From the President

AMEA: Congratulations, Alabama!

Congratulations, Alabama!

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill.

As I reflect on this past year with the decisions that were made by our music educators and leaders, I think of these words from Winston Churchill. Educators all across the state worked incredibly hard to continue enriching their students with the best quality music education possible.

Over the course of this year, I have witnessed educators share creative ideas and solve complex problems to a level I couldn’t have imaged two years ago. Congratulations on a job well done. Now that we are crossing this year’s finish line, I hope you take pride in knowing you had the courage to complete the journey.

I am so proud of our division leaders that had the fortitude to make the hard -decisions necessary for you and your students. Although their burden was great, they found a way to provide our students and educators with virtual Professional Development, Music Performance Assessments, Solo & Ensembles, in-person Honor Bands/Choirs and All-States Festivals in a safe environment.

I know of no other state in the country that has done so much towards providing so many opportunities for our students and educators than we have in Alabama. We can all take pride in knowing we worked together, never gave up and didn’t settle by taking the easy path.

Each year during the summer, a staff of AMEA leaders travel to Washington, D.C. to advocate for music education in what is known as “Hill Day” meetings. Last year’s events were cancelled and this year NAfME decided to organize virtual meetings during the month of March. I designated Dr. Rob Lyda as our State’s Captain to coordinate these meetings and I’m happy to report they were a great success.

During these “Hill Day” meetings, we were able to meet with the staff of Senators Tommy Tuberville and Richard Shelby along with Representatives Jerry Carl, Barry Moore, Mike Rogers, and Gary Palmer. We shared details of the issues music educators had to overcome this past year along with making suggestions towards our funding needs. Our main objective was to establish a relationship with these offices for their support. I would like to thank Dr. Lyda for his leadership and well organized meetings that led us to what I feel was a mission accomplished.

Soon after our meetings, the office of Rep. Rogers contacted NAfME in an effort to discover further information concerning social and emotional learning as well as the funding of music education. This response was recognized by NAfME as a great success

As this year comes to a close, we should celebrate our successes and learn from our struggles. Now is the time to look towards the future and begin the process of rebuilding with a new sense of appreciation and drive.

You can start now by planning your professional development for next year. During the All-State Band Festival this past April, I had the opportunity to attend my first in-person clinic in over a year! This experience left me with a renewed sense of appreciation for professional development.

The AMEA Leadership and staff are looking forward to organizing our next in-person Professional Development Conference in January of 2022. We plan to implement new ideas discovered over the past year into our next conference and make it the best experience possible.

I hope your year finished stronger than it st-arted and you finally have an opportunity to rest and recharge. I am looking forward to next year for what I anticipate will be the most fulfilling year of our careers. I can not wait to see you all again soon.

David Raney

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