Hello and welcome back to the 2017- 2018 school year! I hope that you each had some time to unwind and regenerate this summer. We all look forward to this time with anticipation and sometimes hesitancy for what the new school year will bring. I realized this summer  I went to my 27th year of band camps, as I had the honor of watching and supporting my daughter at the start of her teaching career.  I am struck by the similarities and differences of what today’s teachers encounter on a daily basis. There is nothing like the moment of making a difference in a child’s life or watching a lightbulb turn on for the first time. These are the experiences that keep all coming back to school each year.

Many of our members had the opportunity to participate in professional development by taking classes or going to one of the number of camps that are offered around the country this summer. I am inspired by those who take the time to refine their craft taking Orff and Kodály certification classes or attending conducting clinics and summer conferences. Teachers were naturally inquisitive and driven and the summer is our time to grow as musicians and educators – although it usually seems too short!

Organizational Health

The AMEA Board has been working diligently to broaden the reach and strengthen the foundation and longevity of our organization.  At our meeting in June, this group met to review the activity of the previous year and set our course for the coming year.  The first order of business was to welcome our new members who have moved on to the board from several of the divisions. We have budgeted this year for a financial review by a third party for the information and protection of the organization. We are pleased to report the total increase in membership totals – especially in Tri-M. If you are interested in starting a Tri-M Chapter, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a board member for advice or suggestions.  This is a great way to advocate for your program through your students.

 May 2015 May 2016 May 2017 
Retired 113116109
Collegiate 268291268
Tri M 78311201360
Total 223826182841

We continue to refine our media outreach and member functionality of our website.  Http:// is intended to be the unified face of our organization and we appreciate the leadership of Immediate Past President Dr. Carl Hancock in this venture.  Keep a lookout for additions to the website as well as a Conference Attendance Justification Kit.  Dr. Hancock is creating this valuable resource for distribution to our membership to help justify conference attendance. Another area we have made changes is our exhibitor sign-up for the AMEA Conference.  Exhibitors are now able to choose their booth from an interactive map and pay online.  This will better serve the needs of our industry partners as well as streamline the process for the AMEA office.  Special thanks to Garry Taylor for his leadership in this area of the organization.

The board is currently in discussion to house the AMEA Hall of Fame and other awards at Troy University in the John M. Long School of Music.

Alabama Course of Study

In April, the State Board of Education approved the Alabama Course of Study for Arts Education without any reservations.  We appreciate all the AMEA members who worked on this. The next step is to unpack the standards to make them more practical for teachers. AMEA Past President Sara Womack presented to the board the progress of the Course of Study Committee she has chaired.  The committee was asked to produce a vehicle for music teachers to make the implementation more practical. AMEA is committed to supporting music teachers by advocating for the development of these tools.


In June, members of your AMEA Board traveled to Washington DC for the annual NAfME National Assembly and Hill Day.  AMEA Executive Director Garry Taylor and Assistant Executive Director Dr. Rusty Logan attended meetings on topics germain to running a state MEA.  They joined myself, Past President Sara Womack, and Collegiate Secretary Brenton Nash as we visited the offices of Alabama Senators and Representatives.  We visited the offices of Senator Shelby and Senator Strange as well as Representatives Sewell, Brooks and Roby.  We shared with their educational legislative aides how important full funding of the ESSA law was at the suggested levels that were passed in the bipartisan bill.  We discussed the importance of Title I funding and the need for professional development for teachers,  especially in those areas where it is not funded by school districts. I was very proud of all the members of our delegation for their passionate advocacy for music education in Alabama.  Following Hill Day activities, members attended informational sessions concerning ways to enhance the experience for our membership.

2018 Conference Preview

Much of our meeting in June was spent discussing our move to Birmingham for our annual Professional Development Conference January 18-20, 2018.  The new venue will enhance the experience for all at the conference.  We will all have a learning curve as we navigate the new venue.  The board will do everything we can to make this transition as smooth as possible. We will announce most of our clinics and performing groups in the next Ala Breve.  However, we do want to give you a preview by mentioning two of our performing groups.  We have invited the Alabama Symphony Orchestra to perform an exciting program on Thursday evening of the conference .  We are thrilled to feature Voctave  as they perform during Friday’s general session.  This Orlando based vocal group has become hugely popular and has multiple YouTube videos with views in the millions.  For more information, visit You won’t want to miss this!

You can make the difference!

As we start this year, many of us will welcome new colleagues to our state and meet first year teachers.  Please take the time to invite them to participate in your division area and become members of AMEA.  You may remember being a music department of one person, and how much it meant when an experienced teacher reached out to help or guide. Be the mentor that you needed as a first-year teacher.

If you have ideas for our organization, please get involved.  Find a way to give back to a career that gives so much.

Have a great year!

Susan L. Smith